Cowboy Caviar ( Texas Caviar )

cowboy caviar or texas caviar

Cowboy Caviar also known as Texas Caviar is made with simple, healthy ingredients similar to Pico de Gallo. This delicious appetizer can be served as a dip with tortilla chips but also as a bean salad or as a colorful side, making it a fantastic dish to bring to a potluck dinner.

My husband and I, along with a group of our friends, decided at the last minute to get together on New Year’s Day for lunch. To make it easy, each of us volunteered to prepare a dish or two for our afternoon meal. A roasted shrimp appetizer would be followed with a honey baked ham and a smoked turkey breast. Sides would include a large layered green salad, orzo salad, and potato salad along with an assortment of breads and rolls. Dessert would be cranberry apple cake and ice cream. A true feast to start the new year but an important, at least to me, dish was missing…black-eyed peas.

The New Year’s Day Buffet Laid Out In Our Friends Beautiful Kitchen

On New Year’s Day, I believe a dish that contains black-eyed peas is a necessity since they’re considered a lucky charm for prosperity in the new year. Remembering how popular Texas Caviar was when I lived in Texas, I decided to bring my own version of this popular dish to our friends home to enjoy with drinks before the meal. All of our friends loved the flavorful appetizer, saying “I could eat this by the spoonful”, and “this would be perfect for an afternoon snack”. During the course of the afternoon, I was asked if the recipe was on my blog. I told my friends that it wasn’t on the blog but explained how I had prepared the appetizer. I decided that this is the perfect time to share the recipe with my friends and readers.

You will find slightly different versions of this recipe all over the internet. You might be wondering what makes mine different, Green Jalapeño Tabasco is my secret ingredient. I like that it is not too hot or too mild yet it’s full of flavor. A few shakes of the jalapeño sauce, along with fresh squeezed lime juice, adds a bright zing to the dish. Seasonings such as cumin, garlic and onion powder also add a nice complexity to the overall taste.

This must try recipe for Cowboy Caviar is made with fresh and canned vegetables and ingredients you may already have in your pantry and spice cabinet. It takes just minutes to prepare, can be made in advance and actually gets better if it rests in the refrigerator a couple of hours for the flavors to meld. Enjoy!

  Cowboy Caviar aka Texas Caviar

  • 1 15 oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 7 oz. can corn, drained ( I used vacuum packed extra sweet niblets, it contains the same amount of corn as a standard can but uses less water )
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small bell pepper ( I used yellow for color ), stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 1/4 c. cilantro, chopped


  • juice of 2 limes, more or less* depending on size and juiciness
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • green tabasco, (60 drops equals a tsp. so plan according to how spicy you like) I used 6 shakes to start and additional just before serving
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, jalapeño and the cilantro. Squeeze lime juice into a small bowl, add the olive oil and several shakes of green tabasco. I used about 6 to start with and added a couple more before serving. Add the cumin, garlic and onion powders, salt and pepper. Whisk, taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix well. If you have time, chill the mixture for a few hours to allow the flavors to marry. Stir and taste again right before serving as the flavors will have mellowed. Add more seasoning, if needed. Serve with tortilla chips if using as a dip.

Texas Caviar or Cowboy Caviar, whichever you prefer calling it, has been a favorite at backyard parties and church potlucks in Texas since the 1940’s.

The classic version of Texas Caviar contains black-eyed peas, tomatoes, bell peppers and onion dressed in a vinaigrette but newer versions sometimes called Cowboy Caviar add other ingredients such as beans, corn and avocado.

The vegetables are diced into bite sized pieces making it easy to scoop with a chip.

You can use any color bell peppers, I personally like the sweeter red, yellow and orange ones.

You can replace the red onion with sliced scallions for a milder flavor

Cilantro adds lots of flavor but can be eliminated or served on the side if one or two guests don’t care for its taste.

I love using Green Jalapeño Tabasco in cooking as it adds a bright zing to food but you can use any green hot sauce made with jalapeños. Start with a couple of shakes then taste until you get the spiciness you like.

When cooking for a group of people, I want whatever I’m making to be flavorful but not bland or too spicy. I tend to go easier on salt, spices and chili peppers than I might for just my husband and I. This is a recipe that is easily adapted to your own tastes..

Cowboy Caviar can be refrigerated for several days but keep in mind that the lime juice will make the fresh ingredients soften a little.



