Cowboy Caviar Salad With Quinoa

This cowboy caviar salad with quinoa is bursting with colour, flavour and wholesome goodness. It’s my legume-free version of the classic and it’s perfect for summer picnics, BBQs, or just a quick, healthy weeknight meal. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

quinoa salad
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Jump to: ℹ️ Overview | 🛒 Ingredients | 📷 How To Make | 👩‍🍳 Recipe Tips | 🥗 Serving Suggestions | 📝 Full Recipe Card | 🍽 More Similar Recipes To Try

This colourful, plant-based salad is inspired by the Tex-Mix dish known as Texas Caviar or Cowboy Salsa, which is made with black-eyed peas or beans lightly pickled in vinaigrette-style dressing and served with some avocado and herbs. It’s usually eaten as a dip but I decided to turn it into a salad.

I wanted to make a legume-free, grain-free version so I replaced the beans and corn with quinoa for a lighter, easier-to-digest option. It’s a great one-bowl meal full of fibre, protein, and antioxidants, perfect for summer picnics, BBQs, and a quick weeknight meal.

By all means, feel free to add some beans or sweet corn to this salad and create your own version.

  • Texture/Profile: Crisp bell peppers, creamy avocado, and fluffy quinoa.
  • Nutrition: Packed with fibre, protein, and antioxidants.
  • Why Make It: It’s a refreshing, light meal that satisfies without weighing you down.
  • What Makes It Different: A legume-free twist on the classic Texas Caviar, made even healthier with quinoa.

👩‍🍳 If you like this recipe, check out my Mediterranean quinoa salad with roasted veggies or this delightful corn and quinoa salad with cherry tomatoes and feta.

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What You’ll Need

Here is what you’ll need for this cowboy caviar salad with quinoa recipe. Find the full measurements in the recipe card below.

  • Quinoa: Uncooked quinoa, water, and salt.
  • Veggies: Red, green, and yellow bell peppers; celery; avocado.
  • Herbs and Spice: Coriander leaves and pickled jalapeños.
  • Dressing: Onion, garlic, coriander seed powder, cumin powder, lime juice, honey (or maple syrup), olive oil, and salt.

How To Make Cowboy Caviar Salad With Quinoa

Find the full recipe and nutritional information below. Here are some handy step-by-step photos.

  • Cook quinoa with water and salt. Simmer for 15 minutes, then let it sit covered for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let it cool.
sieve quinoa in cowboy caviar salad
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  • Dice all veggies into small cubes. Keep the size of the cubes quite similar but the onion can be extra small.
cowboy caviar vegetables
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  • Whisk together the dressing ingredients.
cowboy caviar with quinoa dressing
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  • Mix quinoa with diced veggies and dressing in a large bowl.
  • Toss everything together and serve.

Recipe Tips

  • Variations: Add a can of black beans or sweet corn for extra texture and flavour if you like. For a grain-free option, use pan-fried cauliflower rice instead of quinoa.
  • Protein Boost: Toss in some diced cooked chicken, ham, or turkey.
  • Storage Tips: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The flavours will meld beautifully!
texas caviar
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Serving Suggestions

Serve this salad as a side dish at your next BBQ, or enjoy it as a light main dish with some crusty bread on the side.

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Cowboy Caviar Salad With Quinoa feature
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Cowboy Caviar Salad With Quinoa

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 4 servings
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American, CuisineTex Mex
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No ratings yet
Calories: 411kcal
Looking for a vibrant, nutritious salad that screams summer? This cowboy caviar salad with quinoa is your new go-to for picnics, BBQs, and easy weeknight dinners.


For quinoa

  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa mixed colour or white
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For salad

  • 1 red bell pepper diced into small cubes
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced into small cubes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced into small cubes
  • 1 celery stick diced into small cubes
  • 1 cup coriander leaves chopped roughly
  • 5 pickled jalapeño slices red or green, diced
  • 1 avocado diced into small cubes

For the dressing

  • 1/2 small onion white or red, diced finely
  • 1 garlic clove grated
  • 1 tsp coriander seed powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder optional
  • 1 lime juiced (I often use 1.5 limes depending on size/juiciness)
  • 1 tbsp honey use maple syrup for the vegan version
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Add 1 cup of quinoa and 1.75 cups of water to a medium pot and season with salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 more minutes. Fluff with a fork. Allow to cool.
  • Prepare salad ingredients. Dice vegetables into similar-sized cubes, not too big.
  • Whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
  • Combine salad ingredients with the quinoa in a large mixing bowl and pour in the dressing. Toss through and serve.


  • Storage Tips: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The flavours will meld beautifully!
  • Feel free to add a can of black beans, strained and rinsed. Sweet corn is another great addition here but I left it out as I wanted to make a legume-free version.
  • For a grain-free version, pan-fry 2 cups of finely diced cauliflower rice in a little olive oil for about 2 minutes, until just tender. Cool and toss through with the salad. You can add a handful of finely chopped nuts and seeds for extra crunch and protein.
  • Add some diced cooked chicken, ham, or turkey if you’re not using quinoa or would like more protein.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 411kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Sodium: 913mg | Potassium: 750mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1730IU | Vitamin C: 119mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 3mg
Keywords: cowboy caviar, Cowboy Caviar Salad, Quinoa Salad, Summer, texas caviar
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookedandloved or tag #cookedandloved

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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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