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Pico De Gallo Salsa (Fresh Tomato Salsa)

See the Pico de Gallo pack for items to buy in the Market

Pico De Gallo (Chunky Fresh Tomato Salsa)
Prep time
Total time
If you’re comfortable and efficient with a knife, the flavors of Mexico’s quintessential, eponymous salsa (often called pico de gallo on our side of the border) can be on your table at a moment’s notice. But not everyone is a knife wizard, so I devised this version, which utilizes the food processor for the garlic, green chile, cilantro and half the tomatoes. Meaning, that a very good fresh tomato salsa is within everyone’s easy reach. Green onions are the easiest to cut (they are the only onion my daughter likes to chop), but feel free to use white or red onion if that’s what’s available or appealing. At our restaurants, we only make this salsa when our ripe local tomatoes are in season.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2 cups
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • Fresh hot green chiles to taste (I like 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño), stemmed and halved
  • 2 medium-large (about 1 pound total) round red, ripe tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 large green onion, roots and wilted outer leaves removed, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (or vinegar)
  • Salt
  1. Drop the garlic and chile pieces one at a time into a running food processor, letting each get finely chopped before adding the next.
  2. Turn off the processor and remove the lid. Cut one tomato in quarters and add it to food processor, along with the cilantro.
  3. Pulse 4 to 6 times until you have a coarse puree.
  4. Scrape the mixture into a bowl.
  5. Cut the other tomato into ¼-inch pieces and add to the bowl along with the green onion.
  6. Taste and season with lime juice (or vinegar) and salt, usually a generous ½ teaspoon.
  7. This salsa is best if eaten within an hour or two, but it will keep for a number of hours in the refrigerator.
Riffs on Salsa Mexicana: Chopped raw tomatillos can replace some of the chopped tomato. Cilantro can be replaced or augmented by pungent herbs like Mexican pipicha, pápalo or hoja santa, or saw-tooth cilantro (aka raurau in Asian markets). Any of the lemony or anisey herbs, from lemon verbena and lemon/lime basil to lemon balm and anise hyssop give the salsa a special character. I love the addition of avocado, cucumber and jícama—but not necessarily all at once. The same goes for crisp apple or pear or ripe mango, peach or nectarine.

Recipe from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless