Pico De Gallo (Fresh Tomato Salsa)

Pico De Gallo (Fresh Tomato Salsa)

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I love tomatoes. I love fresh tomato salsa.

I love tomato sandwiches. My mother hates tomatoes. Isn’t that weird? So, if she never really ate them, how did I fall in love with this plump, juicy fruit? We didn’t have a garden, but when I went to my friends house, she invited me to pick a tomato and bite right into it. You know what I’m talking about.

It’s funny how at some Mexican restaurants, they will call it “chunky salsa”, or “medium salsa”, when we all know it’s “Pico”! Pico de gallo is fresh tomato salsa (vs. a traditional, mild, blended salsa, or a chile-based salsa).

The rules are simple:

  1. chop some tomatoes and onions into bite-size pieces (so you can get as many pieces on your tortilla chip as possible)
  2. dice some jalapenos or Serrano peppers
  3. obliterate some cilantro leaves
  4. squeeze a lime into the mix
  5. top with salt
  6. mix
  7. taste-test


For less hotness, you should seed the peppers first, and cut them into larger pieces, so you can see them and maneuver your chip around them, if you’re afraid.

If they don’t scare you, leave the seeds in and dice them really small, so the hot juices blend more into your salsa bowl. Or, use Serrano peppers instead of jalapeno. Serrano peppers rank between 5,000 – 15,000 Scoville units, whereas the mild jalapeno ranks between 2 – 5K.

pico de gallo salsa

Some say leave the tomato seeds in, some say to seed the tomatoes. I think it depends on the season of the tomato: if they’re fresh and firm, you can seed the tomatoes, or just seed half of them to reduce the tomato juice that pools at the bottom of your salsa bowl. If they’re extra ripe and juicy, you might opt to leave much of that juice out. You don’t want a sloppy, sloshy salsa, you want it crisp, chunky and fresh.

First, I learned from Ree Drummond, and while I can no longer find her pico de gallo post, I think that her friend seeded the tomatoes but didn’t seed the jalapenos.

But then, my lovely friend bought me the book “Eat Mexico” for my birthday, and I felt empowered – no more trying to copycat the Mexican restaurant when I have an excellent and accurate source for “authentic” Mexican cuisine.

Try this on Taco night with my taco seasoning, or use any leftovers (as if) in a Southwest Veggie Wrap.

Pico De Gallo (Fresh Tomato Salsa)

Authentic Mexican Salsa
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Sauce, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4 cups
Calories: 28kcal
Cost: $8


  • 2 lbs roma tomatoes diced
  • ½ white onion coarsely chopped
  • 10 stems cilantro chopped
  • 3 jalapenos or serrano peppers cut into half-moons, with seeds
  • ½ lime juice
  • salt to taste


  • Put tomatoes, onion, cilantro and chiles in a bowl.
  • Squeeze the juice from ½ a lime into the bowl and mix well. Season with salt to taste.


% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.3g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 26mg1%
Total Carbohydrate 6.2g2%
Dietary Fiber 1.9g7%
Total Sugars 3.8g 
Protein 1.3g 
Vitamin D 0mcg0%
Calcium 16mg1%
Iron 0mg2%
Potassium 318mg7%

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