What's On the Side: Cowboy Caviar

The day after returning from vacation is just the pits, isn't it? Particularly when said day is a Monday and there's no time to breathe before the work week begins anew. I just returned from a super-rejuvenating trip to Mexico with some of my dearest friends, and I am not quite ready to leave vacation mode behind. Particularly when, for the past five days, the most taxing decision I had to make was choosing which fruity cocktail to order next from the attentive waitstaff at our all-inclusive beach resort.

Our vacation was quite the relaxing affair -- most days were spent lounging on the beach catching rays (or seeking out the shade, as I am wont to do), reading books, gossiping, and catching up on our daily lives. I love that, even though we only see each other about once a year, we always pick right up where we left off without skipping a beat.

As is our typical modus operandi, much of our time was spent eating and drinking (in part fueled in this case by our resort's endless access to food and drinks). I made it my daily goal to eat guacamole and fresh salsa with every meal, and I think I nearly did so. Now that I've returned to the Northwoods, I'm not quite ready to let all those fresh Mexican flavors go. Luckily, I recently made a batch of the amusingly-named cowboy caviar, and it features all the flavors I've been indulging in over the past few days. My favorite way to prepare it is to add in some cubed avocado just before serving. Pile this flavorful "caviar" on a tortilla chip, and I'm back on my way to vacationland. This time, thankfully, without all that sand in my shorts.

Cowboy Caviar (printer-friendly version)
makes about 6-8 servings

For the corn and bean mixture:
1 15-ounce can no-salt-added yellow and white corn, drained
1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 heaping cup chopped fresh cilantro
5 green onions, sliced (white and green parts)
1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced, seeds removed
1 or 2 avocados, cubed 

For the dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1. In a large bowl, stir together the corn, black beans, chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and diced cherry tomatoes.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and stir to combine.
3. Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving to allow the flavors time to meld together. Stir in the cubed avocado just before serving.
4. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

(adapted from this Braised Anatomy recipe)


  1. Yes. Those "pick up where you left off" friends are true friends for life. Welcome home. GREG

  2. This looks awesome! Right up my alley for a beginner's blend of "totally fresh" and "less processed."

  3. Yes, I've totally made this before!! And the boyfriend, who hates vegetables, also really liked it. We were both shocked...

    So good to see you friend! And can't wait for Croatia 2015! :)


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