Fresh Tomato Salsa

A standard and almost necessary accompaniment to most Mexican food is salsa. Salsa (meaning “sauce” in Spanish) comes in many different ways, the most common being chopped tomatoes, onions and chile.

Growing up with a Hispanic mom from Tucson, we had salsa with meals several times a week—with steak and pinto beans, tacos, tostadas, over green beans. My job, even as a little girl, was to make the salsa for our meals.

Usually I used canned tomatoes and canned ortega chiles. Now with the prepared salsas so good and easily available, I typically save my salsa making for fresh salsas, including this fresh tomato salsa. “Salsa Fresca” or “Pico de Gallo”, as this salsa is often called, is easy to make, especially because it requires no cooking. Just be careful when handling the chilies.

  • Prep: 6 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 3 to 4 cups of salsa


  • 2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes (from 1 lb to 1 1/2 lb), stems removed, finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño chile (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: oregano and or cumin to taste


1 Start with chopping up 2 medium sized fresh tomatoes. Prepare the chilies. Be very careful while handling these hot peppers. If you can, avoid touching them with your hands. Use a fork to cut up the chilies over a small plate, or use a paper towel to protect your hands. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling and avoid touching your eyes for several hours. Set aside some of the seeds from the peppers. If the salsa isn't hot enough, you can add a few for heat.

2 Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Taste. If the chilies make the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato. If not hot enough, carefully add a few of the seeds from the chilies, or add some ground cumin.

Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.

Serve with chips, tortillas, tacos, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, pinto or black beans.


Original photo

Main Ingredients