Pico de Gallo with Pickled Peppers and Chipotle

 with pickled peppers and chipotle flakes | mjskitchen.com #salsa


Last week I showed you how to make Quick and Easy Pickled Peppers.  This week a few of those pickled peppers came together with some fresh garden tomatoes and chipotle flakes to make a delightfully tasty pico de gallo.  Bobby and I have eaten three batches of this in the past few days because it’s so addicting and we wanted to get the seasoning just right.  Lucky us. 🙂

Pico de Gallo with Pickled Peppers can be used as a dip or a topping for tacos, tostadas, burritos or a nice bowl of pinto beans.

A question some of you may have asked at some time in the past – “What’s the difference between pico de gallo and salsa?”.  Pico de gallo is a type of salsa, but a salsa is not always a pico de gallo.  Salsa is Spanish for sauce and most salsas that you are probably familiar with are pureed with chiles, tomatoes, and spices, and are somewhat saucy like this Chile de Arbol Salsa.  When the tomatoes are chopped and combined with a few other chopped ingredients, the salsa can be called a pico de gallo.  Pico de gallo tends to have less liquid than salsa. For this recipe, the tomatoes are drained before adding the additional ingredients.  This creates a relatively chunky salsa, aka pico de gallo, but not too chunky to be piled on a tortilla chip and devoured.


Pico de Gallo with pickled peppers and chipotle flakes #salsa @mjskitchen

Pico de Gallo with Pickled Peppers and Chipotle Recipe

Recipe Author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen

Yields about 2 cups
Prep Time:  About 10 minutes to make and 15 minutes to drain


1 pound fresh tomatoes, diced and drained
2 Tbsp minced pickled peppers*
2 Tbsp minced onion
¼ tsp cumin-coriander mix
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chipotle flakes*
Pinch or two of salt


  1. Chop the tomatoes and place in a strainer and let drain for about 15 minutes*.
  2. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
  3. Serve immediately or let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Best when eaten within 2 days (which isn’t a hard thing to do).


Pico de Gallo with pickled peppers and chipotle flakes | mjskitchen.com #salsa


Kitchen Notes

Pickled Peppers – If you haven’t made a jar of pickled peppers yet, you could easily use some store bought pickled peppers like pickled jalapeno or possibly pepperoncini.  If the peppers you choose are really, really hot, then you might cut the amount in half, because chipotle flakes tend to be quite hot as well.  To be on the safe side (if you like being safe), test the spiciness of both your chipotle and pickled peppers to determine how hot you want your pico de gallo to be and adjust the amount of each accordingly.

Chipotle Flakes – If you don’t have chipotle flakes, you could substitute chipotle powder or another “smoked” chile flake.   A smoky chile works quite nicely with the acidity of the pickled peppers.

Draining the liquid – The use of fresh tomatoes yields a lot of liquid; therefore, draining the cut tomatoes is necessary for a pico de gallo.  After adding the other ingredients, you might even find that you’ll want to drain the salsa again to reduce the liquid even more.

Other salsas you might enjoy:

A tomato based salsa made with chile de arbol peppersChile de Arbol Salsa

Salsa made with fresh tomatillo and New Mexico Green chileGreen Chile Tomatillo Salsa


This Pico de Gallo has been linked up with Kitchen Dreaming.

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44 Responses to “Pico de Gallo with Pickled Peppers and Chipotle”

  1. Evelyne@cheapethniceatz October 20, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    Well thank you for explaining what a pico de gallo was exactly, always wondered but never looked it up. Yours looks so colorful and flavorful!

    • mj October 20, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

      You are most welcome and thank you!

  2. Asmita October 17, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Perfect with drinks. Will make it next time I am entertaining!

    • mj October 19, 2014 at 12:25 am #

      Thanks Asmita!

  3. Helene D'Souza October 12, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    I think so that’s what we were looking for the past few month since we had tasted a dip, which looked like yours, but we didn’t know the name. Will try MJ! =D

    • mj October 12, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

      Thanks Helene!

  4. Thalia @ butter and brioche October 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    Never made pico de gallo before but I do love eating it.. definitely inspired to recreate the recipe. Looks delicious!

    • mj October 7, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

      Thanks Thalia! It’s so easy to make. You really should give it a try!

  5. Jen @ Baked by an Introvert October 7, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    This pico sounds completely delicious! I can not wait to try it.

    • mj October 7, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

      Thanks Jen!

  6. Trang October 6, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    I’m always looking for a good salsa recipe! Most definitely need to try this one 🙂

    • mj October 7, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

      Thanks so much Trang!

  7. Nami | Just One Cookbook October 6, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

    Actually this summer I was at the grocery store and wondered that exact question. It looks salsa to me but it had the different name – Pico de Gallo. I didn’t actually had a chance to figure it out (with 2 kids shopping together, my thought was probably just 5 seconds), and moved on. Now I am so happy to actually read the explanation of the words difference!!!! Thank you for the explanation. Your Pico de Gallo looks so yummy! We love chips and salsa and it’s always a nice starter at a casual party. 🙂

    • mj October 7, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

      With 2 kids, I’m surprised the thought lasted 5 seconds. 🙂 You are most welcome for the clarification and thank you for the comment!

