Almost Pico de Gallo—My Fave Salad & Taco Topping

pico de gallo or salsa

This pico de gallo tomato is a favorite in the home of one of favorite Familia Kitchen home cooks, Michelle Ezratty Murphy. She puts it on her tacos usually and often eats it solo. “I could eat this as a salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner … and sometimes I do. It’s pretty much pico de gallo, except I leave out the jalapeño,” Michelle says.

”My post-COVID taste buds can’t taste much except for raw veggies, fruit, fresh herbs, onions, garlic and ginger. So, while I still cook for the family, I’ve resigned to eating dishes like this one, all of the time. Can I tell you a secret? I’m loving my new diet! I’ve always been a salad kind of girl, but eating raw veggies all the time has been kind to me,” Michelle adds.

To make pico de gallo the traditional way, she explains, add ½ medium jalapeño, with half the seeds if you like it picante—with no seeds if you don’t. Refrigerate once mixed to get it nice and cold. “The salt will draw the juices from the tomatoes, so they get super flavorful.”

When your family and guests are on the way, she advises: Pull out from the refrigerator and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving. Taste and add a little bit more salt, if needed.

Spoon this almost pico de gallo on tacos, roast chicken, bistec empanizado, or breaded cube steak. It makes everything better—or eat it alone, like Michelle does. “It’s amazing,” she promises.

To try more of MIchelle’s family-famous recipes, check out her super nachos loaded with everything, caldo de albóndigasdouble-fried-plantain tostones with garlicky mojo saucepastelón, the Puerto Rican lasagna; her step-by-step guide to baking quesito pastries, and her Familia Kitchen Recipe Contest-winning arroz con pollo con pegao beauty.

Lighten Up Your Meals with This Pico de Gallo!

My Almost Pico de Gallo

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Michelle Ezratty Murphy Cuisine: Mexican


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 6 to 8 6 to 8 Roma tomatoes, chopped and seeded

  • 1/2 1/2 red onion, small, chopped

  • 1/2 small bunch 1/2 cilantro, chopped

  • 1 1 lime, juiced

  • ½ tsp ½ salt

  • Optional
  • 1/2 optional 1/2 jalapeño, medium (if you want to make classic pico de gallo), seeded and minced


  • Place the chopped tomatoes, onion and cilantro in a bowl. Add lime juice and salt. Gently mix.
  • Optional: Add minced jalapeño, if you want to make classic pico de gallo. Keep the seeds if you want to make your pico hot. Otherwise, take out the seeds and only use the jalapeño skin, minced.
  • Place in your refrigerator to get it nice and chilled. The salt will draw the juices from the tomatoes, so they get super flavorful. When ready to serve, take out of the fridge and let sit for 10 minutes. Taste and add a little bit more salt, if needed. Spoon it over your dish or serve as a side.


  • Red onion is sweeter than yellow or white, so I prefer to use it, but I sometimes make this with white onion for a bolder flavor.

Photo: Michelle Ezratty Murphy

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