Cowboy Caviar (Greekstyle)
I love a good bean salad or bean dip. Cowboy caviar is not your average black bean salad or black bean dip though and this Greek Style one is a super tasty riff on the original. This easy Cowboy Caviar is a colorful dip made with a mix of black beans, black-eyed peas, fresh veggies, creamy avocado, fresh herbs, feta and a tangy lemony dressing. Eat it with a spoon or scoop it onto a chip for the perfect bite. It makes for a great appetizer or side dish, great for potlucks, parties and BBQ’s. It takes no time to make and is a great way to use up all your extra summer veggies in the garden or crisper.
What is Cowboy Caviar?
Cowboy Caviar, is an iconic Texan dish and that is why it’s often called Texas Caviar - first made in Texas. It’s a cross between a been salad, dip and salsa and most often served with tortilla chips, although it can also be served as a salsa or topping over nachos, tacos and burrito. It is loaded with beans - usually black eyed peas and black beans and lots of chopped up veggies dressed with a tangy dressing. Because of this it’s also loaded with nutrition thanks to the protein and fiber boost from the beans and veggies - an added reason to make and enjoy this quintessential classic potluck dish. The most common riffs to this bean’y Pico de Gallo like dip is a Tex Mex one. You can change this up to make your own unique cowboy caviar recipe by using different beans and other veggies or adding your own favorite ingredients. I decided to do a Greek Riff on this recipe because I thought the flavours would go well Greek Style and I definitely was not wrong.
Cowboy Caviar Recipe Ingredients
To make this cowboy caviar recipe, all you need are the ingredients listed here. Then, when you are ready to begin, scroll down to the recipe card for specific measurements and directions.
- Avocados: Diced.
- Red bell pepper: Finely diced.
- Jalapeño pepper: Optional for a little heat and delicious flavour
- Corn: Fresh sweet corn kernels is the best but frozen and thawed corn will work as well or if you don’t have fresh or frozen, canned will also work
- Red onion: Finely diced. or use shallots or yellow onion or green onions as well or instead of
- Tomatoes: I used Roma tomatoes and chopped them or you can use any variety of tomatoes or even cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes cut in halves or quarters
- Black beans & Black-eyed peas: Drained and rinsed. Feel Free to use other beans like northern beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, and kidney beans. Using canned beans instead of cooking your own dried beans saves you loads of time, and your bean mixture will taste just as good as long as you us a quality brand
- Fresh Herbs: For this greek version I used fresh parsley and fresh mint but traditionally its made with fresh cilantro - feel free to use any fresh herbs and herb combinations that you like: thyme, basil, dill etc
- Garlic: I used powdered garlic for the dressing but feel free to use fresh minced garlic or grated garlic
- Spices: I used oregano in the dressing like you would in a greek salad but traditionally its made with ground cumin and coriander - feel free to use ay herb combination you like and you can even spice it up by adding in some cayenne, smoked paprika or red pepper flakes, or chili powder for more flavour
- Feta Cheese: This Greek version adds cheese to the cowboy caviar and what cheese is more greek than feta - feel free to use as little or as much as you desire - for a more Tex Mex variation swap it out with cotija cheese
- Olives: I had to add some Kalamata olives to this tasty cowboy caviar but feel free to leave out if you prefer or use black olives instead
- Lemon Juice: for this Greek spin we used lemon juice but lime juice is great too
- For the Dressing you will need: Olive Oil, red Wine vinegar (or use other vinegar like white wine, apple cider, or balsamic) honey (or sugar or maple syrup) , garlic powder or minced fresh garlic, oregano and salt and pepper if you are making your own. You can use your own blended dressing if you would like instead or a storebought prepared dressing like Italian Salad dressing, Catalina, and ranch caesar, thousand island, honey mustard sauce, or chipotle dressing or sauce.
- Alternatives: Add other fresh veggies like diced carrots, zucchini, spinach, broccoli, or peas to make this a hearty dip. Add your favorite protein - meat like chicken, pork, beef, turkey, or even grilled fish or grilled shrimp
How To Make Cowboy Caviar Full (instructions in recipe below )
- Make the dressing: First, in a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until thoroughly mixed and set it aside.
- Assemble the cowboy caviar: Next, mix up all the cowboy caviar ingredients except the avocado in a large bowl. Add Avocado and the lemon juice and very gently toss
- Add dressing: Then, pour on the dressing mixture and stir until it is evenly distributed. Adjust seasoning as needed.
- Let it chill: Optional but allows flavours to meld. Cover and chill for 30 min in the refrigerator. This will allow the dressing flavors to soak into the ingredients. But you can serve immediately too. If chilling for longer than 30 minutes do not toss in the avocado until just before serving
- Serve: Serve with extra herbs and sprinkles of feta and enjoy
Storage & Make Ahead
- STORAGE: Refrigerate leftover cowboy caviar in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for up to 3-5 days. The veggies will soften and avocado will likely oxidize and turn brownish though so keep that in mind.
- MAKE AHEAD: If you want to make cowboy caviar ahead I recommend chopping your veggies and storing them undressed in a sealed container in the fridge up to one day in advance. The dressing can be made ahead and stored in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3-5 days ahead. The whole salad can be made a head and stored in the fridge for up to 30 minutes ahead of serving but if you are making it ahead more than 30 minutes do not add the avocados - simply toss them in right before serving.
More Recipes You Will Love:
- 3 Roma tomatoes seeds removed, diced
- 2 ripe avocados diced
- ⅓ cup red onion diced
- 15 oz black beans rinsed and drained
- 15 oz black eyed peas rinsed and drained
- 1½ cups fresh sweet corn
- 1 bell pepper diced (any colour)
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeds removed,
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- ½ cup chopped Kalamata olives
- ⅓ cup fresh herbs (I used a combo of fresh parsley and fresh mint)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the dressing
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar/ honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- pita chips or tortilla chips for serving
- In a large mixing bowl, gently stir to combine the black beans, black eyed peas, tomatoes, peppers, corn, onion, jalapeño, olives, feta, parsley and mint
- Add the avocados and drizzle the lemon juice over them and genet fold then in
- In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients
- Pour dressing over beans and veggies and toss gently to combine
- Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes so the flavors can marinate*
- If you are making the cowboy caviar more than 30 minutes before serving DO NOT add the avocados until you are ready to serve.
- If Using Dried Beans: Take 1 heaping cup of dried black eyed peas or black beans and soak them in plenty of water overnight. Drain them and give them a good rinse. In a medium pot set over medium heat add the beans along with plenty of water and seasoned with salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer, covered until beans are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain them and let them cool completely before adding them to the cowboy caviar.