Cowboy Caviar Couscous Salad

Whether you’re

meal prepping lunch for the week, joining a summer potluck, or just want to enjoy an easy meal, you can’t go wrong with a pasta salad. It can come in so many different forms—there’s the classic Hawaiian-style mac salad, a bright, vinegar-based Italian pasta salad, or even inventive versions using crispy ramen noodles! But this pasta salad draws inspiration from one of Texas’s most iconic dishes: cowboy caviar.

What is cowboy caviar?
Also known as Texas caviar, the dish combines fresh vegetables, beans, and corn to make a colorful meal that can be enjoyed with chips or as a standalone dish. But once you add some pearl couscous? It becomes the star of any picnic or potluck.

The beans:
Our recipe uses canned black beans, but you’re more than welcome to swap it out for your favorite legume. The best substitutes are smaller and firm enough to withstand the weight of the other ingredients. Navy beans and black-eyed peas would work particularly well in this application—but we’d suggest steering away from soft beans like pinto or cannellini.

The veggies:
We also include plenty of fresh vegetables to add some color and freshness to this couscous salad. This recipe also relies on a pickled component for brightness—namely pickled jalapeños. Most store-bought pickled jalapeños veer on the mild side, so they contribute more acid than they do heat. But if you’re sensitive to spice, feel free to swap out the peppers for another pickled ingredient like onions or cucumbers.

Our favorite part of this salad, though, is the fact that it tastes better over time. It’s perfect for meal-prep or as a make-ahead side dish. Just store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days before serving.

Did you try making this? Let us know how it went in the comments!