How To Cook The Best Pico De Gallo

Pico de Gallo is commonly used and present in Mexican Cuisine. This dish is well-known in different names. Some of these include Salsa Fresca, Salsa Mexicana or Salsa Bandera, and Salsa Cruda. 

It has less liquid than other salsas, and because of that, it can be used as the main ingredient in dishes. It is exceptional with almost everything. If this is one of your favorite side dishes, you can always make one and complement it with everything. It can be a haven for some.  It can be served as a side dish and a main dish and is considered one of the most favorite dishes in Mexican Cuisine. The dish’s capabilities are endless and the recipes are boundless. 

(Photo Credits To: Home Made Interest)

We may sound biased about the taste of this dish, but it is undeniably impeccable. The fact that it is healthy and delicious simultaneously made us want to consume this every single day. Once you’ve tasted it, you’ll never know when you’ll be having a break with this dish. The simplicity of this dish will make you appreciate it more than ever. Whatever that you have in your refrigerator, just search for some kind of recipes on the internet and maybe other cooks have already tried that variety. This dish is a go-to food. 

There are many variations of this dish, but we all know that classic ones are always the easiest yet satisfying to learn. Good tomatoes matter. It may be hard for some to eat this kind of fruit, but your dish will surely stand out if you use fresh tomatoes! 

Tomatoes, together with the zucchini and watermelons, are all summer fruits. Despite being loaded with nutrients and substance, we want to make use of this summer fruit and enjoy its freshness while it lasts. We surely don’t want to waste our grown tomatoes that is why being this dish’ secret is a blessing in disguise. You can put some cilantros in the end for your dish to not look boring.Put lime, too! Cilantros and lime can save your dish, eh? You can also search for a lot of new recipes after reading this blog. We will surely give more learnings to you before you leave, especially to different variations of this dish 

Now that you know the secret of making it tastier and irresistible, we can now delve more into the beauty of this easy dish. 


What is Pico De Gallo?

(Photo Credits To: Gimme Some Oven)

Pico De Gallo is easy to make. The most basic and great recipe includes only five ingredients. Don’t forget about the salt! It will be your 6th ingredient. More recipes on the internet will spice it up, but it is already simple with accessible ingredients. Ripe red tomatoes, cilantro, white onion, lime, and salt, that’s it! If simple ingredients made this dish super boring to your taste, many recipes require more ingredients. It includes tomatillos, avocados, orange, jicama, cucumber, papaya, a squeeze of lime juice, or mild chilis. Some regions in Mexico put some of these variations to suit their palette.

With this being in mind, if you have other preferences, you can explore and discover what is the perfect taste that suits you. Try out different recipes out there! On the side, you can put more tomatoes if you like it sweeter, or twist it up with more jalapenos when the spicy kick is still not enough for you. Some of us have tried putting peaches as well. Besides, think about your favorite fruits. You may try to add it to the recipes and be surprised that it turned out well. Its fresh uncooked mixture of different fruits and vegetables will never complain if you put something that your tongue always craves. Its chunkiness is visible and is still one of the dishes that comforted people in many ways. 

We bet you’ve also heard salsa recipes when it comes to side dishes, and if you think about it, this dish and salsa are quite the same. You may ask, “what is the difference between them?” They share the same components; the only difference between them is the process of each dish. The dish that we are talking about is less wet. It always uses raw, diced ingredients. It has a beautiful chunky texture as it is chopped finely and thinly. As a result, it adds substance to tacos and more dishes that you may partner with it. It has the authentic taste that you can’t even be guilty about when you eat more of these. 


Variants of Easy and Best Pico de Gallo

Mango Variety: The Perfect and Easy Modification

Mango Pico De Gallo is another variation. Look out for more recipes that have mango, it will surely satisfy your cravings! Many argue that this is the perfect modification out of the best pico de gallo.. We all know that mango always adds the perfect twist in some desserts like graham, milkshake, mango jelly, and many more. If you love mangoes as much as we love it, our national fruit’s unique flavor and taste will level-up this recipe to the highest level. In this matter, the mango adds a sweet-sour tangy taste, which makes it a perfect taco bar fixing. Mangoes are a universally loved type of fruit, so putting mangoes to Pico De Gallo is acceptable to most who love this dish. 

