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Texas Caviar Bean Dip

Texas Caviar with black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, red bell pepper, and red onion can be eaten as a dip or as a side salad. Canned beans work really well for this recipe making it super easy to throw together for a party.

Texas Caviar Bean Dip

Black-eyed peas by themselves aren’t one of the most exciting, flavorful foods. But they really come alive in Texas Caviar.

Texas Caviar Bean Dip


A dressing of vinegar, oil, sugar, and garlic powder gives them a pickled flavor. Some cilantro and jalapeno spice them up a little.

Texas Caviar Bean Dip


Texas Caviar

 (That’s my daughter’s black fingernail. I don’t do black nail polish 🙂 )

Texas Caviar

Texas Caviar dates back to the 1940s when Helen Corbitt, a New Yorker who moved to Texas to teach catering and restaurant management at The University of Texas, created it when she was given the task of preparing a meal for a convention made with all Texas products. She transformed the lowly, earthy black-eyed pea into a vibrantly flavorful dish that has been popular for nearly 75 years.

Interestingly, Helen Corbitt did not think much of Texas or its food when she first took a job there and only planned to stay until she made enough money to return to New York.  Years later she told Dallas Times Herald reporter Julia Sweeney that her first reaction to taking a job in Texas was, “Who the hell wants to go to Texas?” She then added, “Only I didn’t say ‘hell’ in those days. I learned to swear in Texas.”

But Texas grew on her (and I’m sure with a personality like hers she grew on Texas!) and she became the head of food services at Neiman Marcus, where her Poppy Seed Dressing became a favorite on the menu. She had a long and accomplished career in the Texas food industry and published multiple cookbooks. I would love to get my hands on one.

Texas Caviar

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Texas Caviar Bean Dip

Texas Caviar Bean Dip

Served chilled, this Texas Caviar Dip with black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, and red bell pepper is wonderful eaten with tortilla chips or on its own.
PREP: 15 minutes
TOTAL: 15 minutes


  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans yellow corn, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  • Combine black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, red bell pepper, red onion, celery, tomatoes, jalapenos, and cilantro in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil.
  • Pour dressing over black-eyed pea mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least several hours.


Calories: 189kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Appetizer

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28 thoughts on “Texas Caviar Bean Dip”

  1. Sharon Turner

    I and several of my friends really don’t like cilantro. Would it still be yummy with out it or is there a good substitute?

  2. David Berenson

    I’ve made this once, loved it and am making it again this weekend for a picnic. I tend to use whatever beans I have on hand, not only the black and black-eyed peas. I think this recipe also calls for slightly different ingredients so it can easily be varied. I like the idea of avocado, and of feta cheese, though I’m dairy-free. Any suggestions for a dairy-free alternative to feta cheese (if such thing is possible?!)

  3. Sheryl Hudson

    This was a huge hit for Memorial weekend, so I am making it again for the 4th! Great pairing to a low country Boil too:) Delish!!!

  4. Christin Daveis

    You have a great name. And finally someone who has it spelled right. LOL
    Anyway my question is: Is the oil or sugar required?

      1. Margaret Dixon

        I use a box of pico de galo in place of the tomatoes, onions & hot peppers. I get rave reviews!!

  5. Cindy @ Pick Fresh Foods

    This dip looks so delicious! I love the combination of beans, peppers, and corn.

  6. Jess @ On Sugar Mountain

    I’ve been looking for new ideas for snacks and things to bring with me to work, and I could easily see myself taking a little bowl of this with some tortilla chips for sure! It’s so colorful and I love that the beans give me a little protein (anything that keeps me full is a friend of mine!). 😀

  7. Jess @ Flying on Jess Fuel

    This looks awesome… I think it would be great as a snack OR a light lunch… yum!

  8. Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen

    The first time I had this dip, the guy who served it called it Shirley’s Texas Caviar Bean Dip, named after his mother. I’m glad I have now found out the true story behind this dip and who created it. Thanks, Christin. It’s a great dip!

  9. Shashi @ runninsrilankan

    I’ve been on a major bean kick – so am digging this dip! Love the beans and crunching red pepper and red onion! YUM!

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      You and me both Shashi! I could add beans to just about anything! Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

  10. Carol at Wild Goose Tea

    It’s a wonderful recipe, but I like the story portion about Helen even better. I loved your post.

      1. JoLynne Jensen

        The University of Dallas has a Helen Corbett visiting professor suite and has all of Helen Corbett’s cookbooks there. Great source to learn more about here! I like to add avocado to this recipe.

  11. Growing up, we had black eyed peas from time to time and I loved them. I never make them, and I have no idea why! This Texas caviar looks SO delicious, and I’d take it over that fancy stuff any day. I could eat this entire bowl! 🙂

  12. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    What a beautiful dip, Christin! I love the pop of colors here. I’m not a huge fan of black-eyed peas, but they do look tasty in this dip. Sounds like a perfect appetizer for a Friday night!

  13. Sarah@WholeandHeavenlyOven

    Holy moly, this dip is gorgeous, girl! I love a good bean dip, especially if it has the word “texas” in it. For some reason, things are just bigger and tastier in the TX! 🙂 Lovin’ all the color you packed inside. Perfect for the weekend!

  14. Arpita@ TheGastronomicBong

    The Texan cavier dip sounds totally amazing!! Amazing recipe. . love how creative and colourful it is.. 🙂

  15. I think I would use it as a salad or even main thing for lunch 🙂 looks colorful and delicious!

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