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Though I was born and raised in Texas, I’d never actually heard of “Texas Caviar” until 1991 when I moved to New York and discovered The Cowgirl Hall of Fame–a true Southern Fried, Tex-Mex and BBQ food Mecca in the West Village.

I have to admit, when I first saw this dish on the menu, I was in no rush to order it. Back home in Texas, restaurants like The Cowgirl often served a dish called “Rocky Mountain Oysters,” which was actually a platter of batter fried bull testicles….so you can understand why I was a little worried about what might qualify as “caviar.”

Luckily for me, someone else at the table ordered it anyway…and, thankfully, the main ingredient had nothing to do with emasculated farm animals and was, instead, the amazing black-eyed pea!

In the years that followed, I made the Cowgirl Hall of Fame recipe every time I threw a Southern Shin Dig.

But when I started paying attention to what I was cooking and eating, and realized that the 2 cups of salad dressing in the dish were adding more than 1500 extra calories and 160 grams of fat, I decided to wrangle that recipe.

By using the same ingredients, but changing their proportions–bumping up the calorie free vegetables and drastically cutting the oil–this version has only 100 calories a cup instead of 400 and is virtually fat free!

Which means this down-home dish is back on my BBQ buffet, and I’m back in the saddle again—but this time in skinny cowgirl jeans!

As they say in the movies, Yippee-Ki-Yay……!!!


This recipe makes a load, about 12 cups. You can reduce it if you want, but you’ll regret it if you do!!!

(A cooks note: The only thing that’s time consuming in this recipe is the dicing of the peppers. Though the dice is slightly more precise and pretty when done by hand–as you can see from the red pepper here–I often pulse them in the food processor to save time as I’ve done the the yellow and green peppers in this same photo.  You decide what you want to do.)


6 cups cooked black-eyed peas, drained, but juice reserved. (I prefer to cook dried black-eyed peas from scratch with the method I use in this recipe, but you can use canned. I don’t recommend frozen for this recipe as the broth will have little flavor.)

1 large red bell pepper, small dice

1 large green bell pepper, small dice

1 large yellow bell pepper, small dice

1 bunch green onions, chopped

2 fresh jalapenos, minced

2 T fresh garlic, minced

1 T fresh oregano, minced

1/4 c fresh parsley, minced

1/4 c fresh cilantro, minced


1/4 c reserved juice from home cooked or canned peas

3 T red wine vinegar

1 T Worcestershire sauce

1 T olive oil

2 to 3 t Tabasco sauce (If you have normal taste buds, use 2. If you’re from Texas or New Mexico, you’ll want 3!)

1 t salt

1/2 t black pepper

1/2 t ground cumin

Drain (but do not rinse) 6 cups of black eyed peas, reserving the juice, and combine with the bell peppers, green onions, jalapenos, tomato, garlic and herbs in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup reserved bean cooking/can juice with the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, Tabasco, salt, pepper and cumin.

Toss well with the vegetables and let rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Serve as a side salad or with tortilla chips and a bit of fresh avocado as a skinny dip.

Even better the next day.



Texas caviar is a great dish to have in your inventory so you can add filling, fiber rich vegetables and protein to any snack or meal.

Try it on top of a mushroom and onion or soy chorizo Egg Beaters omelet. Using the equivalent of 3 eggs, 1/4 cup non fat cottage cheese melted inside, and a 1/2 cup of Texas Caviar on top, this huge breakfast has less than 200 calories!

Or, bake a 50 calorie corn tortilla for 8 minutes on the rack of a 400 degree oven and top with a couple of tablespoons of mashed avocado, 1/4 cup beans, some salsa and a pinch of 2% cheddar for a 150 calorie snack.

If you’re having it for lunch, go ahead and have two!

And if you don’t have time to crisp the tortilla in the oven, you can always make the soft taco version.. simply heat a tortilla and a piece of Veggie Slices soy cheese in the microwave, add the beans, some greens and tomato and roll! Even with the soy cheese, these are also only 150 calories each.


And anytime, day or night, a hefty cup of Texas Caviar with 5 or 6 tortilla chips makes a filling snack that delivers taste, texture, fiber and protein.

So eat up Cowgirl, your skinny jeans are waiting!!


About Lisa McRee

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! The Skinny is the inside story on how she did it, and how you can, too!
This entry was posted in Fit For Kids, Quickies, Skinny Salads, Skinny Sides and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Suzanne Alexander says:

    Lisa, I am Meralen Tyson’s sister – she recommended your website to me. I am always looking for ‘skinny’ recipes, so I know I will enjoy trying some of yours.

    • Lisa McRee says:

      Hi, Suzanne! So happy to have you join us! If you’re in the South like Maralen, you’ll get a kick out of tomorrow’s post.. My Grandmother was the Original Church Lady… Tomorrow you’ll see her Church Lady Potato Salad.. Born Again!!!

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