Fresh Chunky Salsa Recipe: Pico De Gallo Style


Everyone has their own personal preference as to which type of salsa they like best — chunky, smooth, watery, spicy, mild… When it comes to a tomato-based salsa, we prefer a chunky style salsa with medium heat; sort of similar to the “medium” heat salsas you will get served in a less-than-authentic chain Mexican food restaurant. Don’t get us wrong, we love the smooth red and green salsas that are more authentic, but salsa in the pico de gallo style is simply a personal favorite, and is very easy to make. You can make a big batch of this salsa and keep it in the refrigerator for a moderately healthy snack.

Pico De Gallo Style Salsa

Again, this style of salsa mimics pico de gallo, also called salsa fresca. Pico de gallo is technically more of a fresh salad rather than a sauce. With big chunks of fresh vegetables and a bit of tang from the lime juice, this salsa recipe could almost constitute a side dish.

Salsa Ingredients

There are very few ingredients to this recipe, but it is very important to make sure that your vegetables are very fresh. It is important to note that if you do not like the taste of cilantro — and there are many that do not — you can always substitute fresh parsley or leave it out completely. Also, we use Serrano chilies to get the medium heat, but if you want your salsa spicier, you can use 1 jalapeno instead. (NOTE: We are in Arizona, where jalapenos are bred to be much spicier than in other parts of the US. Outside of Mexico and Arizona, jalapenos will usually be milder than serranos by a bit). Thank you to several readers for feedback on this fact.)

  • 1/2 Cup of Fresh Cilantro (Sub Parsley)
  • 1 Large White or Yellow Onion
  • 2 Large Tomatoes or 3-4 Roma Tomatoes
  • 2 Serrano Chilies or 1 Jalapeno Pepper
  • 1-2 Fresh Limes
  • 1 Teaspoon of Rice Wine Vinegar

Directions For Making Salsa

  • As we said before, this recipe is incredibly easy and takes almost no time at all. The first thing you have to do is dice your tomatoes and onions into the perfect size; pieces should be a bit smaller than the size of a dime.
  • Next, we cut the Seranno or jalapeno chilies — depending on your preference. Split the chili down the middle and scrape the seeds out to discard. Next, mince the chilies as small as you can make them so that the heat from the peppers covers over all of the other vegetables.
  • Now, chop your fresh cilantro or parsley roughly and add to the rest of the vegetables. Give everything a stir.
  • The next step is to add your lime juice. Simply cut the limes in half and squeeze as much juice out of the limes as you can get. There should be a very minimal amount of lime juice, but if you have some dry limes, feel free to add an extra half of a lime squeeze.
  • The final step is to add a splash of rice wine vinegar into the mix. We find that it helps the lime juice to work its magic on the fresh ingredients and adds even more depth to the flavoring of the salsa.

That’s It!

Your Salsa is complete and can be eaten right away; however, the longer that the lime and vinegar has a chance to soak up, the more blended the flavor of the salsa will be.


What Chips Go Best With Salsa?

Now that our salsa is prepared, we can talk about the best chips to eat with salsa. Like we said previously, this recipe is meant to mimic the very non-traditional Mexican restaurant chain style salsas, so we like to go with the non-traditional restaurant style chips with this recipe. Below are some of our favorite restaurant style tortilla chips:

(Click Images to Order)

On The Border Restaurant Style Chips

Parade Restaurant Style Chips



21 thoughts on “Fresh Chunky Salsa Recipe: Pico De Gallo Style

  1. This is the style of salsa we love, too! It’s also the style most cooks make for International Chili Society competitions. Love the freshness of the veggies.
    One note, though- Serrano chiles are spicier than jalapenos. Jalapenos come in at 1,000-4,000 on the Scoville heat index, and Serranos are 10,000 to 20,000. And Serranos tend to be more consistent in their heat than jalapenos. You can pick out three jalapenos from the same batch and one will be mild enough to hardly count as a chile, and another will be really hot.

    • Must admit, that we buy our peppers in Arizona and most of the local growers breed Jalapenos for extreme spiciness, while the Serranos are usually milder. Very good to point out though for those living in other parts of the country.

  2. I love your inclusion of rice vinegar. I bet that is what mine has been missing! Thanks for sharing!
    P.S. I love the On the Border Chips. They have a lot less sodium than most.

  3. Although I love spicy foods, I’m seconding what M.A. Kropp says above. Serranos tend to be pretty hot; jalapenos, not so much, and more inconsistent. Grown here in the Midwestern U.S., anyway. I recently tried a salsa very similar to this, and loved it, although I think it might have used olive oil in addition to the vinegar. In any case, looks good–thank you for sharing it.

  4. I’ve not tried using vinegar in salsas. Very interesting; even more when it is rice wine vinegar, which is more of an oriental thing. Am going to give it a try though. For a bit more piquancy, try adding some Thai bird chili. Cheerio!

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