Texas Caviar

Texas caviar, a dip or salad with black-eyed peas, green onions, cilantro, jalapenos, tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil and lime juice.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Tailgate season is coming to a close, but we still have bowl games coming up, as well as the NFL playoffs. So humor me as I sneak this perfect tailgate dip into the lineup. Texas caviar, what a name! Credited with its invention is the legendary Austin-based Neiman-Marcus chef Helen Corbitt, who popularized it in the 1940s. Texas caviar is a cold black-eyed pea salad, with chiles, onions, and bell peppers that doubles as a dip for tortilla chips. This particular version of the recipe comes from my friend Lisa Fain, food blogger extraordinaire, and author of the newly released Homesick Texan Cookbook. Now most of the food we make around here gets shared among many—parents, boyfriend, friends, brothers, neighbors. But this one? I did not share. Mine. All. Mine. It’s that good.

Texas caviar can be served either as a little side salad, perhaps on some butter lettuce if you like, or it can be used as a dip, like salsa, for tortilla chips. You will find that if you make it as a dip, well, it takes a steady hand to keep the beans from falling of the chips. But, it’s well worth it. Enjoy!

Texas Caviar Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.


  • 4 cups of cooked black-eyed peas (2 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained)
  • 8 green onions, just the green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 jalapeño chile peppers, stems and seeds removed (wear gloves! do not touch your eyes after handling them!), finely chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced, or 1/2 cup of canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


1 In a medium bowl, stir together the black-eyed peas, green onion greens, cilantro, chopped jalapeño, tomatoes, bell pepper, and garlic.

2 In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and cumin. Pour over the the black-eyed pea mixture. Stir to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Best chilled for several hours. Serve cold as a side salad or with tortilla chips.

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Recipe by Lisa Fain, the Homesick Texan. Republished with permission.


Zannie's Black Eyed Pea Dip - from The Pioneer Woman

Showing 4 of 21 Comments

  • Pam

    I made it as written and it was a big hit. Thanks for the recipe.

  • JT

    Happy New Year, Elise.

    My friends had a NY’s Eve dinner party and I was asked to bring a spicy appetizer. Although I’m not a cilantro fan – all of my friends coming to the dinner party love it. Having said that – I made your Texas caviar (including the avocado) but had a hard time telling whether the dish was going to be a winner or not due to the way I feel about cilantro.

    The verdict: Winner! I was surprised and pleased that people scoffed this dip down quickly – and that it was the most popular appetizer there…and there were many choices. A good one; thank you.

  • Carolyn

    This is one of those classic recipes that I had never heard of until a couple of years ago. How is that possible? It is an amazing New World contribution to global cuisine, at the very least. The version I have settled on adds a bit of sugar, utilizes diced red onion instead of green onion, and is lighter on the jalapenos, but all in all I’m convinced that any Texas Caviar recipe would be quickly dispatched at my house. This will be my main contribution for the family New Year’s celebration this year. Long live snackies!

  • Novelismo

    Canned black eyed peas are great, but … really? It’s better to start from scratch and stew up your own. You could use the leftovers from Black Eyed Peas and Sweet Stewed Tomatoes — yet another old Southern favorite. Is the South now the largest “region” of the United States both in square miles and population? And counting the West, where the influence of expatriate Southerners after the war was a paramount influence on the spirit of the region, waal ….

  • Food Lover

    I would suggest adding a couple of tablespoons of tamarind paste dissolved in a bit of water.

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Texas Caviar