Pico de Gallo aka Salsa Fresca

BrookeBakes copy.jpgIn Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo literally means beak of rooster. Legend has it that fighting cocks are calmed by their handlers by placing the rooster’s head in their mouth. Yum! 😉 It is said that darkness causes birds to immediately begin the sleep cycle. Often as soon as the handler puts the bird’s head in his mouth he would be pecked on the tongue. In essence, the spices in the salsa gives the same feeling, hence “pico de gallo” is the beak of a fighting rooster biting your tongue!

In realty, many of us prefer this fresh-made, delicious, piquant dip with tortilla chips!


  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ – ¾ cups red or white onion, diced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, chopped fine—include seeds for heat *See Chef’s Notes!
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    Chunky Style


  • For the chunky version, simply stir tomatoes, green bell pepper, garlic, onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, cumin, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • For smoother salsa, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse 7-8 times until desired consistency.

Serve right away or better still let sit for a bit to allow the flavors to mingle.

***Additional Add Ins After the Processor Pulses:

  • Black Beans
  • Roasted Corn
  • Diced Chiles
  • Chopped Tomatillos
  • Roasted Pablano or Hatch Chiles, Chopped
Smoother Salsa Fresca

Chef’s Notes:

Wear rubber gloves when handling and chopping hot peppers. If you forget your gloves and your fingers are on fire, try these solutions:

The burning sensation after cutting chili peppers comes from oils that coat the skin and are tricky to wash off. Simple soap and water doesn’t normally do the trick. Use one of the following to put the fire out immediately! Especially before you touch your eyes!

  1. Dish Soap – If it can cut through oil and grease on our dishes, it can do the same for our hands! Most dish soaps have oil-dissolving properties that are above and beyond regular hand soap.
  2. Rubbing Alcohol – Chili oil is more soluble in alcohol than in water, so a good splash of rubbing alcohol can help wash it away. High-proof liquor like vodka can also work in a pinch. Feel free to take a sip or two (liquor only) if the pain gets too intense 😉
  3. Whole Milk or Yogurt – This one has the scent of urban legend about it, but then again, chili pepper is also more soluble in fats and oils than it is in water, so maybe it would work. Advice on several internet forums say to pour the milk or yogurt into a bowl and soak your hands until the burning sensation stops.




18 Comments Add yours

  1. Antonia says:

    It looks perfect Lana! One of my favorite things in the world! I had no idea of the translation..funny!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Antonia! I’m with you! Few things are as wonderful as fresh salsa! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Osyth says:

    To get The Bean to relax on planes, we cover her bag with a blanket which seems to induce on her sleep cycle. Putting her head in my mouth is not an option!!! I love this recipe – I make a Chilean version taught to me by my husband called Pebre (the salsa not the husband) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahahaha! I’ll respond after I stop laughing!! hahaha! I have a complete visual even though the happy tears are flowing! ♥


  3. Nandini says:

    My kids favorite snacks chips & salsa 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderful! And a very healthy snack for the munchkins! Mama’s taught them right! Thanks, Nandini!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I just LOVE homemade pico de gallo, especially when made from my own homegrown tomatoes and chiles! Lovely recipe, Jodi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kathryn! I’ve seen this recipe made with canned tomatoes, but nothing beats the flavors of homegrown veggies! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally agree!!!


    1. Thank you, Freda! Are there any other add-ins you might suggest? xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. None that I can think of Lana, I make a very basic one too, haven’t experimented with other ingredients 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for the input, Freda! So many wonderful ingredients & so little time! 🙂 xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeahh!!! That’s what I think too 😦


  5. Lana, we had something very close to your beautiful recipe yesterday. Your photographs are lovely and just looking at them, wants one running into the kitchen :). I will enjoy seeing your Blog from now on, because, yes, I follow you now. Carina

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, Carina! Thank you so much! I look forward to following your lovely blog as well! Welcome!


  6. Love this recipe and am growing my own peppers and tomatoes this year. If not successful or too impatient, the farmer’s markets will provide fresh produce and I’ll be trying your recipe!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Fresh produce makes this so much better!


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