Cowboy Caviar Salad

Cowboy caviar salad–a mix of beans, scallions, onion, bell peppers, jalapeños, corn, tomato, and avocado tossed in a lime-honey dressing. This recipe from our favorite cowgirl, Dorie Greenspan, is a winner.

A yellow bowl of cowboy caviar--black-eyed peas, corn, red onion, tomato, red and yellow pepper by Dorie Greenspan

Eating healthy was never so easy—or mingled so nicely with tortilla chips and beer. This party-perfect salad comes together in minutes, can easily be made ahead of time, can be doubled or tripled, and tastes delicious despite being quite healthy. Scoop it up with tortillas chips or serve it alongside whatever’s on your grill. Then the next day, toss the leftover chicken, steak, or shrimp and call it lunch.–Angie Zoobkoff

Cowboy Caviar Salad

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
Print RecipeBuy the Everyday Dorie cookbook

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  • For the vinaigrette
  • For the salad


Make the vinaigrette

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the oil, lime zest and juice, cumin, salt, paprika, and honey and shake to blend. Set the vinaigrette aside until needed. (You can refrigerate the vi.)

Make the salad

In a large bowl, toss in the beans, scallions, garlic, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and corn, if using, and stir thoroughly to combine. If you’re going to serve the salad now, add the tomatoes and cilantro and avocado; if you’re going to refrigerate the salad—a good move—hold off and add them just before serving.

Toss the salad with about 3/4 of the vinaigrette. Add hot sauce, if you’d like, and, if you’ve got time, cover and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours and up to overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, add the tomatoes and cilantro and avocado, if using, if you haven’t already, and give it a taste. If desired, adjust the amount of salt, spices, and you could even add some hot sauce if you’d like. If the salad has sopped up the vinaigrette, toss it with a little more. Taste and, if desired, add more salt. Serve chilled or at room temperature, with or without chips.

Print RecipeBuy the Everyday Dorie cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This cowboy caviar salad makes a perfect side dish and would be great for potlucks. I was surprised at how well the beans worked in the salad. I ended up soaking and cooking my own beans because I had them on hand; I think the homemade ones may have soaked up more of the vinaigrette than canned ones would so I did have to add more vinaigrette at the end.

My daughter tasted it before I added the tomatoes and cilantro, and she liked it even better that way, although I preferred it as written. As the recipe writer suggests, it should be endlessly adaptable.

We served it alongside the salmon and mango salsa and it was a delicious Summer dinner. I didn't serve it with tortilla chips. If I were to serve it as a “salsa” with chips, I think I would up the seasoning a bit more and perhaps use a more heavily spiced vinaigrette.

When I make this next, and I am planning to, I will add some more cumin, coriander, perhaps some Mexican oregano, and some chili powder to the vinaigrette. In fact, something like Tajin seasoning might be just the right thing to add.

This cowboy caviar salad is a really lovely dish and one of those cases of the whole being greater (and tastier!) than the sum of its parts.

A key thing here is everything being chopped to a fine dice, which means each spoonful delivers lots of flavor and appealing texture. The dressing is zingy with fresh lime and nicely spiced.

I used a 50/50 combo of black-eyed peas and black beans. I didn't add the hot sauce so my cowboy caviar was fresh and zesty but with no extra heat beyond the small amount of chopped jalapeno in the recipe. We served it with rib eye steaks and a lettuce salad. it comes highly recommended from here!

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