Cowboy Caviar Pasta Salad is a deliciously cold, refreshing salad loaded with noodles, fresh vegetables, and pepperoni pieces all mixed with Italian vinaigrette. It’s as colorful as it is tasty and is the perfect salad to share at your next potluck or gathering! It is also hearty enough to be a satisfying lunch or light dinner. It’s a variation of my Cowboy Caviar that is perfect for loading up over a pile of chips!
What is Cowboy Caviar?
Cowboy Caviar, also known as Texas Caviar, was said to have been created in the 1940s by Helen Corbitt, who was living in Texas. She was asked to make something with black-eyed peas. Well, since she wasn’t a fan of black-eyed peas, she added other ingredients to help hide the taste of the peas. Thus, we have Cowboy, or Texas, Caviar. It is a delicious dip or topping for baked potatoes, meats (like salmon), and roasted vegetables. By adding pasta, we have cowboy caviar pasta salad!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Pasta: Rotini pasta, shaped like a corkscrew or spiral, has ridges that are perfect for holding onto the dressing in the pasta salad. However, you could use pasta that you have on hand. Or, make your own homemade shaped pasta!
Pepperoni: I added pepperoni for a little bit of protein to the salad. Of course, you could leave it out if preferred. Grilled chicken or cooked chilled shrimp would also be delicious options for added protein.
Vegetables: The vegetables in this salad are common when it comes to cowboy caviar. And, I love the colorful display this salad has with all of the fresh vegetables. This recipe is perfect to make your own and add your favorite vegetables.
Black-Eyed Peas: Black-eyed peas are technically not peas, but beans. They are part of the legume family and are a cream color with a black spot that looks like an eye. Be sure to drain and rinse the beans before adding, just like black beans. If you really don’t want to use black-eyed peas in the dip, you can certainly double up on another favorite vegetable in the mix. Or, use another variety of cooked beans.
Dressing: I added an Italian vinaigrette to the salad. Start with just about a cup; add more as needed. In fact, you could also serve the dressing on the side to let guests use as much or as little as preferred. Homemade Italian Dressing would also be delicious!
How to Store Cowboy Caviar Pasta Salad
Cowboy Caviar Pasta Salad should be stored in an airtight container. It will last in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Cowboy Caviar Pasta Salad
- 1 box (16 ounces) Rotini pasta, cooked al dente according to package instructions, drained and cooled
- 1 cup (138 g) pepperoni, chopped
- 1 container (10 ounces) cherry tomatoes, finely chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped (about ¾ cup)
- 1 can (15.25 ounces) yellow corn, drained
- 1 can (11 ounces) white corn, drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed
- 1 can (15.5 ounces) black-eyed peas, drained, rinsed
- 1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 orange bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 cup (216 g) Italian vinaigrette, plus more to taste
- salt, to taste
- In a very large bowl (the salad makes 18 cups), combine the cooked noodles, pepperoni, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, yellow corn, white corn, black beans, black-eyed peas, jalapeno, red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper.
- Pour up to 1 cup of the Italian vinaigrette over the noodles, pepperoni, and vegetables, starting with less and tasting to see if more is needed. Mix well, adjusting the amount of dressing as needed. Salt to taste.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Did you make this recipe?
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