I grew up on a Texas ranch and one of the most popular dishes served at social gatherings and on New Year’s Day for good luck was Texas Caviar. Recently it has been referred to as Cowboy Caviar and recipes can be found all over social media. Loaded with protein, this healthy and extremely versatile recipe is made with simple ingredients and easily adapted to your own tastes. The no cook recipe takes just minutes to prepare and stores well for several days. It is famous as a delicious snack when served with tortilla chips but once you taste it, you will be finding new ways to enjoy it such as a colorful, tasty topping on grilled fish or chicken

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

40 thoughts on “Cowboy Caviar ( Texas Caviar )

  1. I love bean salads and your dressing sounds fabulous! …and there’s no problem finding green tabasco in Europe, a lot of supermarkets sell it.

  2. This looks much like my recipe for the “same” and it’s always a hit! (I add avocado.) I’m going to have to get some of the green tobasco — that sounds terrific! Happy New Year, Karen!

  3. That’s quite a spread for a last minute throw together meal. We usually have our black eyed peas for new year’s but missed them this year. I really like your recipe as it will give us a delicious way to have them. Would have worked well on our recent quesadillas.

  4. I almost made this on New Years, but was missing something…recipe sounds great and the jalapeno tabasco does, too. I did manage to eat some black eyed peas so all is well….

  5. Happy New Year Karen! Black eyed peas take me back to a time when my mom would make a pot of black eyed peas for New Years. I haven’t adopted the tradition but I do think I would enjoy the flavors you’ve added to the cowboy caviar.

  6. That feast looks yummy. Your version of Cowboy Caviar sounds delicious with all the ingredients I like. However, I’ve never tried the green tabasco. Hmm, might be trying that soon.

  7. For a last minute gathering… that’s quite a bit of food. How nice that everyone could bring something.
    We add avocado to our Cowboy Caviar. Along with the black eyed peas you all needed some greens… for cash in the New Year.

  8. Every recipe I made from your blog has been delicious. I have to try this one. Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year.

  9. That looks yummy. On our household we’d have to sautee the onion first, and omit the garlic entirely, but with all those wonderful flavors I don’t think anyone would notice. I can see just us eating the whole thing for dinner! It’s fun to see you in your kitchen.

  10. I know I would love this recipe, Karen. I think I have all the ingredients on hand, so it’s a clear frontrunner. We had our black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Years Day, and we never miss. My grandmother was from the south and she started us off with this tradition. I think she’d approve of this Cowboy or Texas Caviar. I love the addition of the salsa. And your “friends lunch” must have been amazing. Cheers for a strong and healthy year, dear Karen.

  11. Great picture of you! You look great! The first time I had Texas caviar was when I moved to Texas. Problem is, I’m not really fond of black-eyed peas. They’re just a little dry for me. But my luck has been good… I think!

  12. Happy New Year Karen! Love, love Cowboy Caviar. Glad you shared your version with your friends, and introduced them to the delicious combination.

    I am looking forward to following your blog journey this year.


  13. What a lovely dish. The bright colours look like they would pop with flavour in your mouth. We use green Cholula for the same reason you use the green Tabasco, they add a nice zing without setting your mouth on fire!

  14. What a beautiful dish — love the colors. Here’s to lots of prosperity in the new year! 🙂 ~Valentina

  15. Wow!! How did I miss this post? happy new Year and we wish you the very best of healthy and happiness in 2023!
    Btw you look beautiful in the photo!!
    Love this cowboy caviar recipe – it would be perfect to serve for the Super Bowl, don’t you think? Can’t wait to try it!

  16. What a beautiful spread for your guests and you look great! Here in the Midwest it’s all about the pork and sauerkraut for good luck on New Year’s Day. I think both would be perfect 🙂
    Susan a S

  17. Wow Karen, I wish I had friends like yours! Quite a spread!
    Growing up/living in Virginia, I appreciate your need for black eyed peas (for luck). I ate an entire can on New Year’s Day this year, although I passed on preparing collards (for money).
    Thanks for the colorful post! Diane

  18. oh yes i love green tabasco too! such a good flavour. Love your blue top in the photo. the colour suits you well. what a feast you have all prepared!

  19. We made this to take to a party last weekend – and a party in COVID means six people… 😦 Still, we all enjoyed it and there was lots leftover for the three couples to share and take home. Thanks! I have heard of this forever but never made it till now.

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