Cowboy Caviar Recipe


Cowboy Caviar, also known as Texas Caviar, is a vibrant and nutritious salad that’s perfect for any occasion. Made with black beans, sweetcorn, fresh vegetables, and a zesty dressing, this dish is a great appetizer, side dish, or even a healthy snack. Cowboy Caviar is easy to prepare and offers a delightful combination of textures and flavors that everyone will love.

Overview of the Recipe:

Cowboy Caviar combines black beans, sweetcorn, bell peppers, red onion, tomatoes, avocado, and fresh coriander, all tossed in a tangy dressing made from olive oil, red wine vinegar, and spices. This colorful salad is perfect for parties, picnics, or as a healthy addition to any meal. It’s a versatile and crowd-pleasing dish that can be served with tortilla chips, over grilled meats, or as a topping for tacos and burritos.

History and Origin:

Cowboy Caviar was created by Helen Corbitt, a famous American chef, in the 1940s while she was working at a country club in Texas. Originally intended as a simple and healthy appetizer, it quickly became popular for its fresh and bold flavors. Over the years, Cowboy Caviar has become a beloved dish, especially in the Southern United States, known for its versatility and ease of preparation.


  • 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
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar


  1. Combine Ingredients:
    • In a large bowl, add the black beans, sweetcorn, diced red bell pepper, diced green bell pepper, finely chopped red onion, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, and chopped fresh coriander. Mix gently to combine all the ingredients.
  2. Prepare the Dressing:
    • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, ground cumin, and sugar until well combined and emulsified.
  3. Dress the Salad:
    • Pour the prepared dressing over the bean and vegetable mixture. Toss gently to coat all the ingredients evenly with the dressing.
  4. Chill and Serve:
    • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together.
    • Serve chilled as a salad, dip, or side dish.


Serve Cowboy Caviar chilled, accompanied by tortilla chips for dipping. It can also be served as a topping for tacos, burritos, or grilled meats. This colorful and flavorful salad is perfect for gatherings, potlucks, or as a refreshing side dish to any meal.

Pairing and Serving Suggestions:

  • Side Dishes: Serve alongside grilled chicken, steak, or fish for a complete meal.
  • Beverages: Pair with refreshing drinks like iced tea, lemonade, or sparkling water with lime.
  • Toppings: Enhance the dish with a sprinkle of crumbled feta or cotija cheese, or add a squeeze of fresh lime juice for extra zest.

Variations of the Recipe:

  • Spicy Cowboy Caviar: Add finely chopped jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce to the dressing for a spicy kick.
  • Fruit Twist: Include diced mango or pineapple for a sweet and tangy variation.
  • Legume Mix: Substitute or add other beans such as kidney beans or chickpeas for additional texture and flavor.
  • Vegan Version: The recipe is naturally vegan, but ensure all dressings and add-ons like cheese are plant-based if adhering to a strict vegan diet.

Health Benefits:

Cowboy Caviar is packed with nutrients, providing a good source of plant-based protein and fiber from the black beans. The variety of vegetables adds essential vitamins and minerals, while the olive oil in the dressing offers healthy fats. This dish is not only delicious but also a nutritious option for any meal.


  • For best results, use ripe but firm avocados to avoid them becoming mushy in the salad.
  • Cowboy Caviar can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. However, if making ahead, consider adding the avocado just before serving to maintain its texture and color.
  • This dish can be easily doubled to serve a larger crowd.


  1. Can I use frozen corn instead of canned? Yes, you can use frozen corn. Thaw and drain it well before adding it to the salad.
  2. How long does Cowboy Caviar last in the refrigerator? It can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The flavors may continue to meld, enhancing the taste over time.
  3. Can I use a different type of vinegar? Red wine vinegar provides a nice tang, but you can substitute it with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar if preferred.
  4. Is it possible to make Cowboy Caviar without oil? Yes, you can reduce or omit the olive oil if you prefer a lower-fat version. The dressing will be less rich but still flavorful due to the spices and vinegar.


Cowboy Caviar is a delightful and versatile dish that combines fresh vegetables, beans, and a zesty dressing. Its vibrant colors and bold flavors make it a standout addition to any meal, whether served as a salad, dip, or side dish. Easy to prepare and packed with nutrients, Cowboy Caviar is sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection. Enjoy this refreshing and healthy dish, and feel free to customize it with your favorite ingredients and variations.

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