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Strongman Eats: Pico De Gallo

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By Robert Lira


Summer is here and if you’re anything like me, you are pretty excited about all of the fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. Hot days calls for keeping appliances off as much as possible and eating cold, refreshing foods. Cold foods, like a salsa or Pico De Gallo, are especially good with a freshly grilled piece of meat. Pico De Gallo is extremely versatile and can be added to virtually any meal, providing a cold, fresh, bright and potentially spicy flavor. It is also very quick and easy to prepare (10-15min) and does not require turning on any appliances, preventing the house from heating up more than necessary.

There are a few ways that you can prepare Pico De Gallo, but note that all Pico De Gallo has the same base ingredients: tomato, onion, cilantro and jalapeño. On top of this you can add other ingredients, such as cucumber or avocado (both of which I will discuss below). Before I go into its preparation, here are a few notes about the dish:


  • If possible, use fresh vegetables from your own garden, local farm or local farmer’s market. Fresh and local vegetables taste significantly better than standard store bought vegetables.


  • I usually use “tomatos on the vine” (for no particular reason), but feel free to use whatever tomatoes you want.


  • Be gentle when cutting the tomatoes. Use a sharp knife and a “sawing” motion when dicing in order to keep the small tomatoes pieces intact.


  • You can add or remove some heat via the jalapeño preparation. For example, you can add extra spicy heat by keeping the ribs/veins and seeds of the pepper. Remove these parts of the pepper in order to create more of a mild flavor.


  • You can eat this immediately upon preparation, but I prefer to let everything marinate for at least a couple hours (preferably overnight) in order to let the flavors develop.


  • There are a couple optional ingredients: lime juice and Mexican Oregano. Personally, I always add the oregano because I think it compliments the Pico De Gallo well. However, I typically only add the lime juice when I make a double batch or bigger. Also, this dish still tastes great if you only use lemon juice and don’t have lime juice around.

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Basic Pico De Gallo: Ingredients


  • 4 med tomatoes
  • ½ med white onion
  • ½ bunch of cilantro
  • 1  jalapeño
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of ½ lime (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mexican oregano (optional)

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Basic Pico De Gallo: Preparation

macro breakdown per gram of Pico De Gallo:  .002g f,   .048g c,   .008g p

(i.e. per 100g serving: .2g f,  4.8g c,  .8g p)


  1. Dice tomatoes, onions and jalapeño. Chop cilantro. Combine in a bowl.
  2. Add lemon and lime juice.
  3. Add salt, pepper and oregano to taste.
  4. Let marinate, add more seasonings if necessary and enjoy.

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Pico De Gallo with Cucumber


macro breakdown per gram of Pico De Gallo with Cucumber:  .002g f,   .047g c,   .008g p

(i.e. per 100g serving: .2g f,  4.7g c,  .8g p)


  • Add ½ cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced to the standard preparation.

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Pico De Gallo with Avocado

macro breakdown per gram of Pico De Gallo with Avocado:  .016g f,   .052g c,   .009g p

(i.e. per 100g serving: 1.6g f,  5.2g c,  .9g p)


  • Add ½ avocado, diced to the standard preparation.

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Pico De Gallo with Avocado & Cucumber

macro breakdown per gram of Pico De Gallo with Avocado & Cucumber:  

.015g f,   .05g c,   .015g p

(i.e. per 100g serving: 1.5g f,  5 g c,  1.5g p)


  • Combine the all the ingredients from above.


Robert Lira is a competitive amateur strongman competitor. He placed 9th at the 2016 Arnold International Amateur World Championship and is the 2x winner of the San Jose Fit Expo Plat+ contest (2015/16). Being a part-time coach at a local Crossfit gym, he has also participated in functional fitness
(Crossfit-like) competitions and powerlifting. Follow Robert’s training on Instagram & Facebook

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