I literally live on this in the summer when tomatoes are garden-ripe and oh-so-juicy! Pico de gallo, translated, means beak of rooster. It’s basically a ‘raw’ salsa, made to eat right away. I am not sure where the name and recipe come together, but it’s a versatile side dish you really can’t live without. As a healthy topping to meats, seafood or grains, it literally can make anything taste better.
It blends well with scrambled eggs, salads, baked tortilla chips, fish and chicken. This light salsa contains approximately 6 calories and less than 1 gram of fat per 1-ounce serving, but it also has these health benefits:
Pico de gallo is packed with antioxidants, which fight the harmful free radicals that cause cellular mutations. This damage, called oxidative stress, also contributes to the development of chronic health conditions. The antioxidants in onions and garlic include organosulfur and allicin, which are compounds that help combat disease, such as atherosclerosis, and supply the potent aroma in these vegetables. The antioxidants in tomatoes include vitamin C, vitamin E and lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that provides the red pigment in tomatoes and helps protect the body against prostate, urinary, intestinal and some stomach cancers. Cilantro contains a plethora of antioxidants, including gallic acid, caffeic acid, ferulic acid and chlorogenic acid.
The onions and garlic in pico de gallo act as blood thinners that may assist in protecting your body against heart disease, notes the Department of Foods and Nutrition at the University of Georgia.
Pico de gallo contains vegetables that may decrease inflammation. Garlic and onions contain anti-inflammatory properties that may diminish symptoms of asthma, arthritis and cardiovascular disease. Jalapeno peppers contain an anti-inflammatory agent called capsaicin, which may help individuals with arthritis by increasing circulation and releasing endorphins to relieve pain.
Consuming pico de gallo may provide your body with antibacterial properties. Garlic and onions contain antibacterial agents that may assist in protecting against certain bacteria that cause stomach ulcers. Furthermore, cilantro contains oils with bacteria-fighting agents that are effective against Listeria monocytogenes, a food-borne bacterium that can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms.
Here’s my basic recipe that can literally be made anywhere. I personally use The Pampered Chef Food Chopper. The electric food processors tend to liquefy the pico de gallo and chopping by hand is an option, but takes a little longer.
2 pounds fresh tomatoes
1 bell pepper
1 jalapeno (or 2 if you like it spicy)
1 bunch cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt to taste