This Mexican caviar recipe is a vibrant mix of beans, corn, and fresh veggies, all tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. It is a crowd-pleaser and makes the perfect dip or side dish for gatherings, potlucks, and barbecues!
Mexican Caviar, sometimes referred to as cowboy caviar salad or Texas caviar, is a flavorful dish that incorporates a medley of fresh vegetables, black-eyed peas, and black beans, all mixed together and coated with a zesty lime dressing.
Cowboy Caviar is known for being a versatile dish. It can be served with tortilla chips as a dip, eaten as a salad, or used as a topping for grilled meats.
The recipe is super easy to make as you only need to chop the veggies and toss them with the tangy dressing, no cooking involved! Let me show you the ingredients and step-by-step process to make it…
- Corn — use canned, frozen, or fresh corn.
- Beans — I used black-eyed peas and black beans.
- Cherry tomatoes — cut into quarters.
- Avocado — for creaminess.
- Bell peppers — use red and green peppers.
- Onions — I used red onions.
- Chili peppers — fresh green chilies like jalapeño peppers, chopped.
- Cilantro — chopped.
For the dressing: You’ll need olive oil, white or red wine vinegar, lime juice, honey (or sugar), and a few spices like chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt & pepper.
How To Make Mexican Caviar
Start by preparing the vegetables, washing them, and chopping them into small bite sizes.
Add everything to a large mixing bowl along with chopped cilantro, corn, black beans, and black-eyed peas.
TOP TIP: Make sure that canned ingredients like beans and corn are nicely drained before adding them to the mix. Excess liquid can dilute the flavors and make the dish soggy.
Next, make the homemade dressing by combining olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, honey, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin powder, salt, and black pepper in a jar.
Give it a good shake to nicely combine all ingredients together.
Drizzle the zesty dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and then toss them for 1 minute or until everything is nicely coated.
Adjust salt to taste then cover the bowl and chill for 20-30 minutes. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and dig in!
Tips & Notes
- Use tomatoes that are ripe but still firm, so they won’t release too much water and change the salad texture. Regular diced tomatoes are also a good option.
- As the first thing to do, place the canned ingredients to drain the excess liquid while you’re chopping the vegetables so that they won’t add extra moisture to the salad.
- Cowboy caviar is highly customizable, don’t be afraid to customize the recipe to your taste preferences. Adjust the spiciness by adding or reducing jalapeños, and experiment with different beans or herbs.
- Taste the dressing as you mix it, and adjust the lime juice, vinegar, and honey to achieve the desired taste.
- Allow the caviar salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This enhances the flavors and allows the ingredients to meld together.
- Want to make this Mexican caviar for a large crowd and bring it to potlucks or parties? Easy-peasy, just double the ingredients!
What I love most about this easy recipe is that you can have many variations! Here are my favorite twists:
- Tropical: Add some diced mango, kiwi, or fresh pineapple to add a tropical and summery vibe.
- Smoky: Roast the corn and bell peppers on a grill or stovetop for a smoky flavor. Add a pinch of chipotle chili powder or smoked paprika to the dressing for an extra kick.
- Rice & quinoa: Add some cilantro lime rice or cooked quinoa for a nutritious boost.
- Italian: Replace regular vinegar with balsamic vinegar and mix in some sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, and fresh basil leaves for an Italian-inspired version.
- Make it creamy: Replace the simple dressing with cilantro lime sauce for a creamy kick!
- Tex-Mex: Boost the Tex-Mex flavors by adding some Rotel, pickled jalapeños, green onions, and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese.
- Mediterranean: Swap black-eyed peas and black beans with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and kidney beans. Mix in chopped Kalamata olives, cucumbers, and feta cheese. Use a lemon-oregano dressing to tie the flavors together.
Feel free to get creative and mix and match different ingredients to make your own signature Mexican caviar recipe!
What to Serve With Cowboy Caviar
Serve the Cowboy Caviar as an appetizer with tortilla chips for a classic dip experience, or enjoy it as a refreshing side dish with carne asada, grilled chicken, or fish.
How to Store
Cowboy Mexican caviar last for up to 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Place leftovers in an airtight container, preferably a glass container, then store on the middle shelf of your fridge.
Before serving, give it a good mix to redistribute the dressing and flavors. This ensures that all the ingredients are evenly coated and taste fresh.
Note: To prevent avocados from getting brown, add more lime juice to the dressing. Alternatively, add the diced avocados just before serving for the best flavor and texture. This is also something essential to keep in mind if you want to make this recipe ahead of time for your potlucks or picnics.
What does Mexican caviar taste like?
Cowboy Mexican caviar has a refreshing taste from the combination of various fresh vegetables, beans, and tart dressing. It is…
-Tangy & zesty.
-Herbaceous & fresh.
What is cowboy caviar actually called?
Cowboy Caviar is also known by several other names, including Mexican caviar, Texas caviar, and southwestern caviar. These alternative names reflect the regional origins and popularization of the dish in the southern United States.
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Mexican Caviar (cowboy salad)
- 1 large mixing bowl
- knife + chopping board
- 1 ½ cups corn kernels (canned or fresh)
- 1 ½ cups black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 cup black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed)
- 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes (quartered)
- 1 medium ripe avocado (diced)
- 1 cup green bell peppers (diced)
- 1 cup red bell peppers (diced)
- ⅔ cup red onion (diced)
- ¼ cup jalapeño peppers (chopped)
- 1 small bunch cilantro (chopped)
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 lime (juiced, about 2 Tablespoons)
- 1 ½ teaspoons honey (or sugar)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder or hot paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoons garlic powder
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- Place all diced vegetables, beans, and chopped cilantro in a large mixing bowl.
- Add all ingredients for the dressing in a jar and close it with a tight lid.
- Shake the jar until all ingredients are nicely emulsified.
- Pour the dressing into the bowl with vegetables and toss everything until nicely coated.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Chill the salad in the fridge for 20-30 minutes then serve with chips.
- Use tomatoes that are ripe but still firm, so they won’t release too much water and change the salad texture.
- Add the canned ingredients to drain the excess liquid in a strainer so that they won’t add extra moisture to the salad.
- This recipe is highly customizable. Adjust the spiciness by adding or reducing jalapeños, and experiment with different beans or herbs.
- Allow the Mexican caviar salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This enhances the flavors and allows the ingredients to meld together.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.