Guess what? We’ve managed to wrangle up a lighter version of the Texan barbecue side dish superstar – cowboy caviar! We played the healthy card by trimming down the oil, but fear not, we’re not skimping on any of the flavor. It’s a round-up of taste that won’t weigh you down.

large white bowl with serving spoons, cowboy caviar and garnish with limes

What is cowboy caviar?

When you think of caviar, your brain probably takes you right to seafood. But cowboy caviar is actually vegetarian, and contains no fish eggs at all. It typically contains a mix of corn, bell peppers, beans and a delicious vinaigrette dressing to tie it all together.

If you’re a fan of sarcastic humor then you are going to love how cowboy caviar got its name. The first recipe for cowboy caviar popped up in the 1940s in Texas and was served as a dip. The name was derived as a joke since this was considered a poor man’s version of the expensive delicacy. Thus the name “cowboy caviar.”

closeup of green peppers, jalapeños, black beans, cannelloni beans, corn and herbs

How to make cowboy caviar

Prepare all of your ingredients:

  1. Rinse your beans if you are using canned beans, otherwise rehydrate them.
  2. Chop up the cucumber, green bell peppers, red bell peppers and jalapeño peppers.
  3. Roast the corn and remove the cooked kernels from the cob (or you can take a short cut and grab frozen roasted corn from the grocery store).
  4. Roughly mince the parsley and cilantro

Mix the dressing:

  1. Add the olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to a dressing jar or bowl.
  2. Shake the jar or whisk the liquid in a bowl.

Assemble your cowboy caviar:

  1. Get a large bowl.
  2. Add the black beans, cannelloni beans, corn, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, and herbs to the bowl.
  3. Pour the dressing over the top of the caviar ingredients.
  4. Mix everything together thoroughly, and serve!

large white bowl with cowboy caviar, limes, and gold spring spoons

How to store cowboy caviar

The beauty behind this recipe is that it keeps so well. We absolutely love to make this delicious side dish in advance. You don’t lose out on any of the texture by mixing it in advance, although it is the best if you wait to mix the dressing in right before serving.

Once you’ve made it, this cowboy caviar is just as easy to store. We scoop it into an airtight container. It will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3-5 days. We don’t recommend freezing cowboy caviar because the beans and cucumbers don’t freeze too well.

closeup scoop of cowboy caviar with tortilla scoops

Other dips you’re going to love

Hold onto your hat because we’re about to unveil the VIPs of our dip repertoire – the go-to, tried-and-true recipes that never miss a party or potluck! If you’ve already fallen head over heels for cowboy caviar, then consider making these dips your new partners in flavor crime, too:

  • Keeping in line with a healthy dip, our White Bean Dip with Roasted Tomatoes is protein packed and scrumptious. This white bean dip comes together in a food processor, and is super easy to make.
  • Our Pizza Dip with Cheese Crostini is an oldie but goodie. One of our OG recipes here at Food Dolls, and it is just so indulgent. This is not for the faint of heart – it is cheesy and rich, and the crostini are the perfect vessel for dipping.
  • Ok so we love cheese. And our Baked Queso Dip is just to die for. We cook everything together in one baking dish, so all the flavors infuse really well.
  • Last but not least is our Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes with Yogurt Dip. It is a healthy, crowd-pleasing dish!

large white bowl with cowboy caviar, limes, and gold spring spoons

Cowboy Caviar

4 from 4 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
This cowboy caviar is the perfect summer dip! It's easy, dairy free, and completely plant based!

Ingredients  

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
  • 15 ounces cans cannellini beans
  • 1 medium English cucumber
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 medium jalapeño
  • 1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups fire roasted corn frozen and thawed

Cowboy Caviar Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 medium lime juiced

Instructions 

  • Rinse the beans.
    2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, 15 ounces cans cannellini beans
  • Chop up the cucumber, green bell peppers, red bell peppers and jalapeño peppers.
    1 medium English cucumber, 1 medium green bell pepper, 1 medium red bell pepper, 1 medium jalapeño
  • Roughly mince the parsley and cilantro.
    1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, 1/2 cup cilantro

Dressing

  •  Add the olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, and lime juice to a dressing bottle or mason jar. Shake the jar or whisk the liquid in a bowl.
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 medium lime

Assemble

  • Get a large bowl. Add the black beans, cannelloni beans, corn, cucumber, peppers, and herbs to the bowl.
    1 1/2 cups fire roasted corn
  • Pour the dressing over the top of the caviar ingredients.
  • Mix everything together thoroughly, and serve!

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Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Sodium: 302mg | Potassium: 467mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1016IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this recipe?Please leave a comment!

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

4 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is the new most requested recipe for our bbq’s and get togethers. I doubled the dressing recipe and took away one can of the black beans and the jalapeno, we’re kinda wimpy when it comes to spicy dishes. Thanks so much, it gets 5 stars from me!

    1. Thank you for the feedback, Rachel! We’re so glad you enjoy it and are able to customize it to suit your needs!

      Xo,
      Alia & Radwa

  2. 1 star
    Sorry this recipe is wrong and wasted my time. Cucumbers isn’t a usual ingredient. Missing onion, garlic, and a Italian style dressing. This version is lacking in flavor due to these factors.

    1. We’re sorry you didn’t enjoy it! You can, of course, always customize to suit your preferences. 😊

      Xo,
      Alia & Radwa

  3. 5 stars
    To all you single guys out there… this is the bomb recipe to be a hit when you walk into the office or friends’ barbecue! Easiest recipe to make, marinate and serve… your host(s) will love you for bringing this dish!