This vegan cowboy caviar features all of the classic ingredients in a zesty chipotle lime dressing that makes it absolutely addictive!
Also called Texas caviar, cowboy caviar has nothing to do with fish eggs. It's a simple dip that's so fresh and flavorful! In this version, I'm swapping the traditional dressing for a chipotle lime vinaigrette that gives it such an amazing flavor!
Cowboy caviar is a bean salad that's actually vegan as-is, but I know seeing the word "caviar" can raise some eyebrows, so I made sure to specify it in the title, just to be on the safe side.
You can serve this up as a dip with crunchy tortilla chips, and it also works great in wraps or as a salad topping. Or, just eat it with a spoon, because it is just so DELICIOUS!
If you love black eyed peas, also don't miss my super easy vegan black eyed peas and collards with quick balsamic onions!
✓ Ingredients and substitutions
- beans - Cooked black beans and black eyed peas are the traditional cowboy caviar mix. You can use canned or homemade.
- tomato - I've seen Texas caviar recipes using all sorts of different tomatoes, and honestly, as long as it's a good, tasty tomato, you can use any kind you like: Roma, cherry, heirloom, etc. Just go with what looks good at the store!
- corn - Fresh corn is amazing in cowboy caviar, but you can use canned or frozen (thawed), if you prefer. I usually use frozen, just because it's so easy.
- bell pepper - Red and green bell pepper add flavor and crunch. You can really use any color or colors of bell pepper you like. I just like the look of red and green together in the cowboy caviar.
- red onion - Minced red onion gives you that good umami flavor and even more veggie crunch.
- cilantro - You're adding this to the bean mixture and to the dressing. If you don't like cilantro, you can use parsley instead, but your results won't have that classic cowboy caviar flavor.
- olive oil - The base for the chipotle lime dressing.
- jalapeño - If you like a little heat, jalapeño it up! You can remove the seeds for more mild, if you like.
- lime juice and zest - Gives the dressing such an amazing, zesty flavor!
- olive oil - Adds moisture to the dressing and helps it cling to the bean mixture.
- agave nectar - A little sweetness brings out the flavors in the dressing!
- garlic - Fresh garlic makes this dressing taste so amazing!
- cumin and chipotle chili powder - To season the dressing.
🥣 How to make vegan cowboy caviar
In a large bowl, mix all of the cowboy caviar ingredients together.
In a small bowl, whisk together the chipotle lime vinaigrette ingredients.
Pour the dressing into the large bowl of cowboy caviar, and toss well to coat. Taste and season with salt, black pepper, and more lime juice, if needed. Chill until you're ready to serve.
This is great eaten immediately but tastes even better if you can let it chill for 30 minutes to an hour, to give the flavors time to meld. It's even better the next day!
Leftovers will keep for 4 to 5 days in the fridge.
💬 Frequently asked questions
Tortilla chips are great for dipping into Texas caviar! It's also delicious in wraps with some avocado or on top of salads, if you want to make it a meal.
The original name for this dish was Texas caviar, but I've seen it called cowboy caviar and Georgia caviar, too. The name is a joke comparing this humble appetizer to the fancy fish eggs that rich people eat. It was first created by a woman named Helen Corbitt for a New Year's Eve party at a country club in Houston, Texas.
💡 More delicious vegan dips
Vegan Cowboy Caviar
Cowboy caviar ingredients
- 15 ounce can of black beans drained and rinsed
- 15 ounce can of black-eyed peas drained and rinsed
- 2 cups diced tomato Use any kind of tomato you like!
- 1 ½ cups corn kernels canned, fresh, or frozen (thawed)
- 1 bell pepper diced. I like to use half red and half green, but you do whatever looks prettiest to you!
- ½ cup minced red onion
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 jalapeño minced, optional. Remove the seeds for less heat.
Chipotle lime vinaigrette ingredients
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro minced
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- ⅛ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- salt and black pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, mix all of the cowboy caviar ingredients together.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the chipotle lime vinaigrette ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
- Pour the dressing into the large bowl of cowboy caviar, and toss well to coat. Taste and season again with salt, black pepper, and more lime juice, if needed. Chill until you're ready to serve.