Cowpea cultivars differing in salt tolerance reveal differences in protein profiles and adopt different strategies to overcome salt stress. Salt-tolerant cultivar shows induction of proteins related to photosynthesis and energy metabolism. Salinity is a major abiotic stress affecting plant cultivation and productivity. The objective of this study was to examine differential proteomic responses to salt stress in leaves of the cowpea cultivars Pitiúba (salt tolerant) and TVu 2331 (salt sensitive). Plants of both cultivars were subjected to salt stress (75 mM NaCl) followed by a recovery period of 5 days. Proteins extracted from leaves of both cultivars were analyzed by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) under salt stress and after recovery. In total, 22 proteins differentially regulated by both salt and recovery were identified by LC-ESI-MS/MS. Our current proteome data revealed that cowpea cultivars adopted different strategies to overcome salt stress. For the salt-tolerant cultivar (Pitiúba), increase in abundance of proteins involved in photosynthesis and energy metabolism, such as rubisco activase, ribulose-5-phosphate kinase (Ru5PK) (EC 184.108.40.206), glycine decarboxylase (EC 220.127.116.11) and oxygen-evolving enhancer (OEE) protein 2, was observed. However, these vital metabolic processes were more profoundly affected in salt-sensitive cultivar (TVu), as indicated by the down-regulation of OEE protein 1, Mn-stabilizing protein-II, carbonic anhydrase (EC 18.104.22.168) and Rubisco (EC 22.214.171.124), leading to energy reduction and a decline in plant growth. Other proteins differentially regulated in both cultivars corresponded to different physiological responses. Overall, our results provide information that could lead to a better understanding of the molecular basis of salt tolerance and sensitivity in cowpea plants.