Kid-friendly Classic Cowboy Craveable Caviar Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Classic Cowboy Craveable Caviar

Recipe: Classic Cowboy Craveable Caviar

Classic Cowboy Craveable Caviar

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by DyrElena/
prep time
10 minutes
cook time
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Classic Cowboy Craveable Caviar

When my daughters were little, they loved to play dress up. One January, we attended Denver's National Western Stock Show, and that was the beginning of their long-lasting fascination with broad-brimmed hats, fringed vests, and pink leather boots. 

This recipe is for Classic Cowboy Craveable Caviar for all those 'lil cowpokes who come home at sundown with an appetite the size of Texas. 

This dish is deliciously simple and healthy. Dip it, plop it onto a bed of rice or salad, or just scoop it directly into your mouth with a spoon. It's loaded with fresh tomatoes, avocado, corn, and black-eyed peas, which are technically beans. (Guess what else? Black-eyed peas are also a kind of COWpea! I can't make this stuff up!). But truly, there's nothing fancy here—just good, unfussy grub. And trust me, this is one of those recipes you're going to want to keep on making, well, 'til the cows come home.

Here's what our Sticky Fingers Cooking Chef Instructors and our students had to say about this recipe: 

  • “All thumbs up from my 4th-grade class on the Cowboy Caviar and Cowgirl Cocoa. We were all shaking our (imaginary) lassos to show our enthusiasm!” - Chef Sharon, Boulder, CO
  • “I am so lucky to be teaching with these amazing kids!  It was their last class of the session & not only were they crazy about the quesadillas, Texas caviar, & cocoa, but they were so proud to receive their cooking awards. I asked them, in the spirit of the season, what they are thankful for & they all said:  Sticky Fingers Cooking!!” - Chef Lorie, Denver, CO
  • “Empty plates = yummy food!! Smiles and thumbs up all around!” - Chef Krista, Denver, CO
  • “These kids “gobbled” everything up!  There wasn’t one full plate or one empty tummy left in the room! Everything was a huge hit! One kiddo said she would pay $100 for the cowboy caviar” - Chef Ann Marie, Chicago, IL 

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

Equipment Checklist

  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Can opener
  • Strainer
  • Large skillet
  • Heat-resistant spatula or pancake turner
  • Large saucepan
  • Whisk


Classic Cowboy Craveable Caviar

  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 T cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vinegar (apple cider is best)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 12-oz can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained **(for LEGUME ALLERGY sub 1 small pkg fresh or frozen cauliflower rice)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

Classic Cowboy Craveable Caviar

  • Legume: Substitute 1 small pkg fresh or frozen cauliflower rice for 1 12-oz can of black-eyed peas in Cowboy Caviar.


Classic Cowboy Craveable Caviar

chop + measure

Roughly chop 1 medium tomato, 1 ripe avocado, 2 green onions, 1 bell pepper, and 2 tablespoons cilantro and combine in a large mixing bowl. Next, measure 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 pinch of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and add them all to the mixing bowl of veggies.

drain + mix

Lastly, rinse and drain 1 can of black eyed peas and add that to the mix. Fold all the ingredients together and taste. If the Cowboy Caviar needs more flavor, add another pinch of salt and pepper. Serve this tasty snack with chips or, even better, alongside Texan Campfire Quesadillas (see recipe)!

Surprise Ingredient: Black-eyed Peas!

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Photo by joanna wnuk/

Hi! I'm Black-eyed Pea!

“But don't worry, I haven't been in a fistfight. My black eye isn't a bruise but more of a black circle where I was connected to my pod. Besides, we get along well with others, especially rice, veggies, and pork!"


  • The black-eyed pea or bean is a subspecies of the cowpea and part of the family of legumes that includes beans and peas. Although called a pea, it is actually a bean. 
  • Black-eyed peas originated in Africa thousands of years ago. Enslaved Africans brought them to the American colonies in the 17th century.
  • There is a legend that Sherman's Union army raided the Confederate army's food supplies during the Civil War but ignored black-eyed peas and salted pork because they thought they were only for animal feed. Instead, these rejected foods came to represent good luck for the South because they would survive on them during the winter.
  • On New Year's Day, in the American South, they traditionally eat a black-eyed pea dish called Hoppin' John with collard greens and cornbread to ensure a prosperous new year. The peas symbolize coins, the greens represent paper money, and the cornbread symbolizes gold.


