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World's Best Pico de Gallo

Everything to make this legendary Pico de Gallo can be purchased at Aldi for under $3. Pair with your favorite chips for under $5.

There is no better way to celebrate the mid-summer availability of wonderful ripe Roma tomatoes than a bowl of fresh, crunchy Pico de Gallo. It is a wonderfully versatile condiment and can be used as a "shortcut" for queso dip or guacamole. All the items used to make this Pico can be found in the veggie section of your local Aldi supermarket (or for that matter, at most supermarkets). Aldi sells a 1-pound bag of Roma tomatoes for an unbelievable $1.30. You can add all the other basics in this recipe to your pantry and still come in under $3.

Great Pico de Gallo is a balancing act between tomatoes, onions and peppers. For tomatoes, there is no contest. Use Roma tomatoes. They have both the flavor and texture for a good Pico, and they hold up well for hours or even days. If I cannot find fresh Romas, I make do with salsa instead until I can find Romas for Pico again.

A word about Onions. Everyone has an opinion about the right type of onion for a fresh Pico. Some people swear by red onions, which are quite good raw. Plain yellow onions are not good raw. Large white onions are good for most Southwestern dishes, but they can be a little intense raw in Pico. I love the flavor of green onions, but I miss the wonderful crunchy texture of a sweet onion. My compromise is that I use a medium sweet onion for the crunch but add 3-4 finely minced onions for the flavor.

World's Best Pico de Gallo

Ingredients/Cost (Under $3)

  • 1 lb. Roma Tomatoes (6-7 medium tomatoes) ($1.30, Aldi)

  • 1 medium sweet onion ($0.30, Aldi)

  • 3-4 green onions, white and light green parts only, minced ($0.25, Aldi)

  • 2 Jalapeno peppers ($0.25, Aldi)

  • Juice of 2 limes ($0.35, Aldi)

  • ½ c. Cilantro, coarsely chopped ($0.25)

  • Salt, to taste.


1. The first step to good Pico de Gallo is to ensure that your tomatoes are ripe (but not mushy). If they are not yet ripe, set on your kitchen counter for a few days - they will ripen.

2. Slice the tomatoes into halves lengthwise. Remove the seeds and pulp with a tablespoon and discard. Cut the remaining tomato into strips and then into 1/4-to-1/3-inch dice and place in a medium bowl.

3. Chop the sweet onion into 1/4-to-1/3-inch dice and add to tomatoes. Mince the white and green parts of 3-4 green onions and add to tomato mixture.

4. Prepare to cut the Jalapeno peppers - use some care as these peppers can vary in terms of heat. Give your pepper a test - generally, there is very little heat in the pepper itself and the heat is in the veins to which seeds are attached internally. If you slice the dark green portion carefully while avoiding these veins and seeds, you should get very little heat from the peppers. If you want more heat, try to mince the internal veins on the peppers. In the image below, the peppers on the right have lots of retained heat, while the peppers on the left have almost none (throw away the stem and attached remaining pepper).

5. I personally do not like biting down on seeds, and since there is very little heat in the seeds themselves, you should be able to remove the seeds and still keep the heat from the peppers. Mince your peppers finely and mix into the tomato/onion mixture along with the lime juice. At this point, give a taste. If you want more heat, use another pepper, or add a finely minced serrano pepper.

6. Coarsely chop 1/2 c. fresh cilantro and add to the mixture and correct the salt. Taste again, for balance between the acid (lime), the sweet (the onion), the tangy (tomato), the heat (Jalapeno) and the salty (salt). If it's all in balance, you have a perfect Pico de Gallo. It's okay at this point to adjust the seasoning (add salt or cilantro) or acidity (add lime juice) according to your preference. Serve with your favorite chips!

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