Pico de gallo, also referred to as salsa fresca, is a fresh salsa made with diced onion, tomato, jalapeño or serrano pepper, cilantro and lime juice. Pico is very easy to make and is a crowd-pleaser as a delicious fresh and flavorful dip with tortilla chips, in tacos or on top of tostadas and enchiladas.
You may sometimes find this type of fresh salsa on the table at restaurants in Houston instead of pureed or cooked salsas. But, I see pico de gallo most often served with fajitas, along with the lettuce, guacamole and other condiments.
Fresh is best
The beauty of pico de gallo is how fresh it tastes. The freshness of all the individual elements and how they complement each other are key. So, it’s incredibly important to use all fresh ingredients for this recipe. No canned tomatoes or lime juice from a bottle here guys! Not this recipe. I have nothing against them, just save them for a different recipe.
Tortilla chips are the vehicle of choice in this house for devouring this amazing pico de gallo as a dip. It’s a regular appetizer when we have company over or for taking to parties.
For oil-free tortilla chips, you have two easy choices. One: buy baked tostadas (check to make sure they are oil-free) and break them into pieces. Two: make your own! It’s surprisingly easy to make your own healthy fat-free baked tortilla chips and it’s pretty fast, too. You’ll save quite a few calories while you’re at it.
A note about spicy peppers
If you are not accustomed to working with hot peppers, please consider wearing gloves while you dice them. The capsaicin in peppers can actually burn your skin (been there, done that, not fun).
My modus operandi while working with hot peppers:
- wear gloves
- use a separate cutting board and knife just for the jalapeños (or serranos, habaneros etc.)
- once finished cutting peppers, immediately wash the utensils
- throw away the gloves carefully
- wash hands
Some people report that coating their hands with oil before working with spicy peppers helps. If you may have a method that works for you, great! Just wanted to warn the uninitiated, because, well, I care about you. 🙂
Okay, now, chop, chop! In 10 minutes, you could have this fresh pico de gallo salsa sitting on your table.
- 1 1/2 cup fresh tomato, diced
- 1 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed and diced
- 1 jalapeno, deseeded and minced
- Juice of 2 limes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all prepared ingredients in a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Taste with a chip, if you're serving as a dip, so you don't oversalt it. You might have to add a little more lime juice or a little more salt and pepper. If it's too sharp with onion, add another 1/2 cup of diced tomato.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled.
- Will keep in fridge for 2-3 days in a covered container.
- Mix 2 tbsp of pico de gallo with a mashed avocado for a quick guacamole.
- If you have leftover pico de gallo, you can add it into recipes for Mexican rice, a pot of black or pinto beans or tortilla soup for extra flavor.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 77 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 118mg Carbohydrates: 19g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 12g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g