  • Black-eyed peas are small beans with a black circle, or eye, in their slight curve. This spot is where the bean is attached to the pod. They grow in narrow pods, about 3 to 6 inches long, and each pod contains an average of 6 to 13 beans. 
  • A black-eyed pea plant can be either a bush or a vine and likes to grow in warm soil.
  • There are several varieties of black-eyed peas, including heirlooms. The common type found in stores is the California Blackeye, a greenish-white bean with a black spot. Others may have a pink, red, brown, or green eye. 
  • How to Pick, Buy, & Eat
  • The correct harvest time for black-eyed peas is determined by how you will use them. If you want to add whole pods with beans to a stir-fry or snap them like green beans, pick green and immature pods. If you prefer to shell and cook the beans, wait until the pods have matured, start to turn yellow, and the beans inside look plump. For dried beans, pick the pods when they are dry and have turned brown.
  • Refrigerate fresh black-eyed pea pods for up to two weeks.
  • Shell the beans by pulling open the pods and using your thumb to pop them into a container.  
  • You can add black-eyed peas to salads, soups, stews, and fritters. 
  • For Hoppin' John, a Southern black-eyed pea and rice dish often served on New Year's Day. In addition to the beans and rice, other ingredients may include onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne or pepper sauce, water or chicken broth, and bacon or ham hock. 
  • Texas Caviar is the name of a black-eyed pea dish created in Texas around 1940. The black-eyed peas are marinated in a vinaigrette dressing and served with tortilla chips. 


  • Black-eyed peas are high in protein, fiber, folate (B9), vitamin A, manganese, phosphorus, and iron. 
  • The fiber in black-eyed peas aids digestion, and their protein content makes them a good meat substitute, like other beans.


What is Cowboy Caviar?

Photo by Caris Turpen Artworks/
  • Cowboy Caviar, also called Texas Caviar, is a type of salsa with black-eyed peas as the main ingredient. Other ingredients may be tomato, onion, bell pepper, chili pepper, corn, beans, cilantro, and garlic. The mixture of veggies and seasonings is often dressed with a vinaigrette dressing made of oil and vinegar (or citrus juice). 
  • The dish's creator, Helen Corbitt, was a native New Yorker who had moved to Texas and worked in the food industry at the time. In 1940, on New Year's Eve, she presented the salsa for the first time at the Houston Country Club. After serving it at a Dallas hotel sometime later, someone humorously dubbed it "Texas Caviar," when comparing it to the more expensive true caviar made of fish roe (eggs). 
  • You can serve Cowboy Caviar as a dip for tortilla chips or a topping for quesadillas or rice. You could even have it over lettuce as a salad!

Let's Learn About Texas!

Photo by Joe Belanger/
  • Texas is in the south-central part of the United States. Its size is 268,596 square miles, the second-largest state in area after Alaska, and it is the second most populated state after California, with over 29 million people. 
  • Austin is the capital city of Texas and is known for its music scene. However, Houston has the most people. The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is the largest in the state and the fourth largest in the country.
  • Texas' nickname is "The Lone Star State," and "The Lone Star" is on its state flag and seal. Once belonging to Mexico, it became an independent republic in 1836. It joined the union in 1845 as the 28th state.
  • The top industries in Texas are oil and petroleum, agriculture (including cattle and cotton), aeronautics, defense, technology, and tourism. Texas has more than 16 million heads of cattle, the most in the US.
  • The Rio Grande River is the largest in Texas. It is 1,896 miles long, starting in south-central Colorado, then through New Mexico, running along the Texas and Mexico border, and then into Texas, where it eventually flows to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The phrase "Everything is bigger in Texas" was first used in 1913. Texas had been the biggest state until Alaska became part of the United States in 1959.
  • Several dishes got their start in Texas, some with influences from Mexico, immigrants from other countries, or neighboring states. These include Tex-Mex cuisine, chili con carne, chicken fried steak, corn dogs, and Texas-style barbecued beef brisket.
  • Pecan pie is the Texas state pie. Although historians are unsure whether pecan pie got its start in Texas or another southern state, we do know that archaeologists found evidence in Texas of indigenous people using pecans more than 8,000 years ago.

That's Berry Funny

What do you call an angry pea? 

A Grump-pea!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a pea that runs into a Grump-pea? 

A Black-Eyed Pea!

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