Cowboy Caviar {Black-eyed Pea Salsa} aka Texas Caviar

Cowboy Caviar {black-eyed Pea Salsa} aka Texas Caviar is the delicious Southern cousin of Mexican Black Bean Salsa made with black-eyed peas, sweet corn, diced red plum tomatoes, chopped spicy jalapeño peppers, crisp celery, diced cucumber, red onions, finely sliced green onion, chopped fresh cilantro, and served with crunchy tortilla chips.

Southerners love their black-eyed peas, and the state of Texas is the birthplace of Cowboy Caviar {Black-eyed Pea Salsa} aka Texas Caviar. Cowboy Caviar aka Texas Caviar was created in the lovely state of Texas around 1940, by Ms. Helen Corbitt, the director of the food service for the Zodiac Room at Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas. Here’s the twist y’all, Ms. Helen Corbitt was actually a native of New York, not Texas.

I don’t know about y’all but I can surely forgive Ms. Corbitt for not being a native Southerner, since she created one of my favorite Southern iconic appetizers; bless her little heart, if it weren’t for her we might not have ever thought of this amazing concoction made from black-eyed peas on our own. So a big thank you is going out to that lovely fiery redheaded Northern gal.

Ms. Helen Corbitt was the notoriously famous for being the director of the food service at the Zodiac Room, in the Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas. She first served her well-known Black-eyed Pea Salsa on New Year’s Eve at the Houston Country Club. Ms. Corbitt, would later also serve the Black-eyed Pea Salsa at the famous Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas, where then dubbed by its nickname, “Texas caviar,” as a humorous poke at real caviar, an expensive hors d’oeuvre of salt-cured fish roe.Did you know, Mr. Stanley Marcus had once declared Ms. Helen Corbitt the creator of Texas Caviar,  “The Balenciaga of Food”? While Mr. Earl Wilson would describe her simply as “the best cook in Texas.” Ms.Helen Corbitt has been said to be to the American’s what Julia Child is considered to be the French. Ms. Corbitt’s forte was in her exquisite presentation of new and unusual flavor combinations, and vibrant colors like you will notice her  famous Cowboy Caviar {Black-eyed Pea Salsa} aka Texas CaviarAmong her most famous food creations like her Texas Caviar, are her famous Snowballs recipe, Flowerpots with Baked Alaska recipe made in small clay pots, and poppy-seed Dressing. Did you know that Helen would be credited with creating this amazing Poppy-seed Dressing but denied the accolades due to only making the recipe popular over the years?You’ll find many versions of this wonderful tasting Cowboy Caviar {Black-eyed Pea Salsa} aka Texas Caviar on the web, but here is my favorite way to make this fabulous appetizer. Just be prepared for it to fly off the table in no time. Serve it with crisp tortilla chips and watch the family dig in.

Cowboy Caviar {Black-eyed Pea Salsa} aka Texas Caviar

  • 2 cups black-eyed peas well-drained
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 1/2 cup of black beans, drained
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 jalapeño peppers finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery diced
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1/4 of a cup diced cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, minced
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar. optional
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt, to own taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to own taste

Directions to make recipe

  1. You can either use a quality canned black-eyed pea, black bean or corn in the recipe, however, be sure to rinse and drain the beans and corn before adding to the bowl.
  2. Next, add diced plum tomatoes, diced jalapeño (peppers seeds are optional), diced celery, diced red onion, diced cucumber, and fresh cilantro to the bowl.
  3. In a small bowl combine apple cider vinegar, olive oil, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Add the mixture to the large bowl and toss the ingredients to combine.
  5. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving with tortilla chips.
  6. Enjoy.
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© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2017- 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material or photos without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. You may not copy and paste recipes to share on Social Platforms.


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