Cowboy Caviar Recipe


Cowboy Caviar, also known as Texas Caviar, is a vibrant and hearty salad perfect for any occasion. This delightful dish combines a variety of fresh vegetables, beans, and a tangy dressing to create a healthy and delicious side or main dish. Cowboy Caviar is not only easy to prepare but also packed with nutrients, making it a popular choice for potlucks, picnics, and family gatherings.

Overview of the Recipe:

Cowboy Caviar is a colorful and crunchy salad featuring black beans, sweetcorn, bell peppers, red onion, tomatoes, avocado, and fresh coriander. The dressing, made from olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a blend of spices, brings all the flavors together. This dish can be enjoyed as a dip with tortilla chips, a side salad, or even a topping for grilled meats or fish.

History and Origin:

Cowboy Caviar was created by Helen Corbitt, a renowned chef and cookbook author, in the 1940s. Corbitt originally served this dish on New Year’s Eve at a country club in Houston, Texas. Since then, it has become a beloved dish in Southern cuisine, known for its simplicity, versatility, and bold flavors. The name “Cowboy Caviar” reflects its Western roots and hearty ingredients, making it a staple at Texan gatherings.


  • 1 can (425g) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (425g) sweetcorn, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar as an alternative)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar


  1. Prepare the Vegetables and Beans:
    • In a large bowl, combine the rinsed and drained black beans, drained sweetcorn, diced red bell pepper, diced green bell pepper, finely chopped red onion, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, and chopped fresh coriander.
  2. Make the Dressing:
    • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar), salt, black pepper, garlic powder, ground cumin, and sugar until well combined.
  3. Combine the Salad and Dressing:
    • Pour the dressing over the bean and vegetable mixture. Toss gently to ensure all ingredients are well coated with the dressing.
  4. Refrigerate:
    • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld and develop.
  5. Serve:
    • Serve the Cowboy Caviar chilled. It can be enjoyed on its own, as a dip with tortilla chips, or as a topping for grilled meats or fish.


This recipe yields approximately 8 servings, with each serving containing around 150 kcal. Cowboy Caviar is a versatile dish that can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or main course, depending on the occasion.

Pairing and Serving Suggestions:

  • As a Dip: Serve Cowboy Caviar with tortilla chips for a delicious and healthy appetizer.
  • As a Salad: Enjoy it as a side salad with grilled chicken, beef, or fish for a balanced meal.
  • As a Topping: Use Cowboy Caviar as a topping for tacos, burritos, or nachos to add a fresh and flavorful twist.
  • With Grains: Pair it with quinoa or brown rice for a wholesome and filling meal.

Variations of the Recipe:

  • Spicy Cowboy Caviar: Add diced jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce for an extra kick.
  • Fruity Twist: Include diced mango or pineapple for a sweet and tangy flavor.
  • Protein Boost: Add cooked and diced chicken ham or turkey bacon for added protein.
  • Different Beans: Substitute black beans with pinto beans or kidney beans for variety.

Health Benefits:

Cowboy Caviar is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients. Here are some health benefits:

  • High in Fiber: Black beans and sweetcorn are rich in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Rich in Antioxidants: Bell peppers, tomatoes, and avocado provide a good amount of antioxidants, which help protect the body from free radical damage.
  • Healthy Fats: Avocado and olive oil are sources of healthy monounsaturated fats that support heart health.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: This dish is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium and folate, essential for overall health.


  • To keep the avocado from browning, add it just before serving.
  • Cowboy Caviar can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator, allowing the flavors to meld even more.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding more salt, pepper, or spices as desired.


Q: Can I make Cowboy Caviar ahead of time? A: Yes, Cowboy Caviar can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The flavors will meld together, making it even more delicious.

Q: How long does Cowboy Caviar last in the refrigerator? A: Cowboy Caviar can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, for the best flavor and texture, it is recommended to consume it within 1-2 days.

Q: Can I freeze Cowboy Caviar? A: Freezing is not recommended as the texture of the fresh vegetables and avocado will be compromised.

Q: What can I substitute for red wine vinegar? A: You can use apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar as a substitute for red wine vinegar.

Q: Is Cowboy Caviar suitable for vegetarians and vegans? A: Yes, Cowboy Caviar is both vegetarian and vegan, making it a great option for those following plant-based diets.


Cowboy Caviar is a flavorful, nutritious, and versatile dish that is sure to be a hit at any gathering. With its vibrant colors and refreshing taste, it is not only visually appealing but also packed with health benefits. Whether served as a dip, salad, or topping, Cowboy Caviar is an easy-to-make dish that will delight your taste buds and leave you feeling satisfied. Enjoy this delicious salad at your next potluck, picnic, or family dinner and savor the blend of fresh ingredients and zesty dressing.

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