Texas Caviar

Side DishDipBlack Eyed Peas

We LOVE this Texas Caviar! It's loaded with black-eyed peas, peppers, and tomatoes. Great with chips!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Texas caviar, what a name! Credited with its invention is the legendary Austin-based Neiman-Marcus chef Helen Corbitt, who popularized this bean dip in the 1940s.

Texas caviar (also called “cowboy caviar”) is a cold black-eyed pea salad, with chiles, onions, and bell peppers that doubles as a dip for tortilla chips.

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This particular version of the recipe comes from my friend Lisa Fain, food blogger extraordinaire, and author of the 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

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


  • 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 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons 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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Black Eyed Pea Salsa - great with cheese quesadillas!

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Hoppin' John - classic black-eyed peas for New Year's

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

23 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Gene Sloan

    Just made it, did it pretty much as the recipe except, I used a jar of chunky medium heat salsa, and I used dry spices, instead of fresh, but I can only say it’s a great recipe. The fresh onion, and bell pepper were fresh, and it is a keeper party recipe!


  2. Peggy Thompson

    I make this every year for a New Year’s Day pot-luck brunch a friend hosts. There are never any leftovers from my double recipe; everyone loves it! This has become a great favorite for me and my family. We don’t use it as a dip, but just as a salad. Mmmmm.


  3. Pam

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


  4. 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.


  5. 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!

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