Pico de Gallo Salsa | Salsa Fresca

Pico de gallo or salsa fresca or salsa bandera, this Mexican salsa is the easiest one you ca make and it goes great on everything! It’s only 6 ingredients and it’s traditionally a raw and vegan salsa recipe with a burst of incredibly tasting fresh ingredients.

How to Make Pico de Gallo Salsa
Mexican Pico de Gallo Salsa also know as Salsa Bandera

Pico de Gallo

This is the most incredibly easy salsa you can make. This salsa is also known as salsa fresca or salsa bandera. Pico de gallo means rooster’s beak, there are quite a few theories as to this name.

Salsa fresca means fresh salsa and bandera means flag, and it’s because the salsa has the 3 colors of the Mexican flag.

The recipe is just 6 ingredients — all of which are easy to find, there’s really no reason not to make this salsa.

Now that warmer weather is arriving salsa bandera makes a delicious and light snack to help you beat the heat.

Ingredients for Pico de Gallo Salsa or Salsa Fresca
Ingredients for Pico de Gallo Salsa or Salsa Fresca

Pico de Gallo Ingredients

The ingredients for this salsa are super simple and you may already have them in your refrigerator most of the time.

  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped white onion
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped green chile pepper
  • lime juice
  • salt

These are the basic ingredients and for additional variations or information keep reading.

Chopped tomato and onion for salsa bandera
Chopped tomato and onion for salsa bandera

Salsa Fresca or Salsa Bandera Ingredients

The ingredients are the same being that these are the same salsa as pico de gallo. So you’ll still need tomato, onion, green chile pepper, cilantro, lime and salt.

Adding chopped serrano chile and lime juice to the tomato and onion for pico de gallo salsa.
How to Make Tomato Salsa Fresca

What Are The Best Tomatoes for Pico de Gallo Salsa

The best and traditional tomatoes used in Mexican cuisine are roma tomatoes. Most often than not that’s what you’ll find listed on recipes.

To choose the best one for freshest salsa fresca you’ll need to keep a couple of things in mind.

  • choose bright red roma tomatoes
  • make sure they’re not too soft, they need to be between soft and firm
  • pick roma tomatoes that are smooth and free of wrinkles or damage
Salting the Pico de Gallo Salsa.
Salting the Salsa Fresca

Ingredient Variations

Below are some helpful tips and variations to help you make a delicious salsa fresca in case you need alternatives.

  • Alternative to Roma Tomatoes: If you can’t get this type of tomatoes you can use regular round ones. For an additional variation use cherry tomatoes for a different taste.
  • Alternative to White Onion: You can use yellow or even red onion. They will give you slightly different taste, but it’s still yummy.
  • When You Hate Cilantro: So sad for those out there who cilantro tastes like soap to…it’s genetics, I know. In this case you could try using fresh parsley.
  • No Lime: In a pinch you can use yellow lemons. I’ve done it and it’s still delicious.
  • Chile Peppers: It really is best to use fresh and raw green chiles like serranos or jalapeños.
  • Cucumber Pico de Gallo: Here’s a super fresh spin on the traditional recipe, add juicy cucumber to the mix!
Cilantro is Added to Make Pico de Gallo Salsa
Cilantro is Added to Make Pico de Gallo Salsa

How to Make it a Spicy or Mild Salsa

To control the heat you can do either of two things.

If you want a spicier salsa use serrano chile with the seeds and membrane. If you want the heat but a little less than remove the seeds and membrane from the serranos.

For a milder salsa use jalapeño pepper. Again leave the seeds and membrane for more heat or remove them for less heat.

You can use as much or as little chile pepper as you’d like.

Mixing the salsa fresca ingredients with a wood spoon.
Salsa Fresca Needs to Be Mixed Well

How to Make Pico de Gallo Salsa

It’s really just a matter of chopping the ingredients, juicing the lime then mixing them all together before enjoying.

Step #1:

Chop the tomato, onion, chile, and cilantro. Slice the lime and have the salt ready.

Step #2:

Place the chopped ingredients in a medium bowl. Squeeze in or drizzle in the lime juice and sprinkle the salt over the ingredients. Mix until well combined.

Taste and adjust any ingredient that you’d like.

Pico de Gallo Salsa with Corn Chips
Salsa Mexicana with Corn Chips

What if You Don’t Want to Manually Chop The Ingredients

If you want to save yourself a little time you could also use the food processor to chop up the vegetables. Just be careful not to over do it or you’ll end up with a different texture.

I’ve also seen some people use those vegetable chopper gadgets to chop the everything.

Vegan chorizo tacos with Pico de Gallo.
Vegan chorizo tacos with Tomato Salsa Fresca

How to Serve Pico de Gallo

This salsa is amazing with a pile of corn chips. This makes a delicious and relatively healthy snack — just don’t eat too many chips!

Besides that, this salsa makes a great topping for tacos, quesadillas, tortas and basically anything you want to put it on.

How Long Does Salsa Fresca Last

When working with tomatoes you don’t have a super long shelf life before they begin to breakdown.

This salsa is best eaten within 2 or 3 days of making it. Make sure you store it in the refrigerator when not eating.

A big bowl of raw salsa or tomato salsa fresca.
Salsa Fresca Ready to Eat

Pico de Gallo Salsa Recipe

Ok amigos, below is the printable salsa recipe. As always please let me know you’ve made and enjoyed the salsa by leaving me a comment below. Gracias and enjoy!

How to Make Pico de Gallo Salsa

How to Make Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca)

Nancy Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
You’re going to love this easy, 6 ingredient, chunky tomato salsa. Known as Pico de gallo or salsa fresca or salsa bandera, this Mexican salsa is the easiest one you can make and taste great on everything!
5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Course Appetiser, Snack, topping
Cuisine Mexican, raw, vegan mexican
Servings 4 servings
Calories 9 kcal


  • 2 medium-large roma tomatoes chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 1 whole serrano chile stem removed and seeded if desired
  • 1 small lime juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large handfull chopped cilantro


  • Chop and prep all of the ingredients. Place everything in a small mixing bowl then stir until everything is well combined.
    Mixing the salsa fresca ingredients with a wood spoon.
  • Taste and adjust as desired.
    Pico de Gallo Salsa with Corn Chips
  • Serve with corn chips as a snack or as a topping for all of your favorite Mexican dishes.
    Vegan chorizo tacos with Pico de Gallo.


Make this salsa right before serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Consume within 2 to 3 days of preparing. The tomatoes don’t hold up well after being chopped.
** Please note the nutrition information is only for the salsa, it doesn’t include chips or anything it’s topped on.**


Serving: 4servingsCalories: 9kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 146mgPotassium: 35mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 32IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 8mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicanmademeatless!
Close up view of a wood spoon filled with tomato salsa called pico de gallo or salsa fresca.
Pico de Gallo, Salsa Fresca or Salsa Bandera

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