Texas Caviar, also known as Cowboy Caviar, is a delicious an hearty salsa made of black beans, black eyed peas, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Grab a chips and dip in!
If you consider yourself to be an aficionado of all things dips and salsa, I strongly recommend giving Texas Caviar a try. It’s meaty, flavorful and the perfect accompaniment, not only to a crunchy tortilla chip, but also as a garnish sprinkled over tacos, grilled chicken, baked fish … the possibilities are endless.
What is Texas Caviar and How did it get its Name?
Texas Caviar is a salsa-like dip made from black beans, black eyed peas, and various other chopped vegetables marinated in oil and vinegar. It’s typically served with tortilla chips. It did get its origin in Texas. But contrary to its name, Texas Caviar has nothing to do with the very expensive appetizer of salted fish eggs usually served in fancy, upscale restaurant. In fact, it contains absolutely no seafood at all. So how did it get its name?
In the 1940’s a woman named Helen Corbitt served the dip at the Driskill Hotel, a very fancy luxury hotel still in operation in Austin, Texas. Guests began calling the dip Texas caviar as a joke. Sometimes it is also known as cowboy caviar.
How to Make Texas Caviar
If you own a food processor, it definitely makes things easier. If not, no worries. You’ll just need to chop everything by hand.
Start by rinsing one bunch of cilantro under water to remove any residual dirt. Pat dry with a paper towel. Using a sharp knife, gently cut along the stems to remove the leaves. Discard the stems. Place the leaves in the bowl of the food processor.
Next, halve, then quarter, five roma tomatoes. I prefer roma tomatoes for something like this because they are less juicy than some of the slicing varieties. You’ll end up with less liquid in the bowl. Place the tomatoes in the food processor with the cilantro.
Cut both a medium yellow onion and ½ of a small red onion into quarters and add them to the bowl, along with two whole cloves of garlic. Carefully remove the stem end from one jalapeño pepper and gently scrape out the inner white rib and seeds. This is where the concentration of capsaicin, the stuff that makes jalapeños hot, is located. You may want to wear rubber gloves while you do this to prevent any residual capsaicin from getting on your fingers.
Once you’ve done this, either toss the jalapeno into the food processor with the tomato, onions, garlic and cilantro and pulse until the vegetables are evenly mixed but slightly chunky. Alternately, finely chop all ingredients by hand.
Pour everything into a large mixing bowl. Add one 15 oz. can of rinsed and drained black beans and one 15 oz. can of rinsed and drained black eyed peas. Also add one drained can of whole kernel corn and ½ cup of chopped green onions.
Pour in four tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Stir everything until all ingredients are ell combined and evenly coated with the oil and vinegar. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and chill for at least six hours.
Wait to season with salt and pepper just before serving, as the salt can draw out more liquid from the veggies. Serve chilled with tortilla chips. Best if eaten within three days.
You Might Also Like
Texas Caviar [Cowboy Caviar]
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 5 Roma tomatoes
- 1 medium yellow onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 red onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 whole medium jalapeno pepper seeded
- 1 15-oz. can black beans drained
- 1 15-oz. can black eyed peas drained
- 1 15-oz. can whole kernel corn drained
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash cilantro and remove stems.
- Roughly chop tomatoes, onions, garlic, and jalapeno. Place it in the bowl of a food processor with the cilantro and process until slightly chunky and ingredients are well incorporated. If you don't have a food processor, chop everything by hand.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in beans, black eyed peas, corn, green onions, olive oil and red wine vinegar.
- Cover and refrigerate for six hours, stirring occasionally.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste just before serving.