Thursday, January 14, 2010

Texas Caviar Pasta Salad

Way back in freshman year of college, I went to visit at my friend Anna's home in Gadsden, Alabama.  Her mother served us an absolutely delicious mixed bean concoction called Texas Caviar, that was to be scooped up and eaten on tortilla chips.  Later, she very kindly shared the recipe with me. 

Over the years, I've made many a batch of Texas Caviar, and it's always been well-received.  More recently, I've tweaked the recipe a bit to create a bean-pasta salad that can stand alone as a main course.  This dinner is super simple to make, fresh-tasting and nutritious, and inexpensive.  But best of all, its ingredients can all be kept in your pantry indefinitely, so it makes a great backup dinner for days when the fridge is empty, but there's no time for the grocery.

Want to know how to make Texas Caviar Pasta Salad?

First, put about half a box of a short-cut pasta (macaroni, penne, pinwheels, spirals, etc.) on to boil.

While the pasta's cooking, open and drain a can of each of these: corn, black-eyed peas, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), black beans, and diced tomatoes with green chilies.  Rinse the black-eyed peas, chickpeas, and black beans to get rid of the gritty packing liquid.

Then dump them all the veggies in a big bowl.  Your pasta's probably about done now.  Drain and rinse it in cold water and add it to the bowl, too.  Now, pour an 8 ounce bottle of Italian dressing (fat free works fine)over the mixture.  You can also add in a squirt or two of lime juice to freshen things up, or throw in some herbs or any fresh veggies you have on hand.  Diced bell peppers are great.  But the beauty of it is, you don't have to add anything.

Then stir it all up, refrigerate it for a few hours if you've got the time, and serve up a big ol' bowl of yummy.  Everybody likes this--even Andrew!

We often have Texas Caviar Salad as a single dish dinner, but it'd also make a nice accompaniment to a good steak or grilled chicken, if vegetarian dinners don't go over well in your household.  Enjoy!


BettieBoyd said...

Kim makes this too, and I think she got it from Kay's family table!

Julie said...

I'm going to make that next week when we have company - thanks for sharing!