Cowboy Caviar aka Black Bean Salsa

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There is really nothing better in the world than a homegrown tomato eaten right off the vine. Tomatoes from the grocery store and especially tomatoes from the grocery store in winter are just disappointment in a red wrapper. But fresh, ripe tomatoes are joy in a red wrapper!

I usually plant about 12 too many tomato plants. Which means I have a lot of tomatoes to consume, which isn’t a problem. I like the challenge. This year, however, I have actively avoided my weeds. So my weeds are taller than my tomatoes and I have harvested about 3 cherry tomatoes.

Lucky for me, I have lots of friendly neighbors who are willing to share.

At the beginning of the summer, Shawna called me and told me her neighbor had made the yummiest thing ever. She explained what it was: tomatoes, black beans, corn and avocado filled salsa. I knew this concoction well. It is one of my favorite summer time treats.

Cowboy Caviar

I don’t know why it is called cowboy caviar, but that is what I learned it as. I can totally understand calling it black bean salsa. I’ve had several variations with black eyed beans and black beans. With lime juice or with vinegar. With green onions or with red onions. And I have liked every version I have met.

The most important part is to use ripe, seasonal tomatoes. Hopefully homegrown (maybe you have a neighbor who can help you out.) It is fun to use fresh corn, if you have the time, but if not, canned corn works well also.

I think it is helpful if you salt the tomatoes and avocado before they are added to the rest of the ingredients. Then you can taste them and see how they taste before you add them to the rest of the ingredients. Then when it is all mixed, you will not need to add much salt. Don’t use an additional 1 teaspoon of salt, but use some of the 1 teaspoon to sprinkle over the ingredients before you mix them together. Then add the rest, if you need it, or more, once it is all mixed together.

We eat this with tortilla chips. And I take this stuff to lots of parties and pot lucks in the summer.

Black Bean Salsa

Cowboy Caviar aka Black Bean Salsa

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: about 6 cups

Cowboy Caviar aka Black Bean Salsa


  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed and drained again
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes, seeded
  • 1 ripe avocado chopped
  • 1 can corn or about 1 cup fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced
  • 2 limes juiced, approximately 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste


  1. Mix together black beans, tomatoes, corn and red onion. Add lime juice and salt. Carefully fold in avocados.
  2. Taste and add more salt if needed.


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