Cowboy Caviar

This super fresh and vibrant Cowboy Caviar combines two types of beans, colorful summer vegetables, and a sweet and tangy lime dressing for a bold and versatile dish that you’ll find yourself making over and over. From party dip to a salad topper, Cowboy Caviar has become a go-to healthy meal prep item in my kitchen! Read on for more ideas on how to use this amazing salad/salsa!

See this recipe used in my weekly meal prep.

A large bowl of Cowboy Caviar with tortilla chips dipping into the salad.

What is Cowboy Caviar?

Cowboy Caviar, sometimes called Mexican Caviar, is like a cross between a bean salad and a fresh salsa. It combines two types of beans, black beans and black eyed peas, with a colorful medley of fresh vegetables, and a tangy lime-balsamic vinaigrette.

How Long Does it Last?

Well, provided you don’t eat it all in one sitting (it can happen!), Cowboy Caviar holds up extremely well in the refrigerator and will be just as tasty after about 4-5 days in the refrigerator. While the vegetables will let off a little water, most of the ingredients are very sturdy. Just be sure to stir the salad before serving to redistribute the dressing. This salad will probably not freeze well, due to the fresh herbs and vegetables.

How to Eat Cowboy Caviar

Honestly, there are too many ways to eat this salad to list, but let’s give it a try… As a side dish, a chunky dip for chips, as a taco topper, stuffed into a burrito or as part of a “burrito bowl”, sprinkled over a green salad, as a topper to scrambled eggs in the morning, stuffed into a quesadilla with some cheese, and so much more. If you have a favorite way to eat your Cowboy Caviar, feel free to share it with the rest of us in the comments below!

Cowboy Caviar Variations

One of the best things about this bean salad is that it is extremely versatile. You can customize this recipe to give it your own personal touch. Here are a couple substitutions and add-ins that will make it your own:

  • Add avocado for a creamy finish
  • Skip the jalapeño to make it mild, or keep the jalapeño and add a few dashes of hot sauce to make it extra spicy
  • Substitute green onion for the red onion to make the salad more mild
  • Add sweet corn for more color and flavor variation
  • Add ½ tsp smoked paprika to the dressing for a smokier finish

Can you Freeze Cowboy Caviar?

I don’t suggest freezing this dish because it has multiple delicate fresh vegetables that will become limp and soggy upon freezing and reheating. You want those veggies to be fresh, juicy, and crunchy to give the salad its amazing texture! :)

Close up view of a chip full of Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar is like a cross between a bean salad and fresh salsa with its colorful mix of beans, vegetables, and a fresh lime infused dressing.
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4.93 from 40 votes

Cowboy Caviar Recipe

Cowboy Caviar is like a cross between a bean salad and fresh salsa with its colorful mix of beans, vegetables, and a fresh lime infused dressing.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 10 (1/2 cup each)


  • 1 15oz. can black beans ($0.89 )
  • 1 15oz. can black eyed peas ($1.09)
  • 1 bell pepper (any color) ($1.50)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes ($0.86)
  • 1 jalapeño ($0.12)
  • 1/4 red onion ($0.20)
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro ($0.20)


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 fresh lime (2 Tbsp juice) ($0.33)
  • 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder* ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar ($0.02)


  • Rinse and drain both cans of beans in a colander. Let the excess water drain as you prepare the vegetables.
  • Finely dice the bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeño, and red onion. Try to dice the vegetables into pieces that are roughly the same size as the beans. For a less spicy salad, scrape the seeds out of the jalapeño before dicing. Roughly chop the cilantro. Place the drained beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 2 Tbsp of juice from the lime, balsamic vinegar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and sugar. Pour the dressing over the salad, then stir until everything is well coated. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat.


*This chili powder is a mild blend of chiles and other spices.
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Calories: 131.14 kcalCarbohydrates: 19.73 gProtein: 6.57 gFat: 4.53 gSodium: 342.44 mgFiber: 6.33 g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.

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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Front view of a bowl of Cowboy Caviar with tortilla chips.

How to Make Cowboy Caviar – Step by Step Photos

Rinsed Beans

Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of black beans and one 15oz. can of black eyed peas in a colander. Let the rinse water drain away as you prepare the rest of the vegetables.


Gather one bell pepper (any color), two Roma tomatoes, one jalapeño, 1/4 of a red onion and 1/4 bunch cilantro. While any color bell pepper can be used, I like the colorful pop of a yellow or orange bell pepper. I used the leftover red onion and cilantro from my Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils earlier in the week. :)

Chopped Vegetables

Finely dice the bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeño, and red onion. The idea is to get the pieces close in size to the beans so that you have a “caviar” type appearance in the end. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves. Place the drained beans and all the vegetables in a large bowl.

Cowboy Caviar Dressing

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp sugar. Pour the dressing over the salad.

Stirred Cowboy Caviar

Stir the salad until everything is coated in the dressing. Either serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. This is one of those salads that tastes even better after it has time to chill in the fridge, so it’s great to eat over the course of a few days!

Overhead shot of a bowl of Cowboy Caviar with tortilla chips

Cowboy Caviar makes a great snack with tortilla chips, or…

Cowboy Caviar combined with shredded chicken and rice to make a bowl meal

You can use it as part of a meal, like this burrito bowl! I combined my Cowboy Caviar with some leftover rice, leftover rotisserie chicken, and a little taco sauce for an AWESOME burrito bowl. You can also scoop some of the Cowboy Caviar over grilled chicken, or baked fish for a nice pop of flavor. Basically, this stuff ROCKS with everything.