Pico de Gallo

Fresh Pico de gallo

We came home from vacation this week and found ripe peppers and tomatoes abundant in the garden.  What a nice welcome back gift! One of the things we craved on vacation was plain old chips and salsa.  The areas we visited didn’t serve a lot of fresh vegetables so we couldn’t wait for veggies on our return.  Living in Southern California this is a staple year round, but it is especially delicious when we can make up a batch from fresh homegrown vegetables.

I looked up the translation for pico de gallo and it was “chickens beak” or “rooster beak”, which surprised me for sure, but apparently the brilliant colors of red, green and white reminded the creator of the colors of a roosters beak.

Name aside, pico de gallo is incredibly healthy for you, a vegan dish that almost everyone will love.  It is full of vitamins, nearly zero fat, has fiber, low in calories and relatively low in carbohydrates too.  Nearly a perfect food – yes?  We use it on everything from tacos, eggs, to dress up plain chicken breasts, baked potatoes, an alternative to salad dressing, over any kind of Mexican food and of course piled on corn tortilla chips.

Most recipes call for tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and citrus – lemon or lime, but if you are not a spice lover feel free to substitute with virtually any type of pepper.  This batch I made mild using a homegrown Poblano chili and one hot banana pepper.  My husband generally likes his salsa hot enough to strip the taste buds off his tongue so we grow lots of hot chilies just for this purpose, but this batch was for a friend who can’t handle the heat.  If you are using hot peppers, start with one and then taste before you add more, as even the same type of chili will vary in spice depending on its age and growing environment.

NOTE:  When working with hot chilies do you self a favor and use rubber gloves to protect your skin from the volatile oils.  If you don’t have gloves, slip on some plastic baggies.  The last thing you want on your hands is hot chili oils that will spread to every other body part you touch – your face, your eyes, nose or any other delicate parts 🙂

Make lots of salsa while tomatoes are in season, your taste buds, health and possibly your waistline will thank you!

Mild Pico de Gallo – by Debra Crawford
(makes approximately 4 cups)

1 –  Medium sized Poblano chili (or any other chili you like) minced fine
1 –  Hot banana pepper                     ”                                    ”
4  – Cups of tomatoes diced (will dice down to about 2 1/2 – 3 cups)
1 – Handful of cilantro leaves chopped
1/2 – White or sweet yellow onion (I find brown onions a little harsh for salsa so look for mild white or sweet varieties – such as sweet Maui onion)
Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
Dash Salt

Mix all together lightly and taste.  Depending on the flavor of tomatoes you may want more citrus or salt, but my garden tomatoes were perfect with juice of 1/2 of the lemon and just a dash of salt.

Serve on almost anything!

Ready to mix
Garden Fresh!
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