cowboy caviar on a plate with nachos
Cowboy Caviar, trendy on TikTok

What Is Cowboy Caviar?

3 minutes

An appetizer packed with healthy ingredients like black-eyed peas and peppers, cowboy caviar has become an Internet hit. First created by Helen Corbitt when she was head chef at Neiman Marcus in 1940, it recently went viral when food and lifestyle creator Bria Lemirande posted a TikTok showing how to make it.

What Is Cowboy Caviar Made Of?

Cowboy caviar is full of healthy, nutritious ingredients. It’s made with beans or black-eyed peas, bell pepper, jalapeño peppers, sweetcorn, and tomatoes, and it’s topped with vinaigrette or Italian dressing. There’s some controversy over whether it traditionally includes avocado, but that would certainly be a great complement and add a creamy texture. Cowboy caviar is served cold as an appetizer or chip dip, with a vinaigrette dressing.

Because it’s so quick and easy to put together and you can make it beforehand,
it’s great for parties, barbecues, or family get-togethers. 

Cowboy caviar on a plate with nachos
Cowboy Caviar, full of colours and easy to prepare

Why Do They Call It Cowboy Caviar?

Popular across the American Southwest, cowboy caviar is also known as cowboy salsa or Texas caviar. It’s not clear why it got the name cowboy caviar; however, the dish’s origins in Texas, with its cowboy culture and tradition, are perhaps a clue. Whatever the reason, the name has stuck!

How Healthy Is Cowboy Caviar?

Made with pulses and vegetables, cowboy caviar is high in fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals*. It’s also low-fat, gluten-free, and vegan. The black-eyed peas are a healthy non-meat protein source. If your Texas caviar includes avocado–some versions don’t—you also get the benefits of the fruit’s monounsaturated fats and potassium. Health guidelines recommend eating at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day, and a serving of cowboy caviar more than covers that.

Cutting tomatoes to prepare a cowboy caviar recipe
Cowboy caviar contains black-eyed peas, tomatoes, sweetcorn…a full veggie pack

Is Cowboy Caviar the Same as Pico De Gallo?

Pico de gallo is a type of salsa, or dip, that’s typical of Mexican cuisine. It’s often eaten with tacos, nachos, or quesadillas and is made from chopped tomatoes, onion, serrano peppers, salt, lime juice, and fresh coriander.

So, although the two dips have ingredients in common, they’re not the same. Cowboy caviar is made with black-eyed peas instead of the tomatoes used in pico de gallo. What’s more, cowboy caviar has a creamier texture and is sweeter because of the sweetcorn.

A Simple Cowboy Caviar Recipe

20 minutes

1. Ingredients:

Tomatoes and garlic on a white layer
  • 80 ml lime juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 clove of garlic (grated)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 400 g black-eyed peas
  • 3 plum tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 spring onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 yellow pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (finely chopped)
  • 200 g sweetcorn
  • 1 avocado (diced)
  • 100 g fresh coriander (chopped)
Tomatoes and garlic on a white layer

2. Preparation: Mix together...

Preparation including lemon, sweetcorn and coriander

.... the lime juice, oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. Add the black-eyed peas, tomatoes, spring onions, pepper, jalapeño, and corn and combine together. Cover and chill for between 30 minutes and two hours.

Preparation including lemon, sweetcorn and coriander

3. Just before serving…

Avocado mashed in a bowl, with tomato and onion

…. mix in the avocado and garnish with coriander.

Avocado mashed in a bowl, with tomato and onion

 Are you ready to jump on this latest TikTok trend? Have fun making your own cowboy caviar at home or incorporate it as part of a healthier diet. Cowboy caviar is vegetarian and vegan, why not try some of these vegan and vegetarian restaurants and see if they have it on the menu?

Discover vegan and vegetarian restaurants!


Salad making video to post on TikTok and make it viral: the case of cowboy caviar
Cowboy caviar has become a trendy recipe on TikTok
Cowboy Caviar in a Nutshell

Trader Joe sells its own cowboy caviar. The ingredients are black beans, corn, red pepper, onions, jalapeños, lime juice, sugar and spices, and chipotles in adobo, and chipotle pepper.

Ready-made cowboy caviar is available at Costco so you can enjoy this delicious cowboy salad straight from the jar.

The ingredients of cowboy caviar are vegetables and pulses, meaning it’s low-fat and full of vitamins and minerals. It’s a super easy way to get your five-a-day servings!

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