Cowboy Caviar

Hello, friends! Today I am sharing one of my favorite quick recipes: Cowboy Caviar!

If you haven’t had Cowboy Caviar before, the basic idea is to toss some beans and veggies together with a zesty dressing. It’s kind of somewhere between a salsa and a bean salad. In my college days I LIVED off of this stuff! Over the years I’ve changed up how I’ve made it, so I decided to create a recipe out of my favorite version!

You can get creative with how you eat this, or keep it simple! When I first became obsessed with Cowboy Caviar I would literally toss some in a tupperware in the morning and eat it on it’s own for lunch! But nowadays I like to switch it up. Sometimes I plop some scoops on a bed of greens and eat it like a salad. Sometimes I use it as a dip for my tortilla chips. I’ve also been known to make wraps out of it with some salsa! My absolute favorite way to eat it though is in buddha bowl form (are we even surprised?). Tossing it in a bowl with some brown rice and greens, and then topping it with a little extra lime juice and avocado? SO GOOD.



  • Fire roasted diced tomatoes – okay, you don’t HAVE to get fire roasted tomatoes if you don’t want to – any canned diced tomato, or even fresh diced tomato, will work! But I highly recommend trying the fire roasted version if you can find them. These tend to be slightly sweet but also smoky, and the flavor works really well in this dish!
  • Red onion, corn, bell pepper,  jalapeño, and cilantro – all of our delicious veggies! Using fresh veggies is going to give our Cowboy Caviar lots of fresh nutritious flavor.
  • Black beans and black eyed peas – to bulk up our dish, give it some texture, and pack in some protein! 
  • Italian dressing – this is where the magic happens. The flavor of your Cowboy Caviar will depend largely on your dressing of choice – so be sure to use one that you love! If you want to keep things oil-free, or just like making your own dressing, check out my homemade Oil-Free Zesty Italian Dressing! It’s simple to make and perfect for this dish. 

How to Make Cowboy Caviar

This one is pretty straight forward! (Yay!)

  1. Throw a bunch of veggies and some beans in a bowl
  2. Add the dressing and mix
  3. Add additional garlic salt, if desired
  4. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Tips & Tricks

As always, think of this recipe as a guideline! Here are some ideas of things you can play with to make it your own, if you’d like.

  • If you like things spicy, feel free to add more  jalapeños or other hot peppers! You could also keep the seeds on the  jalapeños instead of removing them, which will give them more of a kick. 
  • If you’ve got fresh tomatoes on hand, feel free to chop them up and use them instead of canned! I personally like using the canned ones for ease in this recipe (and because I love using the fire roasted ones), but using fresh tomatoes will also work!
  • Get creative with how you eat this one! Like I mentioned above, my favorite form is a buddha bowl. I like to throw it together with some brown rice, chopped greens (spinach or romaine are my favorites), a little extra lime juice, and some avocado. Read the intro at the beginning of this post for more ideas!
  • Entertaining a crowd or want to bring this to a gathering? Pair it with some chips and serve it as a dip! (I personally love eating it with some Siete “Hint of Lime” chips. So good!)
  • Still want some extra zest, even after adding the dressing and extra garlic salt? Sprinkle on some extra Italian seasoning for even more flavor!


Cowboy Caviar

Recipe by Delaney MarieCourse: Lunch, Snack, AppetizersCuisine: Southern


Prep time


Total time



This Cowboy Caviar doesn’t take long to throw together and is the perfect lunch or snack recipe! Enjoy on its own, as a dip, in a wrap, or on top of a salad or buddha bowl.

Note that the prep time above includes the time it should take to chop your veggies and drain your beans. If you want to keep it oil-free, be sure to use my homemade Italian Dressing – this should only add about 5 minutes to your total time for this recipe. Enjoy!


  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained (1 can of regular diced tomatoes or 1.5 cups of freshly diced tomatoes will also work)

  • 1/2 small-medium red onion, diced

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed (I like to thaw my frozen corn by simply placing it in a colander and running cold water over it in the sink – only takes a few minutes!)

  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced (I like to use green, but any color bell pepper will work)

  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced very finely

  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Italian Dressing (homemade or store bought)

  • optional: 1/2 tsp garlic salt


  • In a large bowl, mix together your fire roasted tomatoes, red onion, black beans, black eyed peas, corn, bell pepper, jalapeno, and cilantro.
  • Starting with 1/4 cup, pour your Italian Dressing of choice into the large bowl. Give it a mix. If desired, add up to another 1/4 cup. The amount of dressing you use here completely depends on personal preference and how saucy you want your Cowboy Caviar! I tend to use around 1/3 cup.
  • Give your Cowboy Caviar a taste and add the optional garlic salt, if desired. This will largely depend on what Italian Dressing you used – if the dressing was already somewhat salty, you might want to skip this part. But if you want a little extra flavor boost, then add it in!
  • You can absolutely eat this right away if you’d like, but I highly recommend refrigerating it for a couple hours before consuming. After a few hours in the fridge the flavors get even better! Enjoy!

Happy cooking, friends! If you made this recipe don’t forget to tag me (@joyfulbalanceofficial) on facebook or instagram so I can cheer you on.

Stay Joyfully Balanced!


  1. Those cowpersons have the funniest looking fish eggs.
    Looks tasty!

    • Thank you! I actually did a google search about why this is called Cowboy Caviar when I was writing up this post, and found that it supposedly got that name as a joke because it is the “poor man’s version” of actual caviar!

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