Cowboy caviar is taking off on social media: here’s how to prepare it
A no-bake bean, corn and veggie salad recipe — or dip, depending on who you ask — has taken over TikTok.
Whether you recently discovered it as cowboy caviar or remember the nostalgic, no-frills dish like Texas caviar, there’s a reason the recipe has made a resurgence.
Some of the simplest dishes have become internet famous thanks to TikTok and its elusive algorithm. (Cough, cough, Emily Mariko, and leftover salmon and rice bowl.) This easy-to-make, customizable cowboy caviar recipe is the latest to serve up millions of searches and views — and thousands of cooks. at home try it. .
To better understand the food trend, let’s go back to where it started. On May 17, Bria Lemirande from Madison, Wisconsin, unboxed her latest Trader Joe “haul” on TikTok and explained that she would be making cowboy caviar. Her next video cutting, dicing, draining and assembling the dip like her mother did, then eating it with tortilla chips, drew 1.7 million views.
The #cowboycaviar hashtag had over 38.5 million views on TikTok, at the time of publication. According to data from Google Trends, the term began to climb on the search engine the week of May 22, with a major peak on June 26 that continues to trend upwards.
Despite the name of the dish, the sturgeon delicacy is nowhere to be found. According to Thrillist, its humble beginnings date back decades, when Helen Corbitt moved from New York to Austin in 1940 and invented the dish, offering a menu using Texas produce.
“I think it’s the color and the freshness and the crunch of all the ingredients mixed together in unexpected ways — [it’s] somewhere between a salad and a salsa,” said FeelGoodFoodie blogger Yumna Jawad, who also hopped on the trend, about what makes this recipe so appealing.
Lemirande jazzed up the original recipe, trying several new versions with the addition of things like cubed fresh mango, peaches or avocado. Each release has continually received more views and likes with over 16 million collectively by the start of June.
“The most asked question I get about cowboy caviar is how do I eat it all?” Lemirande said in one of his videos preparing the dish. “I’m going to catch it, eat it with fries and it’s just edible. I also give a lot to my family and friends.”
“I’ve known the recipe for years and made it in the past, but honestly, I forgot about it,” Jawad said. Adding that after seeing Lemirande share it on TikTok “every time with a new twist and with more eyeballs on the recipe – I finally decided to give it my own twist.”
Other internet food bloggers have jumped on the now-viral trend, from chef and culinary expert Jake Cohen, who shared his Middle Eastern take on the dish below, to other popular creators like Rosalynn Daniels, Eva Amurri and Moreover.
The dish had previously been popularized by celebrity cooks like Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, whose recipe first appeared on Food Network in 2017.
“It’s amazing how recipes that have been around for many years, like this cowboy caviar or even this chia pudding, are being revived on social media these days thanks to the power of short video” , added Jawad. “That’s what I’m here for and I love…trying out the latest viral recipes and tossing some myself.”
She also shared her top tip for anyone wanting to try the trend in their own kitchen: “Chop everything finely. The best way to enjoy a bite of cowboy caviar is to put all the ingredients together on a fry. So, chopping them finely ensures you get a little taste of everything together.”
Varieties of cowboy caviar
With a range of versatile, cheap and easy-to-access ingredients like canned beans and corn, this dish — as many food bloggers note — can be customized to your taste preferences. Not a fan of heat? Omit the jalapeño. Fancy something with a fruity note? Add a little mango. Looking for a heartier version? Add some cooked and cooled pasta.
Here, cookbook author and recipe developer Jake Cohen shares his Middle Eastern version of the viral recipe and Rosalynn Daniels offers her take on the pasta salad.
Middle Eastern Cowboy Caviar Ingredients
2 (15-ounce cans) chickpeas, drained
3 bell peppers, cored and diced
3 ears of corn, shelled and seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of za’atar
1 red onion, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 clove garlic, finely grated
2 lemons, juice
1 tablespoon date syrup
1 teaspoon ground sumac
4 Persian cucumbers, diced
2 beefsteak tomatoes, diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Cilantro or chopped parsley
Preheat the grill. On a sheet pan, toss the chickpeas, peppers, corn, olive oil, za’atar and a strong pinch of salt to combine and spread into an even layer. Toast, turning pan as needed, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool.
In a large bowl, combine the red onion, jalapeño and garlic with the lemon juice, date syrup, sumac and a strong pinch of salt. Let sit for 5 minutes, then toss with the cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, herbs and cooled corn mixture to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, then serve.
Cowboy Caviar Pasta Salad Ingredients
1 pound or 1 box Ditalini pasta (uncooked)
4 bags of frozen corn
1/2 red onion, diced
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño pepper finely diced
8 slices smoked bacon, chopped (optional)
2 cups Queso Fresco cheese
2 large diced avocado
2 cans of black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cucumber diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes (halved) (optional)
1 cup mayonnaise3 freshly squeezed limes1 lime zest1/2 teaspoon ground cumin4 teaspoons smoked paprika3 teaspoons salt1 teaspoon black pepper
Finely prepare all the vegetables and dice them into uniform sizes. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix your sauce and make sure everything is perfectly combined.
Refrigerate for an hour, then serve.
Recipe reproduced with the kind permission of Rosalynn Daniels.