Cowboy Caviar

This Cowboy Caviar recipe is one of my favorite recipes to bring to a potluck or BBQ. Black beans, black eyed peas, avocado, tomatoes, and shoepeg corn tossed in a light zesty Italian dressing. Eat with chips or just a fork! There are a lot of Cowboy Caviar recipes but this one has withstood the test of time and is really the best.Cowboy Caviar - One of our favorite appetizers. Beans, avocado, tomatoes, and corn tossed in a light dressing.

As I carted my kids around to Costco and Walmart today, I thought to myself how did my mom do this with 10 kids?

Ask yourself what’s worse than a Costco trip with three kids?

A Costco trip with three kids in the POURING rain! We were all drenched from head to toe.

They say when you have kids it makes you learn patience but I think I’ve only digressed. My mom is the perfect model of patience.
Believe it or not with ten kids she rarely raised her voice. The handful of times I can remember her losing her patience was after trips to the grocery store.
Picture my mom, with a gaggle of kids, pushing 2-3 grocery carts full of food. We would always try to guess the damage at the register only to be hundreds of dollars off.
When you’re 5 years old everything only costs a quarter…maybe four quarters if it’s really expensive.Cowboy Caviar - One of our favorite sides to bring to a potluck. Eat with chips or just a fork!

I’m not sure at what point we pushed her over the edge but by the time we pulled in our driveway we were told to get out and take the groceries inside while my mom drove off in the car for a moment to herself to regroup.

Surely she earned some credits to curse like a sailor but she didn’t.

I definitely earned at least some PG rated swearing credits today. I guess I’m learning to flex my patience muscle because I didn’t use ’em.Cowboy Caviar - One of our favorite appetizers. Beans, avocado, tomatoes, and corn tossed in a light dressing.
Here’s a yummy dip that is always the first thing to be eaten when taken to BBQs. I could eat this alone for lunch. It’s one of my favorite appetizers for feeding a crowd.
My mother-in-law Sheri gave me this recipe. All the measurements are approximate to feel free to adjust it to your tastes.
Cowboy Caviar - One of our favorite appetizers. Beans, avocado, tomatoes, and corn tossed in a light dressing.

Cowboy Caviar

  • Yield: 10



  • 1 (15 ounce) can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can shoepeg corn (, drained and rinsed (see note))
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes (, seeds removed and diced or 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved)
  • 2-3 diced avocados (, ripe but still firm)
  • 4 green onions (, sliced thin)
  • around 1/2 to 3/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (, chopped finely)
  • juice of 1-2 limes
  • ground pepper and salt to taste


  1. Drain and rinse the black eyed peas, black beans, and corn. Add to a large bowl. Dice the tomatoes, making sure the seeds and insides are removed. You want to do this to make sure that there isn’t too much liquid in the dip. Add the diced tomatoes and cilantro to the bowl. Slice the green onions finely and add to the bowl. Dice the avocado and squeeze a little of the lime juice over the avocados so they don’t brown as quickly. Squeeze the rest of the lime juice into the bowl. Add the Italian dressing and stir to coat all the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator until cold and flavors have marinated together. This is best served the same day as prepared. Serve with tortilla chips.


Source: Sheri Denney

You can also use regular corn or grilled corn when in season.

If making this ahead of time add everything but the avocado and when you add the avocado squeeze a little lime juice over them so they don’t brown as quickly.

This Cowboy Caviar is one of my favorite recipes to bring to a potluck or BBQ. Beans, avocado, tomatoes, and corn tossed in a light dressing. Eat with chips or just a fork!



Speak Your Mind



  1. That looks so delicious, light and refreshing! I must try it, yum! Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Feeling your pain, as I have 3 kids as well. How about back-to-school shoe shopping with 3 of them? Brutal!!
    I too wonder how my mother-in-law did it – my husband is the 2nd youngest of 11. Bless their hearts!
    Have a wonderful day!

  3. You’re posts are hilarious! I can see why it might be wise to wait to have kids, as i do not have any at the moment…

    I love to make this! As an alternate, I add english or regular peeled cucumbers and a bit of red pepper flakes or fresh jalapeno.

    Keep ’em comin’!

  4. Mmmm….that looks so yummy! Can’t wait to try it!!

  5. What a lovely blog. Great food photography too!

  6. This is looking real good!

  7. This sounds so easy & delicious! I will definitely try it!

  8. Just so you know, I’ve been married 44+ years and we’ve got two grown children and three grandchildren. As I look back over my entire life the one thing I would change, and there is only one, is that I would have had more children, lots more if God would have arranged it.

    I now realize that having children was one of the ways the LORD worked to keep my mind on making our home a place to honor and glorify Him. With two parents and two children I think we might have taken the task too lightly. For sure the time span was relatively short and we surely engaged in a lot of ‘outside activities’.

    When I look at families with many children I realize that those parents were REQUIRED to stay focused on raising the next generation – there was no way it could be anything other than a full time job AND THEN SOME. May each of you be blessed in your mothering and homemaking! Amen

  9. Absolutely love this recipe and your website! I’ve made this at least 4 or 5 times. It’s now always requested of me whenever there is a gathering. Thank you for posting it. If by any chance you have the nutrition information, I’d love to have it.


  10. I’ve made this one several times and always have several people ask for the recipe (except this last time…hmmm). My recipe doesn’t have the Italian packet but just has cumin (love me some cumin!). I also throw in garlic and onion powder. I eat it like a salad after the chips are gone. Its soooo yummy and actually healthy!

  11. Thank you so much! I was looking for this for my boyfriend. He loves this dip a lot.

  12. I’ve tasted this before, and it really is good! Nothing like the name suggests…but I guess that’s just because I don’t like caviar! 🙂

    Very entertaining post! Those of us with kids are in your corner, sister! Thanks for the recipe! Pinning it.

  13. Looks delish! Thank you Thank you for posting this! I found this via Free Copycat Recipes, BTW. At one of my sister-in-law’s weddings (yes, I said at one of them, lol), someone made a concoction exactly like this minus the avocado. I wanted the recipe that day, didn’t get a chance to ask for it & have searched the internet fruitlessly ever since. I am super excited to make this & so grateful you shared!

  14. Having never been married nor kids (last of 3 in our little family 15 years apart on me) but get a bang out of ‘observing’ others. Recently retired so I an do/what/when/where I want & trip around a lot in Ft Worth or elsewhere. Gosh we have FABULOUS grocery stores all over the place & a lot of ‘culture’ going on. So I like to cook as luv to ferret out the best in people, places & things & pick your noggin, Keep the hilarity coming!! ~~ cheers

  15. Christy, this looks SOOOO yummy! I’m a sucker for anything with avocado. Thanks for being a part of the Tailgating collaboration, it’s fun to work with you. Pinned this!

  16. I’m making this for dinner tonight! I’ve had horrible morning sickness with my second child, and this has a lot of what my body needs – beans, tomatoes, avocado- to stay healthy! Thank you for sharing!

  17. How many servings would you saying makes?