Jicama and Jalapeño Variety: Unique and Refreshing

A lot of chefs love to experiment. They love discovering different variants and love making new recipes of Pico de Gallo that will be loved by many. It is one of their hobbies; trying other and unusual recipes. Now that we’ve mentioned it, the main ingredient in this variant is Jicama! This recipe comes from the state of Jalisco: the land of Tequila and mariachis. However, this variant is a famous accompaniment of fish tacos even though its recipe is from afar state. It merely shows that this different variant is a great alternative, too. This jicama fruit is also full of water within it. That is why it is indeed a favorite by many. Moreover, this fruit is regional and local produce that adds to many reasons to try it when its season comes.This is just one of the many recipes that you can make out of jicama. 

This dish in Mexican cuisine is like apple pie and ice cream. Yes, we will mention it again. It is flexible and can be paired with everything. Nonetheless, this variant is also famous besides the fact that it is only regional produce. Such a perfect dish when the sun is out. 

Habanero or ‘Xnipec’ Variety: Spicy Kick Salsa

The fierce type of this dish is in the town! You may ask, “why fierce?” Here’s the thing, it’s name says it all. Xni Pec or pronounced as “Shnee Pek”, means “Dog’s Nose” or “Dog’s Sweat”. If you have to ask, the spiciness of this dish has nothing to compare with.  This variation is from Yucatan, a southern state in Mexico known for its Gulf of Mexico beaches and Mayan ruins. Woah. We guess each state in Mexico has an entry for their version of this dish. A lot of recipes came from different states, huh?

On the other hand, it contains habanero chili. People out there that have a fascination with spicy things would love this. The taste of it is addictively tasty! However, the heat the packs with it is not for everyone, so be careful when making this. Make sure to make a classic variation that everyone will surely love. 

Nopal Variety: Cactus Salsa Type

Give a different perspective to your traditional Mexican Pico de Gallo. Out of all the recipes that you can find, this is the most strange. This variation is unique and can be perfect with some avocados in it if you want. 

This version includes tender cactus alongside its regular ingredients. Moreover, it also has jack cheese and lemon juice. “Cactus and cheese?”, you may ask. It may be weird to hear, but it is, in fact, eaten in parts of Mexico. Moreover, its appearance is unpleasant in some ways, but it will improve and become pleasant in the eyes and our tongue if you put more effort. Its cool accompaniment is BBQ. It is pretty famous out of all the recipes. It is served for tailgating, parties, poolside, and many more events. 

It is kind of a diet for Mexican people. They do eat this type of plant for their health. Besides, it has been proven that this plant has a lot of nutrients to offer. It lowers cholesterol, helps diabetes, improves digestion, and reduces weight. Not only that, but it is also anti-inflammatory and high in fiber and antioxidants. It is undeniably impressive and full of benefits. It is strange, yes, but if you love trying different kinds of food and recipes, this is a perfect opportunity to get hooked on this type of food. Hmm, we guess a lot of plants can offer a lot. Forget about the cilantros, ditch them with cactus! We’re just kidding. We’re also shocked by this fact. 

Melon Variety: Colorful and Energizing

This variety of this dish can be one of those recipes that can be called ‘Fresca’, it incorporates fruits and vegetables. You can also serve it with grilled pork or roasted chicken. Other than that fact, have you ever heard of this variety? Tomato-filled is a classic variety, a famous one, but no one mentions this dish out of all the recipes? Sometimes, because of its colorful and energizing vibe, some people put ice on it. With all the melons that you can put in this dish, the flavor is a revelation. It hits a perfect balance between many flavors. It is not disgusting at all! From its appearance to its taste, it is just refreshing!

We’ve mentioned melons and watermelons, but what about fresh or roasted peaches, nectarines, plums, melon, watermelon, kiwi, pears, grapes, bananas, mangoes, papayas, corn, jicama, fennel, beans, peas, artichokes, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or eggplants? That’s a lot, huh? It just shows how recipes of this dish are indeed boundless. But melons can give you the comfort that nothing can be compared to, especially when it has ice. It is appreciated by many and eaten exceptionally when it is a sunny season. Juice melons are just perfect for summer. Try to mix and match different fruits and see what will be perfect to your palate’s delight. 

