Salsa bandera (pico de gallo sauce)

Salsa bandera, aka pico de gallo is an easy and budget friendly mexican sauce. Made with fresh and simple ingredients, this is the ultimate sauce for many mexican recipes.

The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity. Fresh ingredients that don’t need to cook, so quick to make and with very few calories!. Is really made in 1,2, 3 steps: Chop, season, mix. It can’t get any easier than this.

Receta pico de gallo

What is salsa bandera?

Salsa bandera is one of the names that pico de gallo sauce is know. Basically this sauce is made with chopped fresh ingredients and seasoned with lime juice and salt. That’s it.

When I was a kid, for me and everyone I knew, pico de gallo was a fruit salad. It wasn’t until I left the country that I knew that the salsa mexicana -as we always called it- was also know as pico de gallo.

The name salsa bandera comes from the color of the sauce: Red from tomatoes, white from onions and green from chillies and cilantro. All the three colours from the Mexican flag. Bandera means flag.

How to serve pico de gallo

This recipe is served mainly as a sauce for tacos, like these vegan lentil tacos or my favourites, chicken and cheese taquitos. But it can also be served as a accompaniment for other dishes like frijoles de la olla.

But my favourite way to serve this sauce, specially here in Italy, is as a simple appetizer: Placed in a bowl with some homemade totopos. Believe me, it dissapears in a matter of minutes!

pico de gallo - salsa bandera

Ingredients for salsa mexicana

TOMATOS – I prefer very ripe tomatoes since they have more juice and are sweeter.

ONIONS – White onions are for a more traditional dish; but red onions looks also so pretty in this sauce.

CILANTRO – It needs to be fresh and I know not everyone like it. In that case you can omit it or add parsley instead.

GREEN CHILLIES – Serranos or jalapeños are the ones that are used in the mexican recipe; but if you can’t find those just add any green spicy pepper you have available.

LEMON – Actually you need limes, which are different than the yellow ones.

SALT – Any type of salt you have at home.

How long last salsa bandera?

This sauce last up to three days in the fridge. Since is made with fresh ingredients -specially tomato-, it can’t last longer and I personally don’t recommend leaving it in the fridge for more than 3 days.

Sometimes I like to add a splash of vinegar; this not only add an extra touch in taste but also helps the sauce to last longer (about 4-5 days).

Salsa bandera (pico de gallo sauce)

Salsa bandera, aka pico de gallo is an easy and budget friendly mexican sauce. The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity. Fresh ingredients that you won't need to cook!
PREP 10 minutes
TOTAL 10 minutes
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 1 bowl
Author: Maricruz


  • 2 medium fresh tomatoes (300 gr)
  • 1 medium white onion (100 gr)
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • salt


  • Cut tomatoes into halves, deseed (optional) and then dice them. Place tomatoes into a medium bowl.
  • Peel onions and finely chop them, then add to the bowl with tomatoes.
  • Deseed chillies, if you don’t like spicy. Chop them finely and add to the bowl.
  • Wash throughly the cilantro. Pat dry it with a kitchen paper towel and finely chop it. Add to the bowl with other ingredients (SEE NOTES).
  • Drizzle with lime juice, add half of lime at first, taste, then add the other half if you want.
  • Season with salt and mix well.
  • Let the sauce sit for about 10 minutes before serving.


  • You can add as much cilantro as you want. Same for chillies.
  • If you can’t find fresh cilantro, add 1 teaspoon of dry cilantro plus 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley.
Calories: 85kcal
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