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The Best Healthy Carolina Caviar Recipe

This healthy Carolina caviar recipe is delicious as a dip with tortillas, as a side dish, or try it on top of a salad with grilled chicken! When made with a low carb sweetener, this recipe is a THM E.

Have you ever heard of Carolina Caviar?

It’s also been called Redneck Caviar.

It’s a marinated mix of beans, corn, onions, celery, and green chiles that you can dip with tortilla chips, Fritos, or veggies.

You can also serve it as a side dish, and it’s perfect for summer potlucks and cookouts because it doesn’t have any mayonnaise or dairy ingredients that might go bad in the heat.

The marinade is sweet and tangy, similar to bread and butter pickles.

Closeup of a bowl filled with Carolina caviar, a dip made with corn, black beans, black-eyed peas, celery, and onions

I first tried Carolina Caviar at a cookout we hosted in our neighborhood soon after getting married.

It was a new community and we lived in a row of townhouses that backed up to another row so we all shared our back yards.

We decided to host a cookout so we could meet all our neighbors and it was so much fun!

Northern Virginia, where we lived at the time, is such a melting pot and is also very transient because so many people live there who work for the government or military.

So our potluck included all kinds of recipes that were new to me!

I can remember a Lebanese rice salad, Indian bhel puri, and Mexican street corn.

They were all so good!

Overhead view of bowl filled with Carolina caviar, a dip made with corn, black beans, black-eyed peas, celery, and onions

But the recipe that I couldn’t stop eating was Carolina Caviar.

I had to get the recipe, and it’s still a favorite over 25 years later!

I’ve made some changes to it that make this THM-friendly as an E recipe with less than 2.5 grams of fat.

It’s so easy to make, transports well, and is both delicious and healthy.

Are you ready to give it a try?

The printable recipe is at the end of this post.

How to Serve a Healthy Bean Salad

One of the reasons I love this healthy bean salad recipe is that it’s so versatile.

For years, I only ate it as a dip with tortilla chips (scoops are the best!) and Fritos.

But when I started eating a more healthy diet in 2016, I began including celery and mini bell peppers as scoopers too.

I particularly like using celery since it’s one of the ingredients in the dip.

One time when I brought this recipe to a cookout, some people scooped some onto their plates to eat as a side dish.

My mind was blown!

I’d never even thought to just eat it with a fork.

It’s really tasty over pulled pork barbecue instead of coleslaw

Plate with romaine lettuce topped with Carolina caviar dip and grilled chicken

When you serve Carolina Caviar as a dip, you drain off the excess marinade/dressing (which reduced the added fat to less than 2.5 grams).

One day I realized that the mixture would be great over a salad since it has dressing already included!

Even with the dressing, this is still a THM E recipe with only 5 grams of fat.

Now, even when I make a batch to take to a party, I always scoop out some extra to stay home with the dressing and enjoy it as part of a healthy lunch.

Just add some grilled chicken on top for extra protein for an easy meal.

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Tips for Making Redneck Caviar

This recipe comes together so quickly!

It’s best if it sits at least four hours so the marinade gets soaked into the beans and veggies, but I’ve also whipped it up and served it immediately.

After years of making it, I have the process down to a science.

Metal mesh colander with canned beans draining in a white sink

Start off by emptying the cans of beans into a mesh strainer or colander.

Have you ever wondered why recipes tell you to drain and rinse canned beans?

Beans are canned in a mixture of water and salt.

While they sit in that mixture, they release starch which is why the liquid looks thick and cloudy.

Rinsing the beans will give them a better flavor because they can sometimes taste a little metallic and salty if you include the liquid they’re packed with.

Rinsing canned beans and corn in a mesh colander in a white sink

I prefer using a mesh strainer because the holes are tinier so pieces of beans and corn won’t slip through the holes.

I add the corn next and let the liquid from the corn start rinsing the beans.

Next, rinse the corn and beans with cold water until the water coming out of the strainer runs clear.

Now, let the beans and corn continue draining while you chop the veggies.

Woman slicing stalks of celery into thin strips on a wood cutting board

Carolina Caviar tastes so good because all the flavors work well together.

It’s important to dice the celery into tiny pieces to ensure each bite includes all the ingredients.

I typically cut each stalk into 3-6 long strips depending on how wide the stalk is.

Each strip is about 1/4-inch wide.

Then bunch the strips together and chop them into tiny cubes.

Woman dicing a red onion on a wood cutting board

Onion can be really overpowering, so I mince the onion into really small pieces.

Did you know that you reduce the chance of tears when chopping an onion if you leave the root intact?

I cut onions in half on a bit of a diagonal to keep the root attached to one of the halves.

Slice the onion half into thin strips, then turn the onion the other way to cut the strips into tiny cubes.

Once the onion is cut, I like to chop those cubes some more to get the onion really fine.

Woman whisking together oil and vinegar in a measuring cup to make a dressing

The dressing is just four ingredients: olive oil, water, apple cider vinegar, and sweetener.

If you eat sugar, you can use sugar to sweeten the dressing.

I like to use either THM Gentle Sweet Blend, Swerve confectioners, or powdered allulose as a low carb sweetener because they dissolve well.

Add the beans, corn, celery, onion, and a can of diced green chiles to a big bowl and pour the dressing over top.

Give it a good stir and then refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Bowl filled with Carolina caviar, a salad made with corn, black beans, black-eyed peas, celery, and onions

Use a mesh strainer to drain the excess liquid before serving as a dip or side dish.

You can save the liquid to use as a tasty salad dressing that’s really good over salads that include fruit!

This bottle is perfect for storing the dressing.

Be sure to leave a star rating and review after you make the recipe!

This helps other people to find and enjoy it too.

Plus it means the world to us!

Bowl filled with Carolina caviar, a salad made with corn, black beans, black-eyed peas, celery, and onions

The Best Healthy Carolina Caviar Recipe

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes

This healthy Carolina caviar recipe is delicious as a dip with tortillas, as a side dish, or try it on top of a salad with grilled chicken! When made with a low carb sweetener, this recipe is a THM E


  • 15 oz. can sweet yello corn, drained & rinsed
  • 15 oz. can black-eyed peas, drained & rinsed
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 1-1/2 cups diced celery
  • 4 oz. can diced green chilies



  1. Use a wire mesh strainer to drain and rinse the beans and corn. Set aside to continue draining while chopping the veggies.
  2. Dice the celery into 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch pieces.
  3. Mince the red onion so the pieces are very tiny.
  4. Whisk together the olive oil, water, apple cider vinegar, and sweetener of choice.
  5. In a large bowl, add the beans, corn, celery, and red onion. Add the can of diced green chiles. Pour the marinade over top and mix well.
  6. For best flavor, refrigerate and marinate for at least four hours.
  7. To serve, use a mesh strainer to drain the excess marinade. You can save the marinade to use as a salad dressing!
  8. Serve with tortilla chips, Fritos, celery, or bell peppers as a dip. Can also be served as a side dish without the dippers.
  9. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to one week.


Nutrition values are based on using Swerve sweetener after draining the marinade.

Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 121Total Fat 2.5gSaturated Fat .2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 0mgSodium 226mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 4gSugar 2gProtein 5g

Please note that we are not medical or nutritional professionals. We include nutrition information for our recipes as a courtesy to our readers. However, due to wide variations in brands, nutrition data is subject to change for every user. Nutrition data is calculated using My Fitness Pal Pro. All sugar alcohols are subtracted from the final carb count. Please refer to our complete Nutritional Disclosure for more details.

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