Green Tomato & Cabbage Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca)

By the time the first peppers ripen each summer, we’re ready to eat Mexican food of every variety here on the farm. One of our favorites is a Pico de Gallo style salsa made with cabbage and green tomatoes.

In my first attempt to recreate the Pico de Gallo we’ve enjoyed at Rancho Chico, I used Napa cabbage and green tomatoes, because it was what we had on hand.  My Pico de Gallo ended up quite sweet and a bit different from the original–perhaps a bit more like Mexican Coleslaw than a Salsa Fresca. But we liked it so much that we make Green Tomato and Cabbage Salsa Fresca every year, keeping the hot peppers to a minimum so we can enjoy the sweet onions and the unique flavor of the green tomatoes.

It’s the first salsa I make each summer, with Napa or green cabbage and the inevitable green tomato that fell off the vine while suckering the tomato plants. And at the end of the season, we rescue the green cherry tomatoes from the vines before they are ruined by frost, and enjoy our last fresh salsa of the year when the hot pepper are at their peak.

Whether you call it Pico de Gallo or Salsa Fresca, you’ll have to try it with green tomatoes sometime—the flavor is distinct and enjoyable!

Green Tomato & Cabbage Pico de Gallo Salsa Fresca

Whether you call it Salsa Fresca or Pico de Gallo, fresh cabbage salsa is a must-have Mexican side dish. Add green tomatoes for a distinctly delicious flavor!
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: mexican coleslaw, pico de gallo, salsa, salsa fresca


  • cabbage green or Napa
  • onions sweet and/or red
  • sweet peppers
  • hot peppers optional, to taste
  • green tomatoes
  • red tomatoes optional
  • cilantro fresh
  • garlic or garlic scapes fresh
  • salt to taste
  • pepper fresh ground, to taste
  • lemon or lime zest or juice


  • Finely chop all vegetables. (Don't grate the cabbage: it will become mush.)
  • Mince garlic and cilantro.
  • Mix garlic and cilantro thoroughly with chopped vegetables.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add lemon or lime juice (or zest) to taste.
  • Serve chilled.


This salsa fresca is often better the second day, after the flavors have had a chance to blend a bit!