Swap These Ingredients For Tomatoes In Pico De Gallo

Pico de gallo, translated from Spanish, means rooster's beak and no one knows quite why this condiment conjures up such a colorful image (via Muy Delish). Despite its Spanish name, the familiar concoction of fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, peppers, and lime juice goes by salsa cruda (raw sauce) or salsa fresca (fresh sauce) in Mexico. If you have traveled south of the border, you may have even seen a side dish listed as pico de gallo on menus, but don't assume the Mexican version of the salsa resembles the pico typically found in the United States.

The sauce known to Mexicans as pico de gallo is another dish entirely and contains different types of fresh fruits or veggies such as jicama, watermelon, mango, or cucumber seasoned with lime juice and chiles. If you want to try making a real Mexican-style pico de gallo, ditch the tomatoes and try some exciting ingredient swaps for a refreshing change of pace that can make any mouth water.

Spice things up with watermelon

Watermelon is one of those fruits that only comes into season for a few short months. Despite the brief growing season, you can certainly get your fill of the fruit when it's available. According to watermelon.org, the smallest seedless melons tend to tip the scales at 10 pounds, while seeded watermelons generally come in around 15 pounds.

If you love watermelon but don't want to down 10 pounds of the fruit in a single sitting, you can always use your surplus fruit to make pico de gallo. Pennsylvania News Today has a recipe calling for 9 cups of chopped melon mixed with ½ cup of chopped red or green onion, chopped cucumber, a tablespoon or two of fresh-squeezed lime juice, a couple of chopped chiles, as much salt as you think it needs, and, if you wish, a few tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, mint, or basil. Try this as a topping for grilled fish or chicken, or just scoop it up with chips for a bright and tangy topping that can liven up anything you throw at it.

Peaches sweeten things up

Most peach salsas don't use these fruits to replace tomatoes entirely. Instead, peaches and tomatoes join forces to provide a bright, fresh pop of flavor to the pico de gallo. Natasha's Kitchen has a recipe that makes use of 1 ½ pounds of chopped peaches and 1 pound of chopped tomatoes. The produce combines with classic pico de gallo ingredients, including two diced jalapeños, a diced onion, lime juice, chopped cilantro, salt, and a bit of black pepper. The recipe developer also added their own twist by throwing in a chopped bell pepper, as well, although if you prefer your salsa muy picante, you may wish to skip the bell pepper altogether and double down on the jalapeños.

The peaches make this salsa a bit less acidic than pico de gallo that only uses tomatoes. This sweet sauce works well with chicken, but peach pico and pork also make an absolutely perfect pairing.

Pineapple salsa makes for a tropical treat

Pineapple salsa is an interesting blend of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. Culinary Hill has a recipe that, like peach salsa, uses the fruit in addition to the tomatoes for a more familiar pico de gallo flavor. The recipe calls for two pounds of diced pineapple and 10 chopped Roma tomatoes, making for a substantial amount of salsa. Three to four now-familiar jalapeños join 1 cup of diced red onion, lime juice, a bunch of cilantro, and salt. You can even spice up the salsa with a dash of hot sauce and some black pepper for good measure.

If you want a true pico de gallo twist featuring pineapples, Muy Delish has a recipe for a pineapple salsa sans tomatoes. They use cucumbers instead of tomatoes for a twist your mouth won't soon forget. To make it, you'll need an entire small pineapple, a small whole cucumber, plus all the usual suspects – ½ a jalapeño, ⅓ of a red onion, lime juice, ½ cup of cilantro, and salt. Don't forget to add two tablespoons of oil and half a red bell pepper either. Both of these salsas de piña would make great chip dips, and play nicely with pork, chicken, and seafood. Pineapple is also an integral part of tacos al pastor, so make sure to top this dish with a fruity pico when the opportunity arises.

A strawberry pico de gallo perfect for dessert

All of the previously-mentioned pico de gallos serve the same purpose as the more familiar tomato one — either as a dip or a condiment for savory foods. This final fruit-based pico de gallo spices things up by serving up something sweet. Teaspoon of Spice features a strawberry pico de gallo recipe that didn't make the final cut in the California Giant Berry Farms Reciberries for Life contest, but it's still a delicious combination of fruits along with some of the classic pico de gallo ingredients (via Perishable News).

The recipe calls for a pound of halved strawberries along with a chopped mango and half of a cantaloupe, sliced into spears. While the salsa recipe still requires the juice from half a lime along with a teeny pinch of salt, it omits the onion and cilantro, while replacing jalapeños with some cayenne or chili powder instead. As a final touch, this salsa-fruit salad mashup can be topped off with a tablespoon of sweetened flaked coconut. If you want to make this dish even more dessert-like, try serving it with a side of cinnamon sugar-sprinkled flour tortilla chips, or use it to top off a plate of dessert nachos. With so many fruity pico de gallos, you can snack to your heart's content anytime you crave a bright pop of flavor.