This creamy cowboy caviar is an irresistible version of a simple bean salad, with fresh flavours and a creamy 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?!
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!
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 plenty of tasty bits!), but when you add extra little touches like the flavourful, creamy avocado dressing, it really makes this cowboy caviar a lot more tempting.
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.
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)
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?!
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Creamy Cowboy Caviar (with Avocado Dressing)
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For the bean salad:
- 400 g tin black beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 ¼ cups, when drained)
- 400 g tin black eyed beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 ¼ 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 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoon sliced black olives
For the creamy avocado dressing:
- 1 tablespoon sliced pickled jalapeños (optional)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Few sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ripe avocado, skin removed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon water
- 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.
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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