Redneck caviar is a sharing dish created in the south of the US. The dish is a common sight at potlucks and barbecues across the great states, north to south.
The dish is enjoyed for how easy and cheap it can be to make, its name being a sarcastic nod to the much more expensive dish of caviar, but redneck caviar is very different from actual caviar.
While caviar is salt-cured roe, also enjoyed specifically in the south, redneck caviar often has no meat involved. Redneck caviar is mainly a combination of beans, grains and some vegetables.
The name is both a dose of southern sarcasm but also refers to how the grains and beans are often a very similar shape and size to caviar.
The redneck element comes from the ingredients which are your common barbecue, cajun, or creole flavors.
The dish has many different names, redneck caviar, cowboy caviar, shrapnel salad, as well as the many different regional variations that claim it their own.
The great thing about redneck caviar is that you can customize it how you want and the dish, which doesn’t really have an official recipe, will change depending on what region you are in and the preferences of your host’s recipe.
You can change the dish how you want and can be made super healthy with extra beans and grains, or can go the other way by adding loads of cheese and cream. This is a choose-your-own-adventure salad.
Let’s explore some variations of this recipe together. Who knows, this dish could be the showstopper at the next barbecue or potluck you attend!
This recipe is a pretty common or standard redneck caviar you would find in the southern US.
The great thing about redneck caviar is that there isn’t an original recipe, it’s more a type of dish, just like how there isn’t a dead-on recipe for salads.
This particular recipe is full of beans, corn, olives, veg, and herbs. The addition of Italian Dressing over something like mayonnaise or salad dressing is a super clever decision.
This means if you are taking it out to a summer eating occasion you don’t need to worry about the stuff cooking in the back of your truck – practical and tasty!
This dish takes a slightly different approach to ingredients by including some more south of the border ingredients such as jalapenos and avocado.
The recipe does stay true to its southern roots by including the White Acre Pea which is an ingredient that is brimming in the farmers markets across the southern US.
They are a pleasant change to black eyed peas which people can get sick of in the south.
This is a recipe that represents the Ozarks, it utilizes lots of local beans like purple hull pea and crowder peas which are ripe in the area during the summer.
Plenty of peppers, including both red, green and pimento, guarantees a flavor that is local and suits the dish well. The peppers also serve to add much more color to the dish.
We all know southern food is supposed to be spicy. This dish takes on that tradition by including lots of green chilies and red peppers to give the dish a spicy kick which takes it a little closer to the border of Mexico.
Again, Italian dressing is the lubricant of choice which saves many smelly situations in your car and potential food hazards at the barbecue.
Pimento cheese is loved across the southern states for obvious reasons, but this dish takes redneck caviar to a new cheesy level. Beware to bring this freshly refrigerated, as the cheese and mayo will spoil quickly in the sun.
This is a proper creole dish, including the holy trinity of celery, onions and celery.
The addition of the melted cheese and mayo makes the dish moreish and is perfect for different vessels than the tortilla. You can even put this on a sandwich or stuff peppers with it – so versatile!
This recipe does a Tennessee take on the original by swapping out the Italian dressing with Picante sauce. This is a great choice if you aren’t a fan of Italian dressing. Leave for a day in the fridge and the flavors will be much deeper.
The whole affair is much more tomato flavored as it has many forms of tomato in it beyond the salsa-like picante sauce. Again makes a lot of sense for a barbecue where this won’t spoil.
This is a fun take that uses cheese, sour cream, and mayo to make a rich, dairy full version that can become more of a meal than a side.
Vidalia onions and cans of Rotel take us back down south with some traditional ingredients loved by all rednecks. This is a great base recipe that you can pimp out with even more veggies and beans if you want to!
This recipe is more like redneck pico de gallo than redneck caviar. The dish utilizes some ingredients from our southern cousins such as avocado and tomato as well as chilies.
The outcome is something similar to pico de gallo, being chopped into larger chunks than usual, but the cilantro and avocado just take us to the heat of Juárez more than Louisiana.
This could be a great variation on your classic recipe to bring to Cinco de Mayo or another Latin festival.
This uses most of the common ingredients you would find in the redneck caviar recipes listed.
Yet, one fun addition is making a special dressing just for the salad. This can make your cowboy caviar stand out from the crowd and seem a little more ‘sophisticated’ than just throwing ingredients together.
A chili lime dressing certainly is borrowed from our friends across the border but adds so much brightness to the dish that it really takes on the ingredients and makes them taste so much better.
This takes the lowly dip into a full, protein rich, meal that might just be the centerpiece of a potluck.
The introduction of chicken adds a whole load of protein and makes the dish much more substantial. For a protein lover this could be the perfect cheat meal, without getting too cheated.
While the recipe suggests using jarred, pre-made, cowboy caviar, we would really recommend making your own to get the most nutrition out of this dish. This would be perfect for a game day dip.
This takes the original recipe and makes a few changes with the help of the buffalo seasoning we all recognize on a game day, but this recipe would be great for any summer occasion.
A great marinade recipe is included which has a sweet buffalo dressing vibe to it. A welcome change to quite an earthy tasting dish.
The dish is turned into a naughty but nice treat that still remains pretty healthy in the long run – perfect with a cold beer!
The addition of a hard and subtle cheese like Feta not only makes this dish a little more Euro-centric but also gives a creamy finish to an earth dish.
Moreover the feta is a perfect accompaniment to cilantro, onions as well as sweet corn.
The recipe also includes a helpful dressing that is healthy and, if you enjoy it, is something you can use time and time again on salads and a whole host of other cold dishes.
This dish is a superfood spin that is perfect for nutrition and taste as well as versatility.
Edamame beans are super nutritious and in combination with the garbanzo beans creates a welcome change in texture and taste when it comes to beans. You can even add quinoa.
This is a clever variation on the original recipe that is big on nutrition as well as flavor. Who says they have to be separate.
As you can see Cowboy Caviar, Redneck Caviar, or whatever you want to call it, is one dish you should have prepared for any party.
It is filling, easy to make, can be prepared in advance, and the ingredients can easily be swapped out to suit your preferences of cuisine.
Even without an occasion, this dish is a great way to clean out your cupboards without scrimping on nutrition.
You can get all kinds of stuff into this salad and you can also make it taste however you want without losing out on too much nutrition.
If you want a dish with low carbs, that is also meatless, and is both cheap and easy to make – this is the recipe for you.
The recipe is super practical for outdoor gatherings and parties as there is often no dairy involved that could spoil and cause a smell.