Pico de Gallo – a wonderfully fresh and healthy chunky salsa loaded with juicy tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and jalapeno for a little kick. With just a handful of ingredients and 10 minutes of your time, you can have the best topping for all of your favorite Mexican food!
What’s Mexican food theme week without Pico de Gallo? Most, if not all, Mexican food always has a good serving of this fresh chunky tomato-based dip or topping to complete the meal. And if you’re like me who loves fresh tomatoes, “a good serving” means a boatload of it sitting atop on nachos, tacos, or Carne Asada.
Since most of us have some bags of tortilla chips to keep us at ease during this stay-at-home life, this then is an absolute must-have. If you haven’t tried it, you’re totally missing a ton!
What is Pico de Gallo?
Pico de Gallo pronounced as PEE/koh theh GAH/yoh, literally means “beak of rooster”. It is named as such because back then it was originally eaten by pinching between the thumb and finger forming sort of a rooster’s beak. However, it has nothing to do with roosters or birds in general.
This fresh Pico de Gallo, also known as “Salsa Fresca” or “Salsa Cruda“, is instead a popular chunky salsa made with tomatoes, onions, fresh cilantro and a simple dressing with lime juice. It’s usually served with Mexican food like nachos, tacos, tortillas, quesadillas, and just about ANYTHING!
Pico de Gallo vs Salsa
Although both share the same basic ingredients, salsa is more like “saucy” and wet.
Moreover, Pico de Gallo uses fresh diced ingredients while salsa uses stewed or roasted tomatoes and its consistency is generally closer to that of a purée.
Nevertheless, both of them make a delicious low-carb flavor booster to any food meal. Heck, you can layer them both on your favorites for double flavor goodness!😉
Pico de Gallo Ingredients
This classic Mexican tomato dip is truly a crowd-pleaser. A little bit of it goes a long way. But if you don’t want the average, go for scoops of it just to satisfy your craving. You don’t need to worry, coz you can easily make another batch using just a handful of ingredients.
- Roma tomatoes – Also known as plum tomatoes, this ingredient gives a distinct tangy freshness (they are less watery and more flavorful especially the ripe ones.) This tutorial should help you navigate your way through a tomato.
- Red Onion – This veggie is great served fresh with its tangy flavor. I personally love it slightly caramelized for a bit of sweetness Check out this easy guide on how to cut onions.
- Jalapeno – This is a type of pepper that packs quite a bit of heat. (adjust depending on your heat tolerance)
- Garlic – Whether you use it fresh, dried, or powdered, this gives your whole dish a mouthwatering aroma
- Cumin – has earthy, pungent, and mildly bitter taste but makes any dish flavorful
- Lime Juice – Extracted from fresh limes. this has comparatively higher sugars and acids than lemon
- Fresh Cilantro – Also known as coriander. the leafy part of the plant is what we know as cilantro. The taste of this ingredient varies from person to person. I suggest trying it out first before adding. (if you can’t stand cilantro, you may replace it with parsley or omit it)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
You know you can’t stop just right there, right? The good thing about this Pico de Gallo recipe is you can add more to it for texture and flavor variation. You can add any of the following to make it an even more fun dip or topping for everybody.
- Bell Pepper
Already made this? I’d love to know your creative variation for this recipe.
How Long Does Pico de Gallo Last?
The trick to a mouthwatering flavorful homemade pico de gallo is letting it rest for 15-20 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to come together. Not serving it immediately? You can store it in the fridge overnight.
Left Overs: Store it in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
Ways to Use Pico de Gallo
- Serve it with Tortilla Chips or Nachos
- Add it to tacos, burritos, or burrito bowls
- Carne Asada or anything grilled or baked meat
- Garnish it on Latin-inspired stews
- Add it to scrambled eggs or baked potatoes
How To Make Pico De Gallo
- Toss main ingredients in a bowl: Add diced tomatoes, onion, diced jalapeno, minced garlic, cumin, and lime juice to a large bowl. Toss.
- Add cilantro and season to taste: Add cilantro, season with salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste. Let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes, for the flavors to come together. Taste and adjust flavors again before serving. Store up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Pico de Gallo
- 1 pound (453.59g) Roma tomatoes , seeded and diced finely (see notes)
- 1 cup (115g) medium red onion , diced finely
- ½ jalapeno , seeded and chopped finely (use 1/3 jalapeno if you don't want it as spicy)
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- ¼ teaspoon (3g) cumin
- ½- 1 lime , juiced
- ½ -1 bunch of cilantro , chopped finely
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add diced tomatoes, onion, diced jalapeno, minced garlic, cumin, and lime juice to a large bowl. Toss.
- Add cilantro, season with salt and pepper. Adjust to seasonings to taste. Let in sit for about 15 to 20 minutes, for the flavors to come together. Taste and adjust flavors again before serving .
- Store up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Tips & Notes:
- Roma tomatoes are meatier and less watery which is why it's perfect for pico de gallo. If you can't find one due to our current situation, feel free to use any kind of fresh tomatoes you have on hand and just seed and dice them finely.
- Make sure to use gloves when seeding and chopping the jalapenos. Poblano peppers also work fine for this recipe. Adjust based on your heat tolerance.
This was first posted on Apr 23, 2020.