In the second place, this can be with or without tomatoes according to your preference. Either way, its taste is excellent. 

Red Strawberry Variety: Sour Taste

This, too, has a perfect blend and mixture that will shock your taste buds. Fresh fruits are perfect when making this dish. This is kind of unique because you can even serve this on a toasted crostini with a little herbed goat cheese. Sounds tasty, right? It is beyond perfect. It includes diced strawberries, local peppers, cilantros, shallots, parsley, and of course, a touch of honey. You can drool thinking of these elements. It’s a perfect summer appetizer, though.

Cucumber Flavor Variety: Crisp and Watery

Are you looking for a new way to enjoy your cucumbers? Recipes with cucumbers are refreshing! The crispiness and watery characteristics of cucumber gave a new version of this dish. You can ditch the tomatoes if you want. It’s a great vibe of garden flesh flavor with a kick of some heat. It’s a fantastic way to change ingredients and enjoy your cucumbers.


Troubleshooting

When your dish goes wrong, you don’t need to panic. Calm yourself and think of these things when this happens to you. There are a lot of recipes that are waiting to be tried, so, chin up and breathe calmly. 

Why is my pico de gallo too watery?

You have to think first and understand that the ingredients you used contain a lot of water. All the components in different recipes contain water. Every time you put salt to a vegetable or fruit, it lessens its water. Why, though? It draws out water because of the process called osmosis, so don’t you dare ditch salt in making this dish. You might want to avoid putting too much lime and make sure to remove all excess water, but if that would not be possible, chopping more onions and other ingredients and putting them up minus the lime would help lessen the excess water.

Why is my pico de gallo too salty?

On the other hand,

If it turns out to be too salty, put more ingredients and lime to balance the saltiness. It is easy, right? You’ll make your perfect dish in no time. 

Why is my pico de gallo too acidic?

If your dish with seasonal sour fruits turns out to be too acidic, you might want to limit putting in lime. Recipes like these are crucial with acidity. Depending on the fruits or melons’ ripeness, the taste can quickly shift from either too sweet or too sour. Observe and taste your fruits. If they look ripe on the outside, try and taste them while it is still early and before putting them into the mix.  


Trivia for this Easy dish

Pico: A History

Pico de gallo is one of the traditional recipes of all time. It’s such a grace that this dish is still alive and kicking in our generation. Its recipe is still passed from generation to generation. Besides, it is originated from a rich cultural and culinary history in Mexico. Whether you knew this dish all along or it is new for you to try, we all know that this is exceptional. It’s a staple dish from Mexico so don’t miss out this perfect dish and try it for yourself. Furthermore, the name Salsa Mexicana or Salsa Bandera was given because of the red tomato, white onion, and the green chilli and cilantro. In this trivia, we will let you know why. 

Nonetheless, despite being historical and all, the history of pico de gallo is surprisingly an enormous mystery to many, especially for the Mexicans. The thing that we know only is that it is derived from Ancient Aztec Culture. Interesting, huh? It is widely popularized in Mexican cuisine since we don’t know when. A lot of states have different ways of embracing this dish. They are experimenting and discovering many ways to make their dish surprisingly unique. A lot of recipes are invented. In regions like Yucatan and Sonora, they delve in with the dish and are very attached to it. It is no surprise that such a tomato-based dish would be from there. 

Speaking of history, why is it really called pico in the first place? First of all, pico de gallo translates to Rooster’s Beak. Oh, “why is that? Why Rooster’s Beak? what is the connection between them and tomatoes?” It has many differentiations that alter this name around Latin America and Mexico itself. Here’s the thing, it is tagged as rooster’s Beak because they said that it was initially being eaten by pinching pieces between the thumb and forefinger, just like when we are eating chips. Which evidently shows the hand and shape that resembled a rooster picking up a feed with its Beak. Also, the idea that its minced texture has uniform sizes reminded people into seeing chicken fee. It is said that the charms of this dish are just like mimicking the feeling of being pecked on the tongue! Nowadays, we’ve seen people not eating them with their fingers anymore. It is incredible how history happened. 

