Pico de Gallo is a fresh, uncooked condiment used in Mexican cuisine. Unlike other salsas, the components in Pico de Gallo are finely diced and mixed by hand.

The coarse texture gives the bite a subtle crunch and a monstrously strong flavor.

Traditional Flavors are a Great Place to Start

Pico de Gallo is traditionally made with easily cultivated garden vegetables like onions, tomatoes, and chili peppers. Chefs and cooks that want to push the frontiers of Mexican cuisine have incorporated other spices, fruits, and vegetables ranging from garlic to pineapple.

I’ve had versions with apples, nuts, and even cinnamon, but I like a more classic style most of the time. Here’s a great starting point.

  • 1 medium vine-ripened tomato, chopped
  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, finely minced
  • The tops from ¼ bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • The juice from 1 lime

Combine all the chopped ingredients and squeeze the lime juice over them. Stir all the ingredients together to evenly distribute the flavors.

Place it in a sealable container and refrigerate for up to three days; however, it is best served within 24 hours.

Variations are Easy Compliments to Other Cuisines

My favorite Mexican and American foods to use on our fajitas are soft tacos and grilled steaks. Pico de Gallo goes well with your favorite Mexican recipes or any other food that would benefit from the fresh garden flavors.

One of my favorite variations is the substitution of pineapple in place of the tomato. Along with a few more minor adjustments makes a tangy Pineapple Pico.

  • 15 oz can of pineapple slices, chopped
  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Pineapple Pico goes well with a variety of fish recipes, including Cayenne and Rosemary fried fish, fish tacos, and pan-seared salmon.

This tangy, spicy Pico variant complements mildly seasoned chicken meals.

Another favorite is a simple garlic variation that consists of substituting pressed garlic for the cilantro and omitting the lime.

  • 1 medium vine-ripened tomato, chopped
  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, finely minced
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic pressed (according to your taste)

I absolutely love this Garlic Pico with grilled steaks whenever I’m in the mood for a kick. If you’re looking for a topping on hot dogs, this will make them a completely new experience; careful. You may never go back to mustard and relish.

As a healthy snack, a small bowl of Pico de Gallo and a few crunchy corn tortilla chips is hard to beat. As a side to some of your favorite dishes, it’s sure to add a zesty, robust compliment.