Arizona Cowboy Caviar

I call this Arizona Cowboy Caviar because I’m in Arizona and it’s similar to Texas Caviar made with black eyed peas and the lentils do resemble fish eggs.

big spoonful of lentil caviar with a Sonoran vinaigrette and serrano peppers, red onions
Arizona Lentil Caviar Recipe
Author: Jackie Alpers
I have a long-standing distrust of any food that contains lentils. Lentil soup has always been my go-to answer when asked about my most hated food. I first experienced the suspicious discs floating aimlessly among a few desaturated carrot chunks in the thin, dishwater grey broth served at several of the vegetarian restaurants that surrounded OSU.
So, when my vegetarian husband requested lentil dishes as a part of his brief flirtation with the 4 Hour Body program, I told him the best idea might be for him to find another legume, because I wasn't interested in having anything to do with lentils in any form.
His persistence, or maybe my guilt finally paid off, and one day I returned from Trader Joe's with two packs of vacuum packed steamed lentils. Later that night, after much thought about how I might be able to stomach lentils long enough to even prepare a dish for him, I came up with this recipe. To my surprise, we have both been eating lentils this way ever since.


  • 2 packs of Trader Joe's steamed lentils or 40oz (5 cups) of prepared lentils.
  • 1 fresh Jalapeno or Serrano pepper chopped fine
  • ½ of a red onion chopped
  • cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil optional
  • 2 tablespoons Franks Hot Sauce or equivalent
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or 5 squares of Dorot fresh/frozen cilantro cubes
  • Juice from one large or two medium sized lemons
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  • Mix everything together in a large bowl. Chill for 20 minutes to let the flavors meld and enjoy.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican, Sonoran, Sonoran Style Mexican
Keyword Arizona Lentil caviar recipe, Jackie Alpers, lentil caviar, lentils recipe, mexican recipe, sonoran recipe, sonoran style recipes, Taste of Tucson recipe, Tucson Sonora recipe, vegan mexican recipe
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