Pico de Gallo – Mexican Chunky Salsa Recipe

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Learn how to make your own fresh pico de gallo, an authentic Mexican chunky salsa recipe that adds tons of flavor to your at-home dishes. This quick and simple recipe goes together fast and can be enjoyed alone with tortilla chips as a crowd-pleasing appetizer.

Pico de gallo in a bowl on the dinner table

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What is Pico de Gallo?

Pico de gallo is different than “restaurant style” Mexican salsa in that it’s left chunky instead of blended. Salsa has more liquid, while pico de gallo is almost all chopped veggies. Pico de gallo is a “salsa fresca”, best eaten freshly made. It’s still fine to eat after a day or two in the fridge (if it lasts that long!). You might find that some of the liquid is released from the vegetables and pools at the bottom of the bowl. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pico de gallo before putting on your food and avoid getting too much liquid.

Spoonful of chunky salsa

Mexican Chunky Salsa Recipe

When I told my husband that I was going to add his pico de gallo recipe as a blog post, he was surprised. Then I reminded him that not everyone grew up with a Mexican great-grandmother, serving up beans and tortillas as an after-school snack! Everyone needs a recipe like this for Cinco de Mayo, Mexican dishes or just adding spice to everyday foods like scrambled eggs.

While most of us LOVE Mexican food, not everyone knows how to make it. So while preparing this chunky salsa is easy, it’s awesome to have the recipe on hand each time you make a Mexican dish. Pico de gallo adds a fresh flavor to meals or even just served simply with tortilla chips! We seriously make it once (sometimes twice) a week!

Mexican chunky salsa recipe showing pico de gallo in a bowl

Tips for Making Pico de Gallo

Using fresh veggies is the key to a bright and flavorful chunky salsa (no coincidence that the ingredients are the color of the Mexican flag!). The ingredients stand alone in the bowl and are not blended like typical salsa. Choose colorful vegetables that are fresh and prepare this salsa within a few hours of eating. Fortunately this chunky Mexican salsa only takes a few minutes to put together and you only need a few ingredients.

Boy holding plate with quesadillas and salsa

Getting the balance of fresh vegetables to peppers will help control the heat. My husband uses both jalapeno and Serrano peppers in this Mexican chunky salsa recipe. He says that the serrano offers a bite, similar to citrus fruit while the jalapeno adds traditional spicy heat. 

Plate of fish tacos with pico de gallo

And while my husband does remove the inner pith from the chilies, don’t be too concerned about getting every single seed out. A few seeds do add to the heat but they also add a great flavor. 


How Long Does Pico de Gallo Take to Make?

If you can chop veggies quickly, you’ll be done making this Mexican chunky salsa recipe in about 10 minutes. These steps will help you process the vegetables.

  • Rinse tomatoes and peppers and lay them on a clean towel to dry.
  • To clean cilantro, fill the bowl of a Salad Spinner with cool water and add the cilantro bundle. Swish the cilantro in the water to loosen any dirt, then drain. Add cilantro to spinner basket and spin to release extra liquid. Lay on a clean towel to dry.
  • Pull cilantro leaves from the stem and add to a large bowl. This is likely the longest process in making salsa!
  • Chop the rest of the vegetables and add to the bowl. 
  • To maximize the amount of lime juice, roll the lime on the counter before cutting and squeezing.

 

Making It Your Own

A little of this, a little of that. The beauty of this Mexican chunky salsa recipe is that you can amend it to fit your family needs. If your kids don’t like the spice, use less of the chopped chili peppers. Change out the onions to sweet onion, white onion or red onion, depending upon what you have or what you prefer. 

Plate of quesadillas with salsa

When my husband makes the pico de gallo for friends, he does a rough chop on the chili peppers to really bring out the heat! I have to remind him that when we eat this as a family, that he needs to finely chop those peppers. There have been times he’s forgotten and a large piece of pepper took my breath away!

Mexican chunky salsa recipe on top of omelette

What to Eat With Pico de Gallo

If there’s a Mexican food you love, chances are this Mexican chunky salsa recipe is just perfect on top! To give you a few ideas, pico de gallo can be served with these items/dishes:

  • Tortilla chips
  • Avocado cubes
  • Mix it in with guacamole
  • Tacos (we’re partial to using this on Baja-style fish tacos!)
  • Burritos
  • Quesadillas
  • Beans or chili
  • Nachos
  • Enchiladas
  • With scrambled eggs or an omelette
  • Low calorie way to add spice to prepared meals, like these from Dinnerly.

Pico de Gallo - Mexican Chunky Salsa Recipe

Pico de Gallo - Mexican Chunky Salsa Recipe

Pico de gallo, a chunky Mexican salsa to eat with tortilla chips or serve alongside Mexican dishes.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 Roma or Plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (stem, pith and seeds removed), finely chopped
  • 1 Serrano pepper (stem, pith and seeds removed), finely chopped
  • 1 med. Red or Sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 bundle of cilantro, leaves removed from stems, rinsed, dried, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Juice from one lime
  • Cracked black pepper to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to large bowl.
  2. Gently toss to evenly combine.
  3. Eat fresh! Store leftovers up to 3 days inside a covered container in the fridge.

Notes

Refer to original blog post for tips on prepping vegetables

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