Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #129: Garden Fresh Pico

by Leah Gramlow. Leah is a dietitian and volunteer at Open Arms for various client related projects. She is looking forward to beginning the Oregon State University’s MPH program for Health Promotion and Health Behavior this fall.

I use this pico on top of just about everything I eat including tortilla chips, beans and rice, fish tacos, and eggs. It adds color and flavor, not to mention tons of healthy naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. Cilantro, scallions, and coriander are beneficial for digestive health and immune function; and those sweet, delicious tomatoes are high in vitamin C and vitamin A (important for cell regeneration, including skin cells!)

This pico is even more satisfying when you use ingredients from your garden or from a local farmer. Tomatoes, cilantro, and scallions are staples in my garden. If they are not ready to harvest in my own garden, I purchase organic, and sustainably grown ingredients from the local coop or farmer’s market.

EDITORS NOTE: This week’s recipe is all about eating without turning on your oven. Pair this with some blue corn tortilla chips, a large icy glass of fizzy water, a lawn chair set inside a kiddie pool, some fun music and you’ll be all set.

Garden Fresh Pico


2 cups grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
4-5 scallions
1 handful of fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. coriander
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 lime – zested and juiced
1 Tbsp. olive oil


  1. Wash the tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, and lime under cold running water. 
  2. Dice tomatoes and set aside in a medium sized bowl. 
  3. Thinly slice scallions on the diagonal, and add them to the tomatoes. 
  4. Remove some of the larger, thicker stems of cilantro, and discard. Chop up the cilantro (some remaining stems are okay as long as they are chopped small enough. It adds a little extra texture!) 
  5. Add the cilantro, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt to the tomato and scallion mixture. 
  6. If you have a small grater, zest the limes before cutting them. The zest will add more flavor if you choose to add it. Then cut and squeeze the lime over your mixture. 
  7. Finally, stir all the ingredients up until the ingredients look evenly distributed. Drizzle olive oil over the mixture, cover, and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving so the flavors can develop.

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