‘Cowboy Caviar’ Is the Anti-Inflammatory, Gut-Healthy Snack You’ll Be Eating All Summer

Photo: Getty Images/Rus32
Do you ever spend countless hours staring blankly into your fully-stocked fridge, thinking to yourself, there’s just nothing in here to eat? Be honest: We’re all likely guilty as charged on occasion. Before you grab your phone to place an order for delivery, we have the most delicious solution. Not to mention, this dish is made with a handful of good-for-you ingredients you likely already have in your pantry or fridge (because food waste doesn’t stand a chance around here).

So, what’s on the menu, you may ask? Well, we think it’s time we jump on the cowboy caviar bandwagon to celebrate the summer season with a refreshing, gut-healthy snack that’ll make you want to say yee-haw. Of course, we couldn’t resist this delicious recipe—made with simple and healthy RD-approved ingredients—that’s taking social media by storm. It’s the ideal salsa-like snack that takes seconds to whip together, stores well for several days for snacking, and is filled with tons of protein to fuel your day. I’d say the internet got this one right.

So, what exactly is cowboy caviar, and is it worth the hype?

First of all, don't be confused by the usage of the word "caviar": This recipe is fully vegetarian (or vegan) and costs no more than a few bucks to make. Not to mention the fact that it pairs perfectly with a heaping pile of tortilla chips.

Although it seems like cowboy caviar just gained its place in the spotlight, the truth is that it’s actually been around for ages. According to My San Antonio, this delicious snack was first created by Helen Corbitt, a New York dietitian, cookbook author, and director for the Neiman Marcus tearoom in Dallas. During the 1930s, Corbitt made her way to Texas where she discovered black-eyed peas and, at some point during her 40-year career, concocted the one and only cowboy caviar.

How do you make cowboy caviar?

Although cowboy caviar can be adapted in so many ways, its foundation includes ingredients like longevity-boosting beans, plus tons of anti-inflammatory veggies, herbs, and spices like cilantro, peppers, onion, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. It's reminiscent of a pico de gallo in terms of how it’s prepped (aka every ingredient is diced into small bite-sized pieces making it perfect for scooping up with crunchy tortilla chips). A simple vinaigrette made from the oil, vinegar, and spices also contributes to the delicious flavor profile of the dip.

In a recent TikTok video by @snackqween, Jen Curley creates her own interpretation of cowboy caviar, using beans, corn, peaches, jalapeño pepper, bell pepper, red onion, lemon, lime, cumin, onion powder, chili powder, honey, avocado oil, red wine vinegar, avocado, cilantro, green onions, and feta. Although this may sound like a ton of ingredients (you’re not wrong), you likely have most of them in your pantry or fridge already, and swapping out items is totally a-okay when it comes to making this easy dish.

@snackqween Replying to @jaybirdhere og inspo @bria lemirande ♬ original sound - Jen Curley

No matter the combination you choose, making cowboy caviar is pretty much a guaranteed win like this recipe by Love and Lemons that’s loaded with a boatload of vitamins, minerals, and gut-healthy protein from black beans, black-eyed peas, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and olive oil.

Cowboy caviar recipe

what is cowboy caviar
Photo: Love and Lemons


Yields 8 servings


For the cowboy caviar:
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 medium jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 large avocados, pitted and diced
1/4 cup cilantro
Tortilla chips for serving

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp honey
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. In a large bowl, stir together the black beans, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, onion, jalapeño, and lime juice.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, cumin, cayenne, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture. Fold in the avocado and cilantro, and season to taste.

3. If time allows, refrigerate for one hour to allow the flavors to marry. Serve with tortilla chips.

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