Healthy Cowboy Caviar

Healthy Cowboy Caviar

Healthy cowboy caviar is high in fiber and packed with flavor. Perfect scooped with chips for game day or as a side. Get the recipe now.

Note: this post was originally posted September of 2017. Some of the text has been updated but the recipe remains the same.

Healthy cowboy caviar is my go-to appetizer for entertaining

The first time I had cowboy caviar was at a friend’s house for dinner. And after one scoop of it on a whole grain tortilla chip, I was hooked.

It’s now become not only my go-to football watching snack, but it’s also my mom’s go-to recipe anytime she’s asked to bring an appetizer over for a party.

There are three main reasons why I love this healthy cowboy caviar so much:

  • Variety of textures
  • Super sharable
  • Way more nutritious than traditional creamy dips

Plus, it’s gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan (use agave instead of honey), and free of the major allergen. A.K.A. It’s a safe bet to bring to a party.

I also love it as it assures you that there’s at least one healthy option to munch on while rooting for your favorite team.

It’s inexpensive and easy to make

Two other huge benefits: the ingredients are inexpensive to buy and the salad is incredibly simple to make.

The hardest part of the recipe is chopping the vegetables. Other than that, you just need to be able to open cans and measure out ingredients.

What you need

  • Canned beans, I recommend using two different kinds
  • Corn kernels fresh, frozen, or canned
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Jalapeno 
  • Avocado 
  • Italian dressing

You can use store bought or homemade Italian dressing

For the dressing, you can either buy store bought or make your own. In the recipe, I include instructions for a homemade dressing.

To make the dressing you’ll need:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Italian seasoning
  • Honey
  • Black pepper

How to choose a healthy salad dressing

If you don’t feel like making your own, you can also use a store-bought one instead. Here are a few tips for choosing a healthy bottled salad dressing:

  • Avoid fat free dressings as they usually have added sugars and thickeners (and be wary of low-fat options as well)
  • Look for 3 grams of sugar or less per 2 tablespoon serving
  • Choose ones with 200 mg of sodium or less per 2 tablespoon serving
  • Glance at the ingredient list. Ideally it should be pretty short and be free of high-fructose corn syrup

Some brands that I like (and am not an affiliate for) are Primal Kitchen Dreamy Italian, Bolthouse Farm’s Italian Vinaigrette, and Annie’s Tuscany Italian Dressing.

Making healthy cowboy caviar is as simple as chopping, tossing, and refrigerating

Healthy cowboy caviar needs at least 30 minutes to chill in the fridge. But I’ll often make it the night before, adding everything except for the avocado.

Then, just before serving, I’ll give it a good stir and top with diced avocado.

To assemble, start by chopping the cucumber, red pepper, jalapeno, tomato, and avocado. The key is to make everything small enough to fit a bunch of ingredients into one bite – think of it like a corn salsa.

Once you have everything chopped, pour it into a large bowl and add the beans and corn. Pour the dressing over the top and give it a good shake. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

How to serve healthy cowboy caviar

My go-to way to serve cowboy caviar is with tortilla chips. I’ll either make my own, or buy a bag of whole wheat scoops. Trust me, the scooped tortilla chips insure the optimal chip to dip ratio.

You can also use it as a side dish too! In the summer I like to serve it alongside this fiesta chicken recipe.

It’s even better with in-season ingredients

Do you ever feel that no matter how hard you try, your mom’s cooking almost always turns out better?

My mom made this for me and our family one night, and I couldn’t figure out why it was so much better than any other time I’d made it. Finally I broke down and asked what she did differently.

The answer: she used fresh, in-season corn and tomatoes. Such a simple change, but it gave this recipe a crazy amount of flavor.

More healthy appetizers for a crowd

Healthy Cowboy Caviar

This bean and veggie mixture is the perfect healthy, crunchy, crowd-pleasing football food or side dish.
Prep Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Healthy Snack, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 cups
Author: Kelli


  • 2 cans beans I recommend using two different kinds, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels fresh, frozen, or canned
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 1 cucumber diced,
  • 1 jalapeno diced (remove seeds for a less spicy dish)
  • 1 avocado peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Pinch black pepper


  • Combine beans, corn, diced tomato, diced cucumber, and diced jalapeno in a large mixing bowl (preferably one with a lid).
  • In a small bowl or mason jar, whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, honey, and black pepper.
  • Pour prepared dressing over the bean mixture and stir. Cover and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes (can easily prepare this the night before).
  • Before serving, add in diced avocado. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!
Healthy cowboy caviar pinterest image

Add a comment


  • Avatarpatrick@looneyforfood.com4 years ago

    This does look like a crowd pleaser! Perfect for game time.

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast4 years ago

      Thanks Patrick! Hopefully it’s also good luck for this football season 😉

  • kelly jones Avatarkelly jones4 years ago

    Love how you added the cucumber for some crunch! It’s such a versatile veggie

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast4 years ago

      Thanks Kelly! I agree. I always hated cucumber as a kid because it doesn’t have a lot of flavor on it’s own, but ever since getting more into cooking I love how many ways you can incorporate it into dishes!

  • Katie Scanlan AvatarKatie Scanlan4 years ago

    I love the colors in this dish! So appealing for guests!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast4 years ago

      Thanks Katie! It’s definitely an eye-catching appetizer.

  • Ginger AvatarGinger5 years ago

    This would be so perfect to serve at a party!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast5 years ago

      It works great as party food!

  • About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

    About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

    Here you’ll find realistic healthy recipes designed by a registered dietitian with your busy lifestyle in mind.

    Whether you’re a busy professional or new mom, the goal of The Healthy Toast is to provide you with the recipes and nutrition info you need to live your healthiest life, even when life gets crazy. As I’m a firm believer in a whole-foods, non-diet approach, I hope my website shows that good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. 

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