Fresh Tomato Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

Pico de Gallo (Peek-o Day Gallow) translates to “beak of rooster”. Not a particularly appetizing name, but this tasty fresh tomato sauce is synonymous with Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. It is also called salsa fresca, salsa cruda, and salsa mexicana. It is traditionally made from chopped tomato, onion, serrano chili pepper, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. So what’s with the name? As one might suspect, the stories abound.

Some say pico de gallo got its name because people originally ate it by pinching pieces between their thumb and forefinger. Some say the name might refer to the bird feed-like texture and appearance of the finely chopped vegetables. Many native residents of the Sonoran Mexico region explain that the salsa is thus named because the serrano pepper resembles a rooster’s beak.

In Mexico, it is often called salsa mexicana (Mexican sauce) because, rumor has it, the colors of the red tomato, white onion, green chili and cilantro are reminiscent of the colors of the Mexican flag. This theory also has it sometimes called salsa bandera (flag sauce).

Pico de Gallo – Fresh Tomato Salsa

This irresistible combination of fresh tomato, hot peppers, onion, and garlic in lime juice is the Mexican equivalent of the American's salt and pepper, found on every table. It's a perfect dip, along with guacamole, for crunchy corn chips.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Antijitos, Condiment, Dip, Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican, Norteno Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Sweating tomatoes: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Colander


  • lb Ripe tomatoes, ¼-inch diced
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ large White onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium Serrano or jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed if milder salsa desired. Finely chopped.
  • ½ cup Cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ Lime, juiced


  • Place colander in sink and add diced tomatoes seasoned with 1 tsp salt. Toss to combine and leave for 10 minutes..
  • In a serving bowl, mix drained tomatoes, onion, chilis, and cilantro. About 20-30 minutes before serving, add in a pinch of salt, lime juice and 1 tbsp water.


Calories: 26kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 293mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 964IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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