Cowboy Caviar – A No-Cook Bean Salad with a Southwest Kick for Your Next Outdoor Meal

Square Cowboy Caviar

Cool Cowboy Caviar with a southwest kick

Need a quick, easy, no-cook salad that is a little more exotic than throwing a bagged salad in a bowl and tossing with dressing?

There is a combo of pantry foods often called “Cowboy Caviar” that is surprizingly yummy. And perfect for your next summer time picnic. Most recipes call for corn and black eyed peas, but the other ingredients vary widely. I love this dish – because it is so inexpensive but mostly because it is the kind of thing that you can throw together at the very last minute with whatever beans and corn you have on hand in your pantry. Everybody keeps some beans, corn and vinaigrette around, right?

There are lots of versions of this sassy bean salad out there. As proof that this is a legit side dish, I cite Saveur magazine, who did a repost of the version posted on What’s Gabby Cooking?

Traditionally black-eyed peas are a southern ingredient considered to be essential on New Year’s Day for good luck for the coming year.

The original Cowboy Caviar dish was created by a Texas chef, who hated black-eyed peas but had to put them on her menu. Check out the back story at One Perfect Bite.

I like to give this dish southwest twist, so here’s what I recommend: corn (or hominy); black-eyed peas; black beans; tomatoes, cilantro and a little diced avocado. Also, you favorite chile pepper minced very small – I used a serrano in mine. Then, just toss with a little purchased or homemade vinaigrette, or – better yet! – try our cilantro lime vinaigrette below, and you’re finished! Serve with chips for scooping, or -what the heck – with a spoon.

Happy No-Cook Summer Everyone!

Cowboy Caviar - A No-Cook Bean Salad with a Southwest Kick for Your Next Outdoor Meal
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Side Dish or Appetizer
Cuisine: American Southwest
  • Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Caviar Mixture
  • 1 can corn or hominy
  • 1 can black eyed peas
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 1 avocado, small dice
  1. Whisk all ingredients together and let sit for at least 10 minutes for flavors to blend.
  2. Drain the canned ingredients and toss together in a large bowl.
  3. Add the tomato, cilantro and avocado.
  4. Strain the Cilantro Lime Dressing through a fine mesh strainer to remove lime zest.
  5. Add the desired amount of dressing to the caviar mixture and lightly toss.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Serve immediately.



— posted by Donna

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