Yes, it was tagged with many names before it became pico de gallo. After pico, it was referred to as salsa bandera or flag sauce. They commonly tag it as it is because the colorful and refreshing colors you’ll see in this dish are the same colors you’ll see in the Mexican flag. It was cute, though. We honestly think that it is cute if this name remained. The whole world will remember Mexico if they eat this dish. If people are just casually eating it without knowing it is a Mexican dish in the first place, upon learning its name, it will always resonate with the country it is from, Mexico. Then, it also has other translations that we pretty much mentioned earlier. They are fresca which means fresh sauce, cruda which means raw sauce, and picada that means minced sauce. Whatever name you call it, its authenticity will always remain. Despite this dish’s journey, we will still accept it as it is because of its undeniably impressive charms. 

Upon learning pico de gallo’s wonders, do you have this urge to eat it all the time? Don’t be. You’ll become used to it. It’s fantastic when eating occasionally. There are great recipes everywhere; including our recipe. 

Moreover, with the trivias that you learned, here are the characteristics that this dish has.

Versatile.  It is not a secret. It is so amazing. We mentioned a lot of varieties and recipes, and they are all perfect. You’ll be the one who will have a hard time choosing what combination is terrific out of all the recipes in the world. You can put some beans if you want more protein to your body. Suppose you’re still not satisfied with all the nutrients that a lot of varieties can offer.   This dish is so versatile that you can be saved once you master it in no time when you don’t know what appetizer or side dish to prepare. 

Nutritious. Try using pico and guacamole as a topping for some grilled and fried viands, or add it with your eggs for a colorful breakfast. Good way to twist some recipes, huh? Does it sound exciting? We normally ditch breakfast because it is boring. You can even make a sandwich spread out of it! It is loaded as a blood thinner because of the onion it has. If you put some garlic, its anti-inflammatory is high now. Eat and enjoy this dish because do we really need to repeat it? If you’re health-conscious, it is perfect for you. Master all the varieties and recipes, and you will be called master of this dish.


Tips in Cooking Good Pico De Gallo

(Photo Credits To: Gimme Some Oven)

In preparing this dish, it is essential to use the freshest produce to get the experience that we are looking for. Make sure that ingredients are always fresh and washed properly. Dry the ingredients before cutting them off. Sometimes, a little water or components that are not fresh affect the dish’s taste and spoil quickly. Avoid leaving the dish in open-air and put a lid if necessary. Refrigerate it if needed to avoid early spoilage. It’s a brief summary that you should always remember, but to put more thorough tips and tricks, here’s a list to look out for.

  1. Tomatoes – Use Roma tomatoes that have a beautiful red colour, the ones that are ripe yet still firm. It should be aromatic and smell like a tomato. Yes, you need to turn on your smelling skills, too. These types of tomatoes will bring the flavours in your dish. Don’t forget to remove the seeds. Strip their seeds until it loosens up. You don’t want your dish to be watery. This technique also helps your dish to keep longer without, of course, being spoiled and soggy. 
  2. Onion – If you are using sweet onions in almost everything, we suggest you look for this dish as an exception. Use white onion instead. Its flavour is sharper and has the capabilities to balance everything out. 
  3. Jalapeño – Remove seeds if you don’t want more spice. Remain seeds when you like spicy food. Dice evenly! Nothing special with choosing this perfect ingredient that you need. Just pick the peppers that you usually used and you’re nice to go. Its fine chops are more critical. It supposed to be evenly distributed and equal. We all know that it’s hard to achieve. Of course, your hard work will pay off. Every bite is delicious if you follow this step. 
  4. Cilantro – Forget about the stems, what you need are the leaves of the cilantros. Carefully measure them in a measuring cup for even amounts and then, chop them. 
  5. Lime juice – Don’t even try to buy lemon juice in a bottle. Use freshly squeezed lime juice. As we said a while ago, it is essential to use the freshest produce. Don’t risk the savoury flavour that your dish can offer if what you will use are all fresh. Besides, It helps the other ingredients show their freshness as well. Another information to have is when lime is not available for you, you can use apple cider vinegar instead. Just use it moderately and carefully. 
  6. Salt – We know that our ingredients are all fruits, vegetables, and all stuff, but we hope you don’t forget about the salt. We don’t want a bland dish. The salt will perfectly spice up everything. Without this, it is not a good recipe at all. 
  7. Get a uniform dice – Master it, and you will be a master of this dish. 
  8. Chop all the ingredients first except tomatoes and cilantro. While you are dicing them up, let the remaining ingredients sit in a bowl. Marinate them first. This will give your dish flavours time to meld for the perfect flavour.After doing these, you can now focus with the red tomatoes and cilantros. 
  9. Just wait for more time before you adjust the seasonings. Taste first and observe its authentic flavours before you decide to add spices and all. 
  10. Serve at room temperature. If you decide to prepare it first and not eat it right away, make sure to refrigerate it, covered, for up to 3 days. Wait for 30 minutes before serving. It will marinate itself first. Use a serving spoon that is slotted for this dish. This is to make sure that the tomato juice will be on the bottom of the bowl. 

