While perusing Pinterest for a good Fourth of July potluck recipe, I came across several recipes that got the thumbs down from the boyfriend before I quit asking him. My criteria for the dish I was looking for was a side dish with veggies or fruits that was preferably cold. After drowning in a sea of pasta salad recipes, which I absolutely refuse to make or eat again (Thanks, mom.*), I came across Culinary Hill’s recipe for Cowboy Caviar. Is there anything more American than a dish named after people who worked with their hands and took land away from indigenous people? I don’t think so, my friends.
Drawn in by her colorful photos, I was sold by the descriptions of the dish and the fact that it is recommended that I make it the day before and let it chill overnight. Anything that lets me get more sleep in the morning is golden in my book.
This Cowboy Caviar recipe calls for extra sweet corn, black beans, black eyed peas, roma tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, a red onion, and a handful of other goodness in the way of seasonings. This recipe asks for 1/2 cup of each of the types of bell peppers, but Meggan mentions that if you don’t think you’d use the rest of the peppers for other things, you can just pick one of the colors and use a whole pepper. This was the route I took, but, come to think of it, using half of the peppers and throwing the other half away would also have been an adequate celebration of being American.
Also, boyfriend was unable to find fresh cilantro at our local Ingles (apparently a hot item in small town GA this weekend), so I replaced it with dried cilantro. According to Google, if you do this, use a third as much dry cilantro as you would fresh. For this recipe, I used 1/3 cup.
The first step of making this dish is dicing and seeding the roma tomatoes and bell peppers, and dicing the onion. If you are kitchen deficient like I am and are kind of unsure about removing the seeds of the tomatoes, here is a handy video that I used.
Pro-tip: If dicing onions bothers you as much as it does me (re: crying, blinding, bitching, refusing to to continue cutting, never using onions again), try putting the little devil veggie in the freezer for an hour before you cut it. This freezes the juices and makes it so that less of them are released in the air to torture your delicate senses. You’re welcome.
Next, you whisk together the wet ingredients, sugar, salt, and chili powder, then add the chopped up veggies and beans. Make sure everything is coated with the wet mixture, then cover and chill from an hour and five minutes to overnight. Serve chilled.
This recipe is a delicious alternative to salsa, with lots of healthy fats and carbs. It’s meant to be used with chips, but I’ve been eating it out of a bowl with a spoon, to be honest. It would also be great with grilled meats. It’s cold and fresh, which is just what I want in this oppressively hot Georgia weather.
Culinary Hill’s Cowboy Caviar Recipe
yield: 12 servings
prep time: 15 minutes
chill time: 1 hour 5 minutes
total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 15 oz can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 11 oz can super sweet corn, drained
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (1 bunch) or 1/3 cup dried cilantro
- Dice and seed bell peppers and tomatoes. Dice red onion. Put aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, white wine vinegar, chili powder, and salt.
- Add tomatoes, black-eyed peas, beans, corn, red onion, and bell peppers. Stir to combine.
- Stir in cilantro.
- Cover and chill at least 1 hour or overnight to blend flavors. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
- When my sister and I were in high school, my mom made a gallon (at least) of pasta salad to bring to a family event. When said event was cancelled, mom looked at us and said, “Welp. I’m going to work. I’m going to need y’all to eat this pasta salad so it doesn’t go bad.” We literally ate pasta salad for three meals a day for a week, and when we asked mom why she wasn’t eating more, she said, “Well, I don’t really like eating the same meal that many times in a row.” We’ll never be able to fully enjoy pasta salad again.
Hope y’all had a delicious 4th of July!