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Pico de Gallo – Traditional Mexican Salsa | Share

This chopped tomato, onion, lime, cilantro blend is served fresh as a popular Mexican appetizer and condiment.

If you’ve been to Mexico, then you know the routine when first sitting down in most restaurants.  The waiter takes your drink order then while you are looking over the menu, you are offered some fresh salsa with nacho chips and limes.  This is the perfect appetizer with a cold beer or margarita after a long day in the hot sun.  Most Mexican restaurants make their salsa in house, fresh, daily.  This ubiquitous Mexican specialty is commonly known as Pico de Gallo,  which translates as “rooster’s beak”. The expression is likely a metaphor for those snacking on it by poking nacho chips into a bowl of salsa in a manner that resembles a rooster pecking at a dish of bird seed.    

Gluten Free Chips

For an authentic Mexican touch, serve with homemade corn tortilla chips or your favorite store brand of all corn, traditional style tortilla chips. Since they contain corn flour and not wheat flour, they are gluten-free.

The Puerta Vallarta Condiment

Muertos Beach, Puerta Vallarta, Mexico

During a recent visit to Puerto Vallarta, chef Diego, at the Villamagna, asked if he could do anything to improve my breakfast.  I asked if it would be possible to have some fresh Pico de Gallo to go with my omelet.  He returned from the kitchen a few minutes later with one of the most delicious tomato condiments I’d ever sampled.  He then explained how it was made.  

Pico de Gallo – Traditional Mexican Tomato Salsa

Always served fresh, you can easily adjust the recipe to your desired heat level.
Prep Time10 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 10kcal
Author: Kevin Lamoureux


  • 4-5 plum or Roma tomatoes (chopped in cubes, about 3 cups)
  • ½ white onion (finely chopped, about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium jalapeno or serrano pepper (finely chopped, leave seeds in for spicy, remove for mild)
  • ½ cup cilantro (fresh coriander, finely chopped)
  • 3 tbsp lime juice (1 small lime)
  • ½ tsp sea salt (or to taste)


  • In a mixing bowl, combine the onion, pepper, lime and salt. Allow to marinate as you clean and chop the tomatoes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro
  • Transfer to a serving dish a serve with nacho chips and limes


Serrano peppers are hotter than jalapenos and are typically used in the parts of Mexico where they are grown, especially Jalisco and Nayarit. The trick to a less watery salsa is to use only the meaty flesh of the tomatoes and remove the inner section containing the seeds. To do this, slice the Roma tomatoes in half, lengthwise, then scoop out the runny liquid and seeds from the middle, leaving just the meatier part of the tomato. Lightly press the halves flat, skin side down, on your cutting board, and finely dice them with a sharp chef’s knife.
Leftover Salsa

Pico de Gallo is a fresh-served condiment and is not meant to keep as a preserve. Leftover salsa should be refrigerated promptly, handled safely and used up by the next day. I like to use mine to make Ranchero Eggs for brunch.

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