Creamy Cowboy Caviar (Vegan Bean Salad) with Avocado Dressing

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This creamy cowboy caviar is an irresistible version of a simple bean salad, with fresh flavours and a creamy avocado dressing.

A bowlful of creamy cowboy caviar in an avocado dressing.

Cowboy caviar is the recipe of the summer! It’s going viral on TikTok at the moment, and for good reason – it’s fresh, it’s full of vibrant flavours and colours, it couldn’t be easier to make, and it’s packed with goodness. What’s not to love?!

A hand using a tortilla chip to scoop up some cowboy caviar.

What is cowboy caviar?

Cowboy caviar – also known as Texas caviar – is, of course, not made with real caviar. This is a vegetarian website, after all.

In fact, it’s actually a bean salad, usually made with black eyed beans and various crunchy vegetables, served in a simple vinaigrette-style dressing. It’s fresh and vibrant, and is a perfect cold salad to serve as a side dish alongside any number of meals – or to scoop up with tortilla chips!

Cowboy caviar is really easy to customise – you can pretty much add whatever vegetables or other mix-ins you fancy. I’ve listed plenty of ideas below!

A hand holding up a tortilla chip with a scoop of creamy vegan cowboy caviar.

Creamy cowboy caviar

Cowboy caviar is usually made with a light, vinaigrette-style dressing.

But this time, I thought I’d make it extra special, with a creamy avocado dressing. I blended ripe avocados to make a glossy coating for the crunchy vegetables – it’s such a nice contrast.

I also added jalapeños, fresh herbs, spices, and lime juice, so it adds heaps of flavour, and makes it feel a bit more luxurious than a standard bean salad.

I’ll admit, I’m not generally a salad lover – I’ve said before how I need my salads to be a bit more substantial than pure lettuce, like pasta salad, or fattoush. But this cowboy caviar is definitely an irresistible salad, with plenty of extra little touches like the flavourful, creamy avocado dressing.

A bowlful of creamy bean salad with fresh lime and tortilla chips on the side.

Is cowboy caviar vegan?

This cowboy caviar is completely vegan.

I may have made my version extra creamy, but since I used avocado instead of a dairy-based sauce, even this creamy cowboy caviar is totally vegan.

Of course, if you decide to stray from the recipe, just make sure you avoid any non-vegan mix-ins if you need your cowboy caviar to be vegan.

Close up shot of creamy cowboy caviar with black eyed beans and an avocado dressing.

What are the ingredients of cowboy caviar?

There’s no set recipe for cowboy caviar – you can pretty much add whatever you have to hand, and it will probably end up good. I love recipes like this, where you can make things slightly differently each time!

I like to choose a nice variety of ingredients, using as many different colours and textures as I can.

You’ll probably want to choose your ingredients from a few different categories. For example:

  • beans (I used black eyed beans and black beans – you could turn it into a chickpea salad instead, if you prefer)
  • raw vegetables (I used red pepper, spring onions and tinned sweetcorn)
  • nuts or sees (I used pumpkin seeds) for an extra bit of crunch
  • any other extra tasty bits for added wow factor (I added some black olives)

If you choose a couple of ingredients from each of these categories, you’ll be golden.

Black beans and black eyed beans in a mixing bowl.

How to make cowboy caviar

Step 1: Mix together the bean salad ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, combine the beans, raw vegetables, and any other mix-ins you’ve chosen to add.

Fresh vegetables and black olives in a mixing bowl.

Step 2: Blend up the creamy avocado dressing

Use a food processor to blend together the dressing ingredients. As well as the avocado itself, I also added fresh coriander (cilantro), pickled jalapeños, cumin, lime juice, and a few other things.

Blitz it all together until it’s nice and smooth and creamy.

Collage showing how to make a creamy avocado salad dressing.

Step 3: Combine

Add the dressing to the bowl, and mix thoroughly.

That’s all there is to it – no cooking, no waiting around. Just mix, and eat.

Creamy cowboy caviar with avocado dressing in a mixing bowl.

How could I adapt this recipe?

