This 15-minute Cowboy Salad is Cowboy Caviar, but made with black beans. Serve as a salad or dip. Zesty, refreshing, and budget-friendly. Ideal for barbecues, picnics, and potlucks. (Gluten-free & oil-free.)
Most Cowboy Caviar recipes are made with black eyed peas. This one uses black beans instead, with the option of adding black eyed peas. The flavorful dressing is oil-free. It's deliciously crafted so you won't miss the oil, I promise!
For more oil-free salads, see my Edamame Quinoa Salad with Oil-Free Miso Ginger Dressing on this site, as well as this Easy Broccoli Salad With Oil-Free Tahini Dressing.
- Black beans are the beans of choice for this recipe. However, there's also an option to add black eyed peas for a more traditional Texas caviar.
- Grape or cherry tomatoes tend to be less soggy, so the leftovers hold up better for longer.
- Frozen sweet corn is quick and easy to prepare, and adds a delightful hint of sweetness.
- Jalapeño adds a mild amount of spice and tons of flavor to this dish. If you are sensitive to spice, taste the jalapeño beforehand, and use the desired quantity.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Tomatoes - Substitute the grape tomatoes for diced roma tomatoes, or use a mixture of both.
- Bell pepper - Replace one half of the cherry or grape tomatoes with 1 small chopped bell pepper.
- Beans - replace one can (1 ½ cups) black beans with one can (1 ½ cups) black-eyed peas, or a different bean of your choice
- Corn - use frozen, canned, or fresh corn kernels
- Cilantro - use parsley or dill instead
- Whole grain mustard - omit as desired, and add more Dijon to taste
- Spice- This salad is mildly spicy. For a less spicy version, reduce or omit the chipotle powder, and jalapeño. For more spice, add sriracha to the dressing.
Step 1. Add the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate small bowl.
Step 2. Pour the dressing into the salad and mix well until it is fully incorporated. Season with salt. Adjust lime juice, and maple syrup to taste.
For more oil-free salad options, try my Avocado Mango Salad, or this Mayo-Free Vegan Macaroni Salad with Peas. Visit my Vegan Salad Recipes page for more easy dinner salad ideas.
💡 Expert Tips
- Serve Cowboy Salad as a dip with chips or crackers, as a salad, or as a relish.
- Enjoy at room temperature, or chilled.
- Add olives, celery, bell pepper, or carrots for even more texture.
- To reduce the sharpness of the red onion, soak the chopped onion in a bowl of water for 15 minutes before using. Drain well.
Refrigerate any remaining Cowboy Salad in an airtight container for up to 4 days. If you plan on having leftovers, add the dressing, and avocado to the served portion only. Refrigerate any remaining dressing, and chopped salad ingredients in two separate containers.
🙋🏽♀️ Recipe FAQs
Cowboy caviar, also know as 'Texas caviar,' is traditionally a salad of black-eyed peas in a vinaigrette-style dressing. It was created in Texas by Helen Corbitt, and first served on New Year's Eve for good luck at the Houston Country Club. (Black-eyed peas are said to bring good luck!)
It was later given its name as a humorous comparison to true caviar.
Yes! Refrigerate the dressing, and chopped salad ingredients in two separate containers. Mix in the dressing and avocado for serving.
This recipe for Cowboy Caviar is very nutritious. It is packed with plant-based protein, fiber, iron, vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. It has no refined sugars, and is very low in sodium and saturated fat.
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Cowboy Salad Recipe
- 45 ounces black beans 3 (15-ounce) cans or 4 ½ cups, drained and rinsed
- 1 pint grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 ¾ cups sweet corn kernels frozen, thawed
- 1 cup diced red onion (about 1 small)
- 1 medium jalapeño finely diced
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Zest of 1 small lime
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice plus more to taste (about 1 lime)
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 small garlic clove
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or to taste
- Salt to taste
- 2 medium avocados chopped
- To a large bowl: Add the black beans, tomatoes, corn, red onion, jalapeño, and cilantro.
- In a small bowl: Mix the balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, whole grain mustard, Dijon, lime zest and juice, chili powder, cumin, chipotle, and ¼ cup water. Grate the garlic into the bowl using a microplane. Add maple syrup and adjust lime juice to taste. Season with salt.
- For serving: Mix in the avocado.
- You can swap out a portion of the black beans for an equal portion of a different bean.
- Use canned or fresh corn kernels as desired.
- Enjoy at room temperature, or chilled.
- Serve as a dip with chips or crackers, as a salad, or as a relish.
- Add olives, celery, bell pepper, or carrots.
- To make ahead of time: Refrigerate the dressing, and chopped salad ingredients in two separate containers. Mix together with avocado for serving.
- If you are planning on having leftovers, add the avocado to the served portion. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an ESTIMATE only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.
This is an easy, filling dish - that’s also delicious! I used frozen corn but the flavors are still really fresh. I love the kick of the jalapeños in the dressing! The beans make it hardy and filling. It can easily serve as a main dish or to accompany something else. Black beans instead of black eyed peas definitely gets my vote. Give it a try this summer. You’ll love the flavor combination!
So happy you enjoyed it. Thank you for commenting. Have a lovely day.