Let's Salsa! A Salute to Pico de Gallo

The fresh flavors and simple ingredients of pico de gallo help to make this salsa a summery favorite.

by Teresa Laurenzo

The fresh flavors and simple ingredients of pico de gallo help to make this salsa a summery favorite.


A traditional pico de gallo is a salsa containing simple, fresh ingredients like perfectly ripe diced tomatoes, chopped white, yellow or red onion, cilantro, serrano or jalapeño chiles, salt, and lime juice. Some add a chili powder seasoning, or Tajin. Tomatoes are the base of the salsa, making up at least four times the amount as any of the other ingredients. And it’s healthy, since the fresh ingredients are known to be anti-inflammatory and have a good amount of antioxidants and immune-strengthening properties.


Translated from Spanish, Pico de Gallo means “beak of the rooster.” What does this delicious salsa have to do with roosters? Well, according to some, the salsa was originally eaten with a thumb and forefinger, giving your hand the shape of a rooster beak. Some say pico de gallo was invented by the Aztec culture. But as mysterious as the origins are, there are a multitude of other theories out there.

The salsa can be found under different names like Salsa Fresca (fresh), Salsa Cruda (raw), Salsa Picada (minced), and Salsa Bandera (flag), since the color of ingredients are the same as the Mexican flag.

TOP THIS — How to Use Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo is less saucy than other salsas, making it a stand-out accompaniment. Try mixing some into your favorite guacamole for a flavor boost. Try it as a topper on grilled fish or chicken for instant Tex-Mex. Try making a mollete, a popular Northern Mexican open-face sandwich, which consists of a halved bolillo roll topped with refried beans, melty cheese and pico. Or pile it on top of a crispy tostada, loaded with layers of seasoned black beans, shredded chicken, sliced avocado and crema.

There’s everything to like about this special condiment, plus it’s easy to make, a fan-favorite at parties or anytime, and you can live on it for awhile (I’ve tried — see tostadas, above)!

Ready to try some delicious Pico de Gallo? Look no further than these Cuisine at Home recipes:


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