There are no fish eggs to be found in this Texas caviar, just plenty of healthy veggies and classic Tex-Mex flavors. I like to call it Texas Caviar Dip and it’s also known as cowboy salad.
If you see the word caviar and feel immediately put off, I don’t blame you. Raw fish eggs have never sounded very tasty to me. I much prefer my Texas cowboy caviar recipe – or Texas Caviar, as some call it. It is packed with the authentic flavors and spices of the South and its Latin American neighbors.
This naturally vegan recipe for cowboy caviar uses plenty of fresh vegetables. Plus, it is perfect for serving with a side of your favorite tortilla chips. And it’s great as an appetizer or as part of a barbecue or potluck.
What Is Texas Caviar
Texas caviar or Texas Cowboy Caviar is a Tex-Mex salad and dip of black-eyed peas pickled in its own dressing. It gets its name from the hotel where the dish was originally served in the 1940s – the Driskill Hotel in Austin.
It was presented as a comedic comparison to the traditional caviar (salt-cured fish roe). The black-eyed peas in the recipe strongly resembled the fish roe. Texas caviar recipes have now become synonymous with southern living, particularly in Texas.
Why Do They Call It Cowboy Caviar
Cowboy caviar dip evolved out of the Texas caviar recipe. It is a down-to-earth, affordable version of a fancy treat. And it’s associated with cowboys due to their simple way of life. Not to mention, the long and storied history of cowboys in Texas – one that’s still celebrated today.
Texas caviar uses ingredients readily available in the region, like avocado, black beans, sweetcorn, and red onion.
Texas Caviar Ingredients
Most Texas caviar recipes use the same basic ingredients:
- Tomatoes: I like to use Roma tomatoes, which have fewer seeds. However, other tomatoes will work too.
- Black beans: You can use beans cooked at home or canned.
- Black-eyed peas: You can use home-cooked or canned.
- Sweet corn: I find canned or frozen corn works best – just remember to defrost first.
- Bell peppers: I love using different colors to add vibrancy to my cowboy salad, but you can use whichever you prefer.
- Red onion: White onions, shallots, or even celery can be used in a pinch.
- Avocado: Go for a slightly firmer avocado so it’s easier to cut.
- Scallions: Alternatively, use spring/green onions in place of scallions.
- Cilantro: Otherwise known as fresh coriander.
- Jalapeño pepper: Serrano peppers are a good alternative if you don’t have jalapeños.
- For the dressing vinaigrette: Olive oil, zesty lime juice, balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar), garlic cloves, sugar (regular or brown will work), salt, and cumin (optional). For a bit of heat, you can add a touch of chili powder.
How to Make Texas Caviar
Texas caviar salsa is easy to make – just chop up all your ingredients and mix. If you’re not using canned beans, that’s all you need to make in advance.
How to Cook Black Eyed Peas in Instant Pot
If you’re not using canned black-eyed peas, place water and black-eyed peas (ratio 3:1) in the Instant Pot. Pressure cook on high for 8-10 minutes. Once done, allow the pressure to release naturally – this will take about 15 minutes. Open carefully and check the black-eyed peas; they should be tender.
Instant Pot Black Beans
Just as with the black-eyed peas, if you are not using canned black beans, you will need to cook them first.
Place the water and black beans (ratio 3:1) in the Instant Pot. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes. Once done, allow the pressure to release naturally – this will take about 15-20 minutes. Then carefully open the pot and check the black beans – they should be cooked and tender.
To Assemble the Texas Caviar
- Prepare the dressing in a small-medium bowl and whisk well. If you need to adjust the taste, add more sugar, lime juice, or salt to your preference.
- If you’re using canned beans, rinse and drain them from the can.
- Finely chop the tomatoes, onion, avocado, red bell pepper, and scallions. Then toss to combine the chopped veggies together with the black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, and dressing in a large bowl.
- I recommend refrigerating for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld (or up to 24 hours). Then server and enjoy.
What to Serve with Texas Caviar
Tortilla chips are the traditional accompaniment to Texas caviar with avocado and black beans. My easy recipe shows you how to make the chips both an air fryer and the oven.
You can also serve this recipe for Texas Caviar with:
- Your favorite chips – whether potato, pita or veggie – or even serve with fresh crackers, as one might traditional caviar. Or enjoy it together with Nacho chips.
- It’s also great as a salad or side dish. Or you can serve it along with veggie sticks.
- Top burgers and sandwiches or add to a tortilla wrap.
- Serve the Texas caviar as a side to grilled protein (meat or fish).
How Long Does Texas Caviar Last in the Fridge
Because of the fresh vegetables in this Texas caviar salad, it doesn’t keep for very long. If you’ve got any leftovers, they’ll keep in the fridge for around 2-3 days. The Italian dressing in the Texas caviar causes the veggies to break down and get soft. So you’ll want to eat sooner rather than later.
Can You Freeze Texas Caviar
For Texas caviar dip with avocado – no. Avocado doesn’t do well in the freezer and is much better kept in the fridge. Omit the avocado and you can freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Once thawed, you can add the avocado before serving.
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If you try this recipe Texas caviar dip (cowboy salad), I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Best Texas Caviar Ever (Cowboy Caviar)
- 10 oz tomatoes 3 medium-sized; best to use Roma tomatoes
- 7 oz black beans 1 cup; canned or cooked at home
- 5.3 oz black-eyed peas 1 cup, canned or cooked at home
- 6 oz sweet corn 1 cup, canned or frozen works best
- 15 oz bell peppers 3 small, same or different colors
- 5.3 oz red onion 1 medium-sized; or white onion, shallots, or even celery
- 7.8 oz avocado 1 medium-sized
- 0.7 oz scallions 3 stalks; or spring onions
- 0.35 oz cilantro
- 1 jalapeño omit if preferred
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoon lime juice 1 lime
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 0.35 oz garlic 2 cloves
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar white or brown
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin optional
- Mince the garlic. Then add all the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk well. If you need to adjust the taste, add more sugar, lime juice, or salt to your preference.
- If you're using canned beans, rinse and drain them from the can. See below for instructions on how to cook the beans at home.
- Finely chop the tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion, avocado, and scallions. Chop the cilantro as well.
- Toss all the ingredients together with the dressing in a large mixing bowl. I recommend refrigerating for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld (or up to 24 hours). Then server and enjoy!
- To store: If you've got any leftovers, they'll keep in the fridge for around 2-3 days. Make sure to store them in an air-tight container. Freezing: You can freeze the Texas caviar if you omit the avocado (it doesn't do well in the freezer). Store in a freezer-safe air-tight container for up to 2 months.
Refreshing with a nice variety of flavors and textures. Used shallots in place of red onions. Only black beans and Serrano Chile on hand. And used cumin in the Dressing. Will definitely make this again. Prep time was way longer than 10 minutes though. Thanks!
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Thank you for your comment, Lydia. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!