Cowboy Caviar, Caroline Barrett

Cowboy Caviar, Only Better

This recipe is part of my TU January 2023 story. It goes along with Roasted Broccoli Soup with Turmeric and Coconut Milk and Ginger Apricot Pistachio Bars.

Cowboy Caviar, Caroline Barrett
Cowboy Caviar, Only Better

Cowboy Caviar is good – it’s a dish that is good for cozy, lazy football dinners, and also great for potlucks and dinner with friends. It’s beans and peppers, onions and corn, mixed up and meant to be scooped with a chip, and really, it’s loved by all. Be prepared for a non-traditional version here, as this one has vegetables that are sauteed gently, and then mixed together with the required black beans and black-eyed peas. (Traditionally, Cowboy Caviar is served completely raw, and everything is crunchy. It felt right to soften things up a bit, sweeten the onion and let the flavors meld.) Instead of bottled dressing, I whisked together a quick vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar, cayenne and enough maple syrup to only hint at sweetness. I also shook it up by adding avocado, greens and herbs. Those things were welcome additions for texture, color and flavor. This dish is perfect for football snacking, party-bringing and anytime it feels right to eat dinner in stretchy pants.


Cowboy Caviar, Only Better
Serves 4-6

Olive oil
1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded, cored and chopped
1 yellow pepper, seeded, cored and chopped
1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained on towels
Kosher salt
2 cups chopped spinach or arugula (kale works, too)
1 14-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large handful cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
Tortilla chips, for serving
For the vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon kosher salt

In a large skillet set over medium heat, pour in a swirl of olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the onion and peppers. Cook for a few minutes, stirring. When the vegetables are soft, add the corn and cook for another minute or two. Season with a pinch of salt. Remove from the heat and stir in the greens while still warm. Scrape all into a large bowl and add both beans. Allow to cool to room temperature, then stir in the cilantro. 

Make the dressing: in a glass dish, whisk together the oil, vinegar, maple, cayenne and salt. Pour over the bean mixture and allow to marinate for an hour or so. Add the avocado just before serving.

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