California Cowboy Caviar! Creamy avocado finishes a no-stove dish that can be an entree, a side, a topping, or snack. Great for potlucks! | vegan recipes | healthy recipes |

The first time I was offered some, I thought cowboy caviar would be some kind of super weird seafood. Turns out it’s really more like bean salad and salsa had a baby. In the Midwest, it’s apparently eaten sweet; one shortcut involves bottled Italian dressing.

While there is nothing wrong with those versions, I tweaked this until it became more like salsa and then appropriated a bit of Cali by adding avocados for an extra hit of creaminess. It does so many things!

  • Because it’s got veggies, protein, and good fats all in one bowl, it makes a fabulous no-stove, one-bowl dinner
  • It keeps in the fridge for about a week, so it can be made ahead
  • It also travels well, so it’s great for picnics and potlucks
  • You could use it as a salsa and serve over blackened chicken or nachos (we did both this week)
  • Or you can just eat it as a snack. This dish does EVERYTHING!

California Cowboy Caviar

Like all salsas, it’s best if it can sit for a few minutes. I like an hour minimum, but it can really be eaten at any time. I also recommend throwing the avocados in at the last second to avoid them mushing and turning brown; but if you aren’t worried about that, they can go whenever. You could also squeeze a little extra lime on your avocado dice to help them stay green.

Robby Recommends

The watermelon margaritas we made a few weeks ago! Can you imagine sitting on a porch in late afternoon sun, easy dinner in your bowl, an ice-cold margarita in your hand? Better yet, don’t imagine it, do it!

Do be aware that the margaritas (like all good ones) are pretty strong. Don’t have more than one if you need to be up early the next day 🙂 For something less alcoholic, you could drink kolsch (a German beer sort of like a lighter pilsner).

Adapted from Culinary Hill.


California Cowboy Caviar

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 entree servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer, Entree, Side
  • Cuisine: TexMex


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (about 1 bunch)
  • 2 avocados


  1. Combine all ingredients except avocado and mix well. Chill at least 1 hour.
  2. Just before serving, dice avocados and add to bowl. Toss well and serve with tortilla chips.

The Burroughs

Katie and Robby Burroughs, writers, photographers, and curators of Bear and Bug Eats.

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.