Best Served With 

Pico de Gallo is a very versatile dish. It can be the main ingredient or it can be a side dish. Depending on the variation of the Pico de Gallo that you will prepare, it can be eaten or served with almost anything. You can just treat it just like any other dishes and recipes. 

Tacos and Fajitas

As a bar fixing, it can be eaten with tacos and fajitas. It can be put as a garnish over fried fish. We usually bought tacos with meat and tomatoes, but disregarding beef or pork meat can be life-changing. This healthy dish is terrific that you can eat it while watching movies and such. As a bar fixing, it can be eaten with tacos and fajitas. It can be put as a garnish over fried fish. 

Boiled Eggs 

Hard-boiled eggs are cooked for the whites and yolks to solidify. Eggs have a lot of ways to cook, they also have a lot of recipes to try, but boiled eggs are cool with this dish. It is up to you how much the egg is boiled. It depends on your preference. It can be incorporated with boiled eggs. Some eat it as snacks with a tortilla.

Scrambled Eggs

What is a great food to start your day? Of course, eggs! Say hi to a delicious twist to your regular and boring breakfast scramble recipes. This is also an excellent dish for low-sodium diets.  Wake up your morning plate with this new version of scrambled eggs. Put some pico. It is up to you if you want to mix it up or enjoy it on the side. Into the bargain, it is nice for plating as scrambled eggs are kind of boring to look at. Don’t forget your coffee. It is the perfect food combo for the day!

Beans and Spaghetti 

Many restaurants serve this together with beans and sometimes added even in spaghetti. Recipes that are many to mention. But first, let’s talk about why this is famous in Mexican cuisine. 

Other kinds of pasta are dairy-free and vegan, so if you really want to be healthy, you can be, as long as you do not add the sour cream or feta garnishes that will cause your spaghetti to be not healthy. There are vegan pasta recipes that you can try. You can buy ready-made tostadas from most supermarkets, too. Serve these with pico on the side..

A skillet filled with spaghetti and beans is the kind of fusion that everyone will run to. With some side dishes, it is more attractive. Many love peppers in their plates of pasta! When your pico has this, people who love spicy kicks will get some. Besides, pasta salads are a thing, too! We don’t know if Mexican Pasta Salad was seen before, but we do know that this kind of pasta is a new way to force your kids to eat vegetables, too. Now that you learned many dishes that can be paired with your pico, get ready to learn and share them with everyone, you know. We want to see what you all think! You can also name a variety that you can’t wait to try! Out of all the recipes that we mentioned and offered, what suits you the best? You can put your opinion in a comment box below.  

Fish tacos, Carne Asada tacos, Burritos, Torta 

Any tacos would do. You can partner it with fish tacos, carne asada tacos, burritos, and torta. Recipes that are kind of the same. Name it! It’s just a perfect combination. Fish tacos can be brightened up with some zesty Mango Pico de Gallo and alongside with other tacos. Pico de Gallo is indeed a versatile and tasty dish or side dish.

