April 17, 2011

Carolina (or Redneck ... or Texas ...) Caviar

Carolina Caviar ... Redneck Caviar ... or Texas Caviar.  Whatever you call it, this simple and healthy dip of finely-chopped vegetables and black-eyed peas is just plain delicious.

This recipe was on my "50 Recipes for 2011" project list. So I was excited when I had the opportunity to make a nibble to bring to a wine-tasting party, and immediately thought of this. It's a simple and healthy dip of finely-chopped vegetables mixed with black-eyed peas. Before now, I had always bought this pre-made at the grocery store, but I was really looking forward to trying my hand at making my own.

I've heard this called various different names, including Carolina Caviar, Texas Caviar, and Redneck Caviar. While I think Redneck Caviar is the most humorous name, since I live in North Carolina I'm going to call it Carolina Caviar. Is that okay?

Start by chopping up some sweet bell pepper ...  I used yellow, but you could use red or orange just as well ... purple onion, and cilantro.

Combine this with canned black-eyed peas, and then toss it with a simple dressing of white wine vinegar and canola oil with some salt, pepper, and a touch of brown sugar.  Looking good so far!

Since I knew I was going to be making  this Carolina Caviar recipe for the first time, I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work and grabbed a small container of my usual-go-to store-bought Carolina Caviar.  I wanted to be able to put my home creation to a head-to-head test!  So I put a little of each on a crostini slice ...

... and took a bite.  (Just one at a time, of course.)

Which do you think won this little battle?

The homemade!

While the store-bought is still good, the homemade blew it away!  So, whatever you decide to call it, this quick, easy, and healthy little snack is well worth the effort to make your own.

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Carolina Caviar
Source:  Adapted from The Neely's, Down Home With the Neely's, as posted by She Wears Many Hats 
(Printable recipe)
Vegetable Mixture:
2 (15 oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 of a sweet bell pepper (yellow, red, or orange), finely chopped
1/2 of a purple onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine black-eyed peas, bell pepper, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together white wine vinegar, oil, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.  Pour dressing mixture over vegetable mixture and toss to coat.  This may be served immediately or refrigerated to serve later.  If refrigerated, it tastes best if you let it come back to room temperature for serving rather than serving chilled.  Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, or baguette slices.

- I think the vegetables included can be adjusted to personal preference.  I may try adding sliced olives and diced fresh tomatoes, which are both included in my former store-bought-go-to version.
- If you don't like cilantro, I would think you could substitute chopped fresh parsley just fine.
- I recommend sticking with the white wine vinegar rather that substituting other vinegar, as white wine vinegar just has a really nice subtle flavor.  With that said, cider vinegar would probably work just fine.



  1. Thanks for linking up your delicious Caviar recipe at our Strut Your Stuff Saturday. It looks yummy! -The Six Sisters

  2. I love this stuff, although always known it as Texas Caviar. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Homemade is always better!!! I used lime juice and pepper in mine, no vinegar or oil. There are so many variations ans it's absolutely delicious!

  4. Visiting from Flamingo Toes.
    Love this, thank you for sharing. I live in Wilmington, NC - - where are you?

    1. Hi, Katy! Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm on the other end of the state in Gastonia ... just west of Charlotte.

  5. This looks delicious! Pinning it now. I'm from Online Blog Con (and a fellow NC blogger).

  6. Yay! I've been looking for a recipe like the one at Lowes foods in Charlotte (used to live there) Will try!! Thanks!!


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