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Diabetes Still Isn't Easy
Diabetes Still Isn't Easy

FDI is dedicated to diabetes education, nutritional counseling, and wellness programming.

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Summer Side Dishes: Step Outside the Potato Salad Box

Try this low-carb summer salad at your next meal! On a daily basis I teach people what they should eat, what they should limit, and how important portion sizes are.  After all is said and done, many of my patients ask for recipes. Given that it is summertime, I decided to do a cooking demo featuring healthy summer appetizers. One of the dishes I made is a personal favorite: Texas Caviar. It can be brought to a barbeque, a birthday party, or any holiday gathering.  It’s also a great side dish.  It can even be a snack! Here’s what it’s all about.

Meet the Legumes

This dish contains three different types: pinto beans, black beans, and black eyed peas. I always tell my patients that beans, peas, and lentils are carbohydrates, but they are the better types of carbohydrates because they are rich in protein and fiber, which help to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates. All carbohydrates have an effect on blood sugar, but the carbohydrates that contain protein and fiber don’t affect blood sugar as dramatically compared to refined grains, such as white bread, white rice, and white pasta. 

Tip: when buying canned beans, be sure to rinse the beans in a colander to get rid of excess sodium. 

Add Some Corn 

Corn is a starchy vegetable but it does contain a little bit of fiber.  I love eating food when it’s in season, and there’s no better time to have corn than these late summer months. 

Mix in the Spice 

There are so many different ways to season foods without salt. This recipe calls for jalapeños and chiles.  You can use fresh or canned for this, but fresh jalapeños make it taste even better!  If you’re not into spicy food, only add a small amount or omit them all together.   

Bring on the Veggies

Vegetables add great color, flavor, and texture to any dish. They are also a great source of fiber.  Peppers and onions go well with so many different foods, so they are great to keep on hand.

Dress it up! 

I suggest using heart-healthy oils for cooking. Many times I like olive oil as it provides good flavor. However, if I’m looking for something a tad milder, canola oil is my go-to.  I recommend using canola oil in this recipe as I want the spices to dominate the dish.  A touch of sugar is added to the dressing to bring out the sweetness of the corn and beans. This dish yields several servings so a couple tablespoons of sugar spreads very thin and won’t have a great effect on blood sugar.

I’m sure you are now excited to try this tasty Texas Caviar!  The best part: it’s relatively easy to make and doesn’t require turning on the oven.  Here’s the recipe:


Diane’s Texas Caviar


1 can black beans

1 can pinto beans

2 cans black eyed peas

1 4-oz can of diced green chiles

½ 4-oz can of chopped jalapeños (canned jalapeños are milder than fresh; can omit)

1 can of corn (when fresh is available use one or two ears off the cob)

1 cup finely diced celery

½ cup chopped green pepper

½ cup chopped red pepper

1 small onion, chopped

 Drain and rinse all the beans & combine remaining ingredients.


1/4 cup canola oil

¾ cup cider vinegar

1/3 cup sugar or less


Combine all dressing ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cool for a while and then combine with beans.


This can be made a day in advance and lasts several days.







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About the Author


Lynn is a nutritionist and diabetes educator at the Friedman Diabetes Institute.