Grilled Pork and Warm Rice 

As it is famous as one side dish, it can be your salad on your plate and partner it with grilled pork and warm rice. We, Filipinos, love warm rice. Even when we are out of town, we are still looking for warm rice, but it’s kind of boring with grilled pork on the side. We mean, grilled pork is yes, one of the favorites, too. We cannot deny that. Nonetheless, you’ll find yourself looking for a side dish that will lessen the dryness feeling within warm rice and grilled pork. Whether it’s glazed carrots or some kind of soup, come to think of it, pico de gallo is also the perfect choice to partner with this! It will entirely ease the dryness feeling of any fried or grilled dish. 

Grilled Bangus, Tilapia 

As a Filipino, you can also see this dish as a partner of grilled bangus and tilapia. Then, some toyomansi. A lot of grilled recipes are perfect with this dish. 

Quesadillas 

It is perfect with quesadillas, a type of tortillas that are made with flour. We bet this dish you just made will be an ideal combination with any quesadillas, chicken, or pork. Even with kids that are not eating fruits and vegetables, this is a good trick. In these recipes, there is no specific component. Try having delicious chicken and veggie quesadillas with a sense of fresh produce. This is a kind of staple that families want because it forces their children to cook with them. A perfect family bonding that binds by this dish. This healthy meal empowers kids. They can also learn to prepare this the rest of their lives and yes, at an early age since this is easy-cook. If you are a parent, you will not have a hard time bribing your kids to eat veggies since this dish has meat. It helps your kids to cook healthy meals as fast and efficiently as possible without risking their health. red

Baked Potato

Loaded baked potatoes will be unique when you put pico de gallo, nachos, sour cream, refried beans, seasonings, avocado, and a comfortable, creamy cheese sauce as a garnish. You will instantly reinvent the bland and boring baked potatoes into classy ones. 

No matter how much we love baked potatoes, there is always something to spice it up. A well-cooked baked potato has a fluffy interior and a crisp skin. It also has an interesting texture that is slightly different from its sibling dish, mashed potato. It can be served with various condiments that are available for you, fillings you can prepare and of course, a fresh salsa that you just made!

Turkey Burgers

Burgers are heavy to eat. It is already seasoned as it is one of the easiest grill recipes. It is loaded with many ingredients. Recipes like this are loved by people’s stomachs. It can fill them up in no time.

If you are looking for a new way to prepare turkey burgers, here’s a famous yet healthy way to embrace your burger! It is juicy and savoury that will love not just by children but with any age. Make some quick mayonnaise as a dressing for this type of burger. It is seasoned to perfection. These burgers are an excellent high-quality and loaded with a low-fat protein option. The crunchiness of your pico de gallo will perfectly be combined with this type of dish. Adding some pico de gallo will not hurt its taste. It will spice it up more. Say hello to a healthier dinner option! Watch out for the excellent Mexican Cuisine that you will learn. This is just the beginning. We are just kidding. We have a lot of Filipino dishes, so don’t worry. We also make sure that they are healthy, delicious, and straightforward.

The garnish possibilities on this are endless! Bun-less? With pepper jack cheese, pico, avocado, red onion, and sour cream, you can try and dress up a bun with your favourite burger toppings. As long as it is perfect for your taste, it’s lovely! All opinions are, as always, acceptable.



Conclusion

In short, the freshness of Pico de Gallo  is the crucial part. As long as it looks fresh, it’s perfect. Its crispiness and flavours are the most exciting part. They are healthy, that is why it is a favourite of many. We list many variations, yes, but for sure there are still a lot of varieties out there that you can try too. You will find the perfect combination for you, and it will be one of the next favourite dishes that you will always look for. Lastly, even if we’ve listed the perfect complementary food that best serves this dish, you can always try something new. This dish can offer a lot.

For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!

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Best Pico De Gallo Recipe

Course Appetizer
Keyword Vegetable recipes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 1kcal
Cost $5-15

Ingredients

  • 4 pcs Red Tomato big size, diced
  • 1 pc White onion big size, diced
  • 1/2 cup Kinchay sliced finely
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 pc Lemon big size, squeezed
  • 1 pc Green bell pepper small size, diced

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine tomato, onion, Green Bell Pepper and Kinchay. Season salt and Lemon squeeze. Stir until evenly distributed.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Serve with Nacho. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 1kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 291mg | Sugar: 1g
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