This Pico de Gallo recipe is a delicious combination of tomatoes, red or white onion, jalapeño, coriander, lime juice and salt. Also known as fresh salsa, this is a dish that originated from the rich cultural and culinary history of Mexico, and has long been considered a Mexican staple.
A History of Pico de Gallo
The history of Pico de Gallo is still mostly a mystery. Much of what we do know is thanks to Spanish-born Bernardino de Sahagún, who was responsible for documenting much of the Aztec culture, including popular foods. It is believed that Pico de Gallo originates from ancient Aztec culture, and has since been widely popularised in Mexican cuisine.
Pico de Gallo translates to ‘beak of rooster’. There are a couple of theories as to where this name stems from. A common explanation is that traditionally Pico de Gallo was eaten with the thumb and forefinger, which made the shape of the hand resemble a beak when eating. Other explanations theorise that the name came from the shape of the Serrano peppers or from the fact that the ingredients in the salsa can be spicy – like a peck on the tongue by a rooster’s beak. Rick Bayless supports the ideas that Pico de Gallo was named because the size of the ingredients closely resemble the shape of bird-feed.
Pico de Gallo itself is known by a few different names, including salsa fresca (fresh salsa), salsa bandera (flag sauce – because the ingredients are the same colours as the Mexican flag), salsa cruda (raw salsa) and salsa picada (minced salsa).
How to Make
Cut the tops off the tomatoes then slice in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp. Don’t dispose of this, you can use the pulp for other meals such as soups, pasta sauce, in veggie meatballs or burgers, and baked goods. You could also use them to create a homemade vegetable stock.
Remove the tops of the jalapeño and slice in half lengthwise. Use the tip of the knife to cut out the seeds and veins.
Remove the coriander leaves from the stems. Don’t dispose of these stems, you use these in other meals such as curries, dips or soups.
Dice the tomato into small pieces and finely chop the onion, coriander and jalapeño. Place all of these chopped ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add the salt and lime juice, and stir carefully until combined.
This salsa can be eaten alone with tortilla chips, or as a topping for any dish, including tacos, burritos and nachos. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Prepping and Storing
This dish is best eaten as fresh as possible, however it will store in the fridge for 2-3 days.
If you are looking for more lunch or dinner ideas, you’ll also love these other lunch and dinner recipes.
If you like this recipe and decide to share it on Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @theplantryco and #theplantryco, I would love to see all your recreations!
Pico de Gallo
- 4 large tomatoes
- 1 white or red onion
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 15 fresh coriander sprigs
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2-1 tsp salt (to taste)
- Deseed the tomatoes: cut the tops off the tomatoes and then slice in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seed and pulp.
- Deseed the jalapeño pepper: remove the top of the chili and then slice in half lengthwise. Cut out the seeds and veins.
- Remove the coriander leaves from the stems.
- Dice the tomatoes, and finely chop the onion, coriander and jalapeño.
- Place into a mixing bowl, add the lime juice and salt. Mix gently until combined.
- Serve fresh.