Redneck Caviar features all of the colors of the rainbow, and this easy and versatile dish can be served as a dip, salad, salsa, or vegetable side dish.
Depending on where you are from, you might also know this tasty vegetable recipe as Southern Caviar Dip, Carolina Caviar, Hillbilly Caviar, or Cowboy Caviar.
The same recipe also goes by Texas Caviar, Georgia Caviar, and Lower Alabama Caviar Dip. The list goes on and on, and it’s also called Southwest Black Bean Salad, Corn and Black Bean Salad, Black Bean and Corn Salsa, and Black-Eyed Pea Salad.
Talk about healthy; have you ever seen an appetizer with so many delicious veggies in one bowl? Of course, you know me and my love of all things cheese, but honestly, I don’t miss the cheese one bit in this colorful, flavorful, and nutritious dish!
Here’s what’s in it:
The ingredient list is lengthy, but don’t let that deter you. There is no cooking involved with this make-ahead wonder. Instead, you throw everything in a bowl!
- Cooked white acre peas – are the star of this show, and they replace the more traditional canned black-eyed peas.
- Black beans – canned black beans with their earthy mild goodness are an essential part of this recipe. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly and let them drain before adding them.
- Sweet corn – fresh summer sweet corn cut straight off the cob is preferred. If you don’t have that, you can substitute either canned or frozen corn.
- Onion – I use mild sweet Vidalia onions; but, you can use any onion you like, including red, green, or scallions.
- Red, yellow, and green bell peppers -besides incredible color, bell peppers add flavor and a light crispness to this dish. Of course, you can substitute bell peppers in all one color, and it will taste the same, but you won’t have the gorgeous rainbow of colors.
- Fresh tomatoes – if you have fresh tomatoes, by all means, use them. However, drained canned petite diced tomatoes are a great substitute, and I use them all of the time.
- Jalapeno peppers (not pictured) – add color and just a bit of mild heat. If you want to increase the heat, add some or all of the seeds and ribs.
- Avocado – with its buttery deliciousness, avocado is the icing on the cake and adds a smooth, creamy taste. I always add them at the last minute because they start turning brown pretty quickly after being cut. Be sure to coat the pieces with the dressing. It contains lime juice, which will keep them from browning so quickly.
- Cilantro – or parsley are mostly for garnish and their beautiful green color. Both add a fresh, herby flavor. I mostly use parsley, but that’s only because it’s what I usually have in my fridge.
- Dressing (not pictured) – you will need a couple of fresh limes, red wine vinegar, and garlic. You will also need good extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt and pepper. You can substitute Italian dressing in a pinch.
Here’s how to make it:
- Chop the bell peppers, jalapeno, onions, cilantro, or parsley
- Rinse and drain the black beans and any other canned ingredients.
- Add all veggies except the avocado to a large bowl and mix to combine.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake well. Add to the veggies and mix well to combine.
- This dish can be served immediately. But, it is even better if you can let it sit for two to twenty-four hours in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to come together!
- Before serving, add the avocado, taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed, and combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Frequently asked questions:
If you are not from the South, you might be wondering exactly what is redneck or southern caviar? So often referred to as the caviar of the South, the truth is, it’s basically a vegetable appetizer with black-eyed peas as the main ingredient. I mean, how much more southern can you get?
But, with this recipe, I thought I would up the ante just a little, and I substituted fresh white acre peas for the black-eyed peas. Oh, my goodness, this dip is divine with black-eyed peas, but the fresh white acre peas send it to the moon and back! You could also substitute lady peas, zipper peas, purple hull, or field peas, or even leftover succotash, if you have it.
No matter what you call it or how you serve it, this easy southern caviar recipe is bursting with flavor. I often serve it as a dip with Frito Scoops or tortilla chips, but this amazing and versatile dish can also be served as a vegetable side dish, salad, or salsa.
Because it can be served cold or at room temperature, it’s also perfect for tailgating, a game-day party, picnics, and holiday parties. But, of course, it’s great, too, for cookouts or potlucks, or serving anytime you want to impress your family or friends!
Store this dish tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to four days. Leftovers are delicious and even better the next day. Do not freeze.
The Southern vibe in this dish continues with olive oil made in Lakeland, and sweet Vidalia onions from Vidalia, both in Georgia! Of course, you have probably heard of Vidalia onions, but I’ll bet you didn’t know they grew olives in Georgia!
If you wonder how the term caviar came to be in this recipe’s name, it has little to do with its fishy namesake, sturgeon fish roe. Instead, it is just a humorous comparison of the lowly black-eyed pea to the much more expensive delicacy, caviar, which was coined by Helen Corbet, who first served this dish in Texas many years ago.
This recipe is very versatile; even if you miss one or two ingredients, go ahead and make it anyway. The flavors are so complex; it is still delicious. Also, feel free to be very liberal in your substitutions. Of course, fresh is best, but frozen or canned works too!
Feel free to substitute sweet yellow onions, red onions, or chopped green onions for the Vidalias.
No white acre peas, no problem. You can substitute canned or frozen black-eyed or field peas. If using canned, be sure to rinse and drain them first.
You can use either fresh, frozen, or canned corn. But, again, if using canned, be sure to rinse and drain first.
Canned diced tomatoes are a good substitute for fresh tomatoes. Just drain them first; no need to rinse.
Be sure to wait to add the avocado until right before you serve it. The oil and lime juice in the dressing will keep it from turning brown for a day or so. But, after that, well, you know what happens.
I like to serve redneck caviar with sturdy corn chips like Frito Scoops or tortilla chips.
The homemade dressing is quick, easy to make, and delicious, but you can substitute Italian dressing in a pinch.
More appetizer recipes:
If you like appetizers like this, you might also like these easy and delicious recipes: Easy Cheesy Hot Corn Dip, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Easy Chicken Ranch Dip, The Ultimate Relish Tray Guide, and Easy Mardi Gras Hot Muffuletta Dip.
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Redneck Caviar Recipe
- 1 ½ cups cooked fresh white acre peas you can substitute a 15 oz can of drained and rinsed black-eyed peas
- 15 ounces canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ cups fresh tomatoes finely chopped and drained, or a 15 oz can of drained and rinsed petite diced tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels or a 15 oz can of corn drained and rinsed
- ½ cup Vidalia onion finely diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper finely diced
- 1 medium yellow or orange bell pepper finely diced
- 2 jalapenos seeds and ribs removed, finely diced, if you like heat include the seeds and ribs
- ½ cup finely diced cilantro or parsley
- 1 avocado seeded and chopped, *wait to add this until you are ready to serve
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
- Add all dip ingredients except the avocado to a large colander to drain. When the mixture has finished draining, add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix to combine.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake well. Add to the dip and mix well.
- Just before serving, add the avocado, taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed, and combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.
- Store this dish tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to four days. Leftovers are delicious and even better the next day. Do not freeze.
*This recipe was originally posted on August 25, 2017. It was republished on May 17, 2020, with expanded directions and tips.