Cheating Cowboy Caviar Recipe (a/k/a Texas Caviar)

Cheating Cowboy Caviar (Texas Caviar)
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Whether you call it Texas Caviar, or Cowboy Caviar or, as we do, Cheating Cowboy caviar, our Cowboy Caviar is easy to make, and even easier than most because of the cheating aspect of it (we will explain exactly why we call it Cheating Cowboy Caviar in a moment). You will note that this is also designated as a ‘quarantine recipe’, which means that all of the ingredients are shelf-stable and non-perishable!

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It turns out that Cowboy Caviar has an interesting history! Despite it trending on TikTok this summer, it actually was invented back in the 1940s! According to Dallas News, “The name Cowboy Caviar — also known as Texas Caviar — actually has some Dallas history. It was created by Helen Corbitt, the legendary culinary director at Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas, in the 1940s. Since then it’s been a potluck staple for many Texans, and has even been fried at the State Fair of Texas. While variations exist, the dish mainly consists of corn, black-eyed peas, black beans, onions, and vinaigrette.” You can read a bit of a biography of Ms. Corbitt, and see some great black and white photos of her, at

So exactly why do we call our version Cheating Cowboy Caviar? Is it because a cowboy cheated on us? No. (Someone would have to be crazy to cheat on us and give up all the yummy food that we serve up, are we right??) We call this Cheating Cowboy Caviar because while traditional Cowboy Caviar is made with black beans and black-eyed peas, and fresh tomatoes, and onion, ours ‘cheats’ and is made with black beans plus whatever other non-black bean you have in the house, canned diced tomatoes, and some dried peppers (optional) and herbs and spices; that’s what makes it both very easy, and a quarantine recipe!

Now, of course, you can substitute fresh ingredients for any of the canned or dried ingredients that we use (would that make it a Cheating Cheating Cowboy Caviar recipe?).

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Cheating Cowboy Caviar


1 can black beans, drained
1 can some other, lighter beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (are you detecting a theme here?)
1 Tablespoon each dried green and red bell peppers (optional)
2 teaspoons dried cilantro
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon lime juice (can substitute lemon juice or apple cider vinegar)


Mix all of the ingredients together, and allow to sit for at least an hour, or overnight. Mix again before serving. This dish is fabulous chilled, or at room temperature. You can even heat it, which some consider Cowboy Caviar sacrilege, but shhhh…. we won’t tell.

Cheating Cowboy Caviar (Texas Caviar)

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