There are plenty of other things you could add to your cowboy caviar. If you don’t have one of the ingredients I used, no problem – just skip it. Swap it out for anything else you have lingering in the fridge.

I tried to keep to a vaguely Tex-Mex vibe for my cowboy caviar, but you can take it in any direction you like.

Here are some ideas for ingredients you could add, in addition (or instead of) the ones I used:

  • diced tomatoes
  • diced cucumber
  • other types of bean e.g. kidney beans
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • chopped peanuts
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • diced red onion

Really, just go wild. Cut everything into fairly even pieces, and mix it all up.

A hand taking a scoop of creamy avocado cowboy caviar.

How to serve cowboy caviar

This recipe makes a nice big bowlful of cowboy caviar – a good 6 portions – so it’s great for feeding a crowd or adding to a buffet. I probably wouldn’t eat it as a full meal on its own (though there’s no reason you couldn’t, since it’s fairly balanced), but rather I’d eat it as a snack, or as a side dish alongside something else.

Since it’s a Tex-Mex dish, it would be absolutely perfect served alongside some vegetarian enchiladas or tacos.

You can also use it as a dip for crunchy tortilla chips – perhaps alongside a refreshing margarita?!

A bowlful of creamy cowboy caviar with fresh lime and tortilla chips on the side.
A hand scooping creamy cowboy caviar with a tortilla chip.

Creamy Cowboy Caviar (with Avocado Dressing)

This creamy cowboy caviar is an irresistible version of a simple bean salad, with fresh flavours and a creamy avocado dressing.

If you’ve cooked this recipe, don’t forget to leave a star rating!

5 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 229kcal
Author: Becca Heyes

Ingredients

For the bean salad:

  • 400 g tin black beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 1/4 cups, when drained)
  • 400 g tin black eyed beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 1/4 cups, when drained)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 small spring onions, diced (or 1 large)
  • 200 g tin sweetcorn, drained (160g, or ~ 1 cup, when drained)
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp sliced black olives

For the creamy avocado dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp sliced pickled jalapeños (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Few sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ripe avocado, skin removed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp water

Instructions

  • Add all of the salad ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
  • In a food processor, add the pickled jalapeños, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, coriander (cilantro), cumin, and olive oil. Blitz until fairly well chopped. Add the avocado and a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and blitz again until fairly smooth. If the mixture seems a little thick, add a splash of water – it should be thin enough to lightly coat the salad.
  • Add the dressing to the bowl, and mix thoroughly. Serve chilled.

Notes

If you don’t have an ingredient, just swap it for something else. Any vegetable that you enjoy eating raw will work, or something different, like crumbled feta cheese, or chopped nuts. There are lots more ideas in the blog post.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Creamy Cowboy Caviar (with Avocado Dressing)
Amount Per Serving (1 portion)
Calories 229 Calories from Fat 93
% Daily Value*
Fat 10.3g16%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 243mg10%
Potassium 454mg13%
Carbohydrates 28.4g9%
Fiber 9.8g39%
Sugar 2.8g3%
Protein 8.9g18%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.

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5 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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9 Comments

  1. Hi Becca. This cowboy caviar looks delicious! How long would this keep fresh in the fridge? Is it appropriate for meal prep/storage or do you reckon it is better eaten as soon as it is made?

    1. Thanks Angela! Generally I keep things in the fridge for up to 3 days. The only issue with this particular recipe is that avocado does go a bit brown if you leave it for too long. Still totally edible, but it probably wouldn’t look too appetising. If you’re fussed about appearance I’d eat it the same day if possible :) Alternatively if you wanted to meal prep it, you could prepare the beans and veggies, and then just add a splash of some sort of dressing whenever you want to eat some.

  2. Your cowboy cavier meal sounds awesome!! I posted before but got no response. I like everything but the avacado dressing or vinaigrette. Could I use another kind like ranch or chipotle? I am not very creative.

  3. I’m not too keen on vinaigrette or avacado, but all the rest of the ingredients are awesome! What could I use instead for the dressing (bottled )

      1. My apologies.. I just saw your answer. Please disregard.. I love your recipes. I have wanted to become a vegetarian for a long time. Hubby is a meat eater, so kind of hard.