September 9, 2010

Texas Caviar

Now that September has rolled around and we’re seeing the beginning of the end of summer, I thought it’d be a great idea to squeeze in a few more warm weather favorites before things get cold. Or if you live in Houston, before things get less-sweltering.

Not to mention the fact that this dish is ridiculously easy to prepare. That’s nice, too.

I don’t know how prevalent Texas Caviar is outside the state of Texas (I have an inkling that it’s not much), but it’s something that I always see around the grocery store ready-made counter and always mean to buy. However, once I thought about it, I realized that it’s actually a pretty straightforward dish and decided to give it a try myself.

Oh, and don’t ask my why it’s called “Texas Caviar.” It just is.

To start off, I grabbed two cans of black-eyed peas.

You could use dried, then soaked, then cooked beans, but that would defeat the purpose of this being so easy.

Then I added one large, chopped tomato…

…and then one can of corn.

Again, it’s all about ease here—not perfectly fresh ingredients. This literally takes about ten minutes to throw together.

After the corn comes a bit of green onion.

Then two jalapeños…

…with a nice bunch of chopped cilantro to round things out.

Mix that all up until it’s colorful and purdy.

When it comes to the dressing, I wanted to go with something simple—pretty much just an oil and vinegar mixture with a bit of lime, as opposed to a lot of recipes that I’ve seen which involve dousing the salad with Kraft Italian dressing. There’s technically nothing wrong with that option, I just have issues with Kraft Italian dressing. It involves marinating fajitas back in high school Spanish Club.

It’s a long story.

But, now that it’s in the forefront of my psyche, I feel the need to unburden myself. Back in high school, I was a member of Spanish Club for all four years—including one year spent as President—which included having to work fajita sales to raise money for the club’s causes, like paying for AP Spanish tests and hosting the Sadie Hawkins Dance. Well, each year before the actual fajita sales all us kids who were in upper level Spanish classes got dragged off to the cafe-gyma-torium to help set up the meat for marinating.

Now honestly, getting pulled out of class to cook is not such a bad trade in my book. However, these cooking sessions mainly involved peeling and chopping bags of onions (and ruining whatever makeup you had on thanks to the tears streaming down your face), squeezing lemons and limes over the meat until your fingers were puckered and pruney, shaking a bottle of industrial-sized seasoning over the citrusy fajitas (always my favorite task), and, finally, squirting dozens of jugs of Kraft Italian dressing over it all.

So you see, whenever I smell Kraft dressing, my mind immediately returns to the smell of raw meat, strong onions, and the ever-present, angsty desperation that permeates every high schooler’s existence. Like I said, I have issues with Kraft Italian dressing.

Therefore, in skillful avoidance of that substance, I added two tablespoons of olive oil to the bowl…

…with another two tablespoons of red wine vinegar…

…and the juice of half a lime for a nice burst of citrusy freshness.

Note the bandage on my paper-cut thumb.

For some final seasoning, I added some cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.

After giving it a final mix together, we’ve got something very yummy.

That’s it! Eat it on its own, on top of some salad greens, or even just with some nice, crunchy, salty tortilla chips. Any way you choose, this is a great, simple, summery dish that you can whip up in a flash.

Texas Caviar

Recipe by Moi

Printable Recipe

2 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 large tomato, roughly chopped

1 can corn, drained and rinsed

2 green onions, finely chopped

2 jalapeños, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

juice of 1/2 lime

1 teaspoon ground cumin

A few pinches of ground cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir and chill for several hours or overnight.

Serve cold on its own, with chips, on a salad, or any other way you want!


  1. I had no idea of what Texas Caviar is and my husband is from Texas. Thanks for sharing! It does call for it's still great also for the Northern California weather of these days

  2. Hi Koci, that's a lovely simple dish, packed full of flavour and colours and it's pretty healthy too. btw I hope your papercut has healed :-)

  3. Mm, well I definitely hadn't heard of Texas Caviar, but it looks delicious. Very healthy too ... though could do with a pinch of suet? ;) No? Okay then.

    I've been thinking about squeezing in a few summer recipes before it gets too cold as well. This will have to be one of them.

  4. Looks bright and fresh...I make something similar with black beans. Sadly, this native Texan doesn't like blackeyed peas. I manage to swallow a spoonful on New Years since it's for "luck", but that's about it ;)! So excited to come home tonight...haven't been to H-town since May!!

  5. I've never heard of Texas Caviar, but now I'd like to try it. Sounds great!

  6. Thanks for sharing this recipe, it looks wonderful! I'll have to try it out. YUM!

  7. Since it will be quite warm for a while here in Arizona as well this is the perfect dish to have around! It looks colorful and fresh! Nice dish :o)

  8. @Sara: I actually had only heard of it in the past few years--and I live in Texas! :D

    @alchemy: I'm happy to report that everything's tip top as far as paper-cut thumbs go. hehehe

    @Suzler: You seriously just made me snort with laughter. lol

    @wendy: Welcome back! Your experience with black-eyed peas is exactly how I feel about cabbage on New Year's. Usually I just dunk a bite of it in Ranch dressing and call it a day.

    @dana: Thanks! It's very versatile, too. You can swap a lot of things in and out to suit your tastes.

    @Lindsey: Thank you!!

    @Susi: This dish is definitely great for those days when it's so hot outside and you don't want to heat anything up in the kitchen. Plus the cilantro and lime gives things a fresh, cool kick.

  9. He Koci, thanks for stopping by minha casa :) your bio says you are in school-so culinary school? good luck! nice dish, we eat lots of beens in brasil but if i ever make a cold bean or pasta salad i get looks of horror! "hey, beans are not supposed to be cold! ahh!!" nevermind the fact that it's a 100 degrees outside but hey, lets stew some hot beans anyways ;)

  10. I'm just in regular ol' college right now, Mallory, with lofty dreams of culinary school in a couple of years. I figured it's never too soon to get in some good practice!

    I must say, hot beans definitely work too. I was making chili in July like there was no tomorrow. :D

  11. This looks yummy Koci! I have similar memories about fajitas, but not as strong. Mine centered around all the chopping. Oh, so much onion chopping....*shudders*

  12. you stole my heart with the jalapenos:) this looks irresistible..yum!

  13. Looks delicious! Here in Phoenix, winters are really mild and it's still definitely summer. I can totally appreciate this recipe :)

  14. This sounds like the perfect accompaniment to barbecued anything! And makes you want to hang on to those last moments of summer...looks refreshing and tasty.

  15. This looks so fresh and so good. I've never heard of Texas caviar, but I'm so glad you told me about it! I love this easy recipe. I'll have to try it! Thanks for sharing your Italian dressing nightmare too lol

  16. @Becky: Oooh, onion chopping is never fun. I feel your pain. :P

    @blackbook: haha Thanks!

    @baking.serendipity: There's just nothing better than something cool on a hot day. Plain and simple.

    @Karen: I love the idea of pairing this with some barbecue! I'd never thought of that, but it sounds like an amazing combination!

    @Marisa: It is sooo easy! This is such a great go-to quick recipe, especially when you have to bring something for a party or some sort of get-together.


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