  8. easyfoodsmith October 6, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Well that is delicious and sounds very addictive! Yum…

    • mj October 7, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

      Oh it is addictive! Thanks!

  9. Raymund October 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    Yum! Pico de Gallo, Cheese dip and Nachos with Corona thats what you call life 🙂

    • mj October 6, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

      I’m right there with you Raymund! 🙂

  10. Treat and Trick October 6, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    You always made simple recipe that was easy and full of flavors..

    • mj October 6, 2014 at 9:12 pm #


  11. Hotly Spiced October 5, 2014 at 5:41 am #

    I haven’t heard of pico de gallo but it looks wonderful and l’m sure it’s full of flavour. Absolutely perfect to serve with corn chips xx

    • mj October 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

      Thanks Charlie! I have a big weakness for chips and salsa, so yes, this is perfect with chips! 🙂

  12. Sissi October 5, 2014 at 2:20 am #

    I always keep on forgetting what a pico de gallo is, so I’m glad to see this obviously delicious sauce on your blog. I should probably make it one day: the best way to make sure I don’t forget what it is 😉 I love your presentation: it looks ready and perfect for my weekend wine and snacks evening.

    • mj October 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

      That’s so true Sissi! Once you make something and love it (and I know that YOU would love this), you won’t forget. 🙂 Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend! Thanks!

  13. Rashida October 3, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    Hi MJ,
    This looks truly delicious, though never tried it.

    Have a nice weekend ahead!

    • mj October 5, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks Rashida! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

  14. Katerina October 3, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    Although I have a sensitive stomach i love Mexican and Tex Mex only milder. This is a delicious pico de gallo!

    • mj October 5, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks Katerina! The nice things about making spicy cuisine it that you can control the spiciness with the chiles you use. I can’t handle them near as spicy as I use to, but I still like a nice kick. 🙂 Sorry you have a sensitive stomach.

  15. Bam's Kitchen October 3, 2014 at 12:56 am #

    Thanks for clearing up the difference between salsa and Pico de Gallo. Your version looks relish and just perfect timing for the weekend as I am sure my boys will be foraging for snacks. Take Care

    • mj October 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      You’re most welcome Bam! Gotta love those teenage boys who have a bottomless stomach. 🙂 Thanks!

  16. Ramona October 2, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

    Just hand me the bowl.. and there won’t be any trouble. 🙂 My taste-buds are going into overdrive here. Yum! Yum!

    • mj October 2, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

      Thanks Ramona! I’m with you… It’s good right out of the bowl! 🙂

  17. Angie@Angie's Recipes October 2, 2014 at 6:32 am #

    This is my next salsa! It looks really appetizing, MJ.

    • mj October 2, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

      Thanks Angie! I hope you enjoy it!

  18. Carole from Carole's Chatter October 1, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    Hi MJ, just stopped by to let you know you’ve been featured today over at Carole’s Chatter. Cheers

    • mj October 1, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

      Thanks so much Carole! I’ll head over there!

  19. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles October 1, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Haha, yes, keep sampling till you get it just right is what I say. Love this sophisticated version of salsa with its delicious add-ons (perfect for game day — am I catching on to this American thing or what? 😉 ). Chipotle is one of my favorite ways to spice up my life ;o). You know I would also love this on my eggs MJ!

    • mj October 1, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

      Sampling is the most fun past of creating in the kitchen! 🙂 Yes, we did have one of the batches during a football game last weekend and now I need to make another batch for eggs this weekend. Thanks for the suggestion!

  20. Shashi @ runninsrilankan October 1, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    I have always wondered about the difference between pico de gallo and salsa – thanks so much for clarifying this! Your pico de gallo sounds amazing – I can only imagine the flavors of the pickled peppers and the cumin-coriander mix together!

    • mj October 1, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

      You are most welcome Shashi! Bobby was the one that sparked that comment because I was thinking salsa and he tasted it and said “Great pico de gallo!”, and he’s so right! The depth of flavors between the peppers, the chipotle and the spice mix is pretty deep. Thanks!

  21. John@Kitchen Riffs October 1, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    Why hasn’t anyone told me about chipotle flakes before?!! I love the idea of these, and am so going to get some. 😉 Great pico de Gallo — looks great, and I know it tastes better! Because you made it. 😉

    • mj October 1, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

      Better late than never John! I know what you mean. I didn’t know about chipotle flakes until Reese sent me some and they are downright awesome! Who needs powder when they can use flakes. You really need to get some. Thanks so much for the sweet comment!

  22. Donalyn@TheCreeksideCook October 1, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    All of my favorite flavors in this, MJ! With buckets of ripe tomatoes still lining the side of my kitchen, I’m sure I can find time to make this 🙂 thanks!

    • mj October 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

      Thanks so much Donalyn! Certainly you’re not complaining about the tomatoes? 🙂 We still have several bowls of tomatoes on the kitchen countertops, so I’m always looking for another use and this pico de gallo turned out to be an excellent use!

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