Goldenberry Pico de Gallo

This Goldenberry Pico de Gallo combines goldenberries with more typical tomatoes, red onion, chiles, and cilantro in a simple, vibrant fresh salsa. Its sweet-tart flavor is perfect as a dip with chips, on fish tacos, or spooned over grilled chicken and fish.

A terracotta stoneware bowl with goldenberry pico de gallo, copper spoon, chips, and print napkin.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – Recipe Inspiration

I wax poetic about Peru, and at the risk of being repetitive, here I go again… Goldenberries first appeared on my radar at Hanz – a little sandwich and craft beer spot in Cuzco. The owner/chef personally brought a beautiful frozen goldenberry (husk intact) dipped in dark chocolate.

This little treat stuck in my mind, and the first time I saw them in the US, I knew I had to create a new recipe or two featuring goldenberries. This simple, fresh goldenberry pico de gallo is only the first!

What are Goldenberries?

Physalis Peruviana – aka “goldenberry,” “Inca berry,” “aguaymanto,” or “pichuberry” – is a sweet-tart vitamin and fiber-rich fruit native to the Peruvian Andes. This pretty little fruit is wrapped in a husk (calyx), and it looks a little bit like a small tomatillo. Chefs are known to use them to garnish their desserts, and when dipped in dark chocolate, they’re sublime.

Are goldenberries healthy?

In short, YES! Here’s the “reader’s digest condensed” version. The bottom line is that goldenberries contain numerous vitamins and minerals in small amounts, and they really stand out for:

  • fiber – including pectin, a soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and improve digestion
  • antioxidants – including vitamin C (the fresher the better), carotenoids (thus the vitamin A content), and polyphenols
  • potassium – helpful in lowering blood pressure

We are also playing with dried goldenberries. Interestingly, these little fruits contain 2 grams of protein per serving due to their seeds. They’re definitely a healthy snack/ingredient, though I will stop short of calling them a “super food.” For more information see Goldenberries are super, but please don’t call them a superfood!

  • red onion – I almost always soak my red onions in a bowl with ice, water, and salt (see salsa criolla for more detail).
  • goldenberries – I love the sweet-tart flavor of fresh goldenberries, and there really is no substitution. If you still want to make a fresh pico de gallo, and can’t find them, this is a similar recipe that doesn’t include goldenberries.
  • tomatoes – I use tiny tomatoes, and normally in a mix of colors because I love colorful food! Feel free to use your favorite!
  • cilantro – Thin stems and leaves only please! Woody stems are bitter…
  • chile – My favorite chile for pico de gallo is the Fresno chile. I can’t always get them. However, I can usually get red jalapeños. That is what I used on photo day. Jalapeno chiles, serranos, New Mexico green chile will work.
  • citrus juice – I chose a blood orange and a lime. The goldenberries are sweet-tart, and I didn’t want the salsa too acidic. We are really happy with this blend. If you can get sour oranges, that would be more authentic. I usually use a combination of orange and lime to get closest to the Peruvian sour orange.
Goldenberries and tomatoes sliced, red onions, minced red chile, citrus juice, and chopped cilantro…
  • Prepare the salsa ingredients – Soak thin-sliced red onion in a bowl with water, ice, and a palmful of salt. Slice the goldenberries and tomatoes in half lengthwise or as desired. Mince the chile(s). Chop a big pile of cilantro. Squeeze the citrus.
A large glass bowl with sliced red onion, sliced goldenberries and tomato, minced red chile, and chopped cilantro.
All ingredients ready to be combined in a glass bowl…
  • Finish the salsa – Add all salsa ingredients to an appropriately sized bowl. Combine thoroughly. Taste for acidity and seasoning. If you like a more acidic salsa, add more lime juice. Adjust salt and pepper as desired. Enjoy!
A Peruvian pottery salt bowl, tortilla chips, salsa in a terracotta pot, and a print napkin.

How long can I keep this fresh salsa? We always enjoy it the next day. Beyond that, the flavors get strong.

What can I serve my salsa with? I make tortilla chips in my microwave on the “slim fry” setting. I spray tortillas with cooking spray, salt them, cut them in wedges, and slim fry them for 10-15 minutes. I am looking forward to posting a recipe for fish tacos that specifies this salsa, and I know it’s good on grilled chicken and fish.

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Yield: 2 cups

Golden Berry Pico de Gallo

Feature image of salsa in a terracotta bowl with tortilla chips and a print napkin.

A South American twist on fresh Mexican pico de gallo with healthy goldenberries!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 small red onion
  • 5 ounces goldenberries
  • 5 ounces tiny tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped (about 1/2 bunch)
  • 1 to 2 chiles - Fresno, red or green jalapeno, rocoto, etc.
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)

Instructions

    1. Prepare the salsa ingredients - Soak thin-sliced red onion in a bowl with water, ice, and a palmful of salt. Slice the goldenberries and tomatoes in half lengthwise or as desired. Mince the chile(s). Chop a big pile of cilantro. Squeeze the citrus.
    2. Finish the salsa - Add all salsa ingredients to an appropriately sized bowl. Combine thoroughly. Taste for acidity and seasoning. If you like a more acidic salsa, add more lime juice. Adjust salt and pepper as desired. Enjoy!

Notes

Macronutrients are an approximation only from MyFitnessPal.com, with 8 servings.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 50Total Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1g

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17 Comments

  1. I would love to make this. I’m assuming golden berries are different than mini yellow tomatoes? My grocer does not have “golden berries”. I see dried golden berries online. Would those work?

    1. Hi Tracy! Unfortunately, I don’t think the dried goldenberries will work. The recipe is a pico de gallo (fresh) salsa, and I think the dried ones will work better in a cooked salsa. I may work on one! I keep them in my pantry. The fresh goldenberries have the texture of mini tomatoes, but they have a tart, citrus-like flavor. I do think you could substitute some mini yellow tomatoes, and get good results. Let me know if you try it!

  2. Where I live, we call these berries ground cherries – and I never thought of using them in salsa! This is a beautiful recipe, and I loved learning about the history of these little berries.

    1. Thank you Ksenia! I had not heard of “ground cherries!” Aguaymanto or physalis are common in Peru. Thanks for sharing that little bit of info!

  3. I can only once in a while find goldenberries, but now that I have this recipe, I will certainly be on the lookout for them – this salsa sounds fabulous!

  4. I love Goldenberries! And this Goldenberry Pico de Gallo recipe of yours is one perfect delicious way to enjoy it.

  5. Love pico de gallo. This is an interesting version. Looks so gorgeous too. I will try making this soon!

  6. Wow, this looks so delicious, and seeing this makes me hungry.
    I’ll be making this for my mom as my gift for her on Mother’s Day. Thank you!

  7. The pictures in your post look really great. I hope my salsa will come out just like yours. But even if it does not – I love the combination and will enjoy it just the same. Many thanks for sharing this recipe. I am looking forward to trying pico de gallo.

  8. I am so glad I found your recipe. Love pico de gallo and love goldenberries, I get them often. Have all the other ingredients, making it today. Thanks so much!!

    1. Thank you for taking time to comment Jenny! I wasn’t sure how people would respond to goldenberries, but the response has been positive thus far!

  9. I love gooseberries buy them often, and make a wonderful addition to a pico de gallo. Sweet and citrusy, what a great twist on a classic. I like the idea of using rocoto as I like my salsa spicy.

    1. Yay! I’m delighted to hear from you Adriana! These wonderful fruits are still a bit obscure, and I wasn’t sure if people would be looking for recipes using them… I’m working on more!