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Spanish banderillas recipe

Spanish banderillas recipe

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Banderillas take their name from the Spanish bullfighter's spear. You'll find them accompanying wine or beer at bars all over Spain.

2 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 12 banderillas

  • 6 to 10 anchovies
  • 2 roasted red peppers, packed in brine
  • 3 pickled green chillies
  • 4 gherkins or cornichons
  • 12 pitted green olives
  • 12 cocktail onions

MethodPrep:10min ›Ready in:10min

  1. Slice the anchovies, red peppers, green chillies and gherkins into bite-sized pieces. Thread all of the ingredients onto wooden cocktail sticks, with one piece of each on each stick.

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Tapas Talk: Banderillas With Pickles

One of the most beautiful things about Spanish cuisine is its simplicity. Each ingredient plays a starring role — bread, tomatoes, cured ham, olives, potatoes and so much more. That’s why we love Spanish Made Simple. It takes the already pared-down cuisine and spins it into something you’ll be delighted to make at home. Learn how to make these banderillas with pickles and get ready for a salty-tangy happy hour nosh that requires no cooking.

Pickled banderillas – customized skewers with your favorite pickles – are another ubiquitous tapa in bars around Spain. We love all pickles in our supermarkets you will find a wide range of brined vegetables from garlic to artichokes, and fish, from mussels to anchovies. The vinegar flavor tastes exciting in your mouth and it is the perfect match for a beer or two, as an aperitivo. In Spain you can find banderillas ready made, but we prefer to make them ourselves and choose the ingredients we fancy.

INGREDIENTS (For 4 people):

400 grams of cod 12 piquillo “peppers”

100 grams of green peppers

250 grams of onion

2 garlic cloves

2 spoons of cream

Pintxos: The Flavors Of Spain, On A Toothpick

Years ago when I lived in Barcelona, I took my mother to a concert at the modernist Palau de la Musica. I remember the tall stained-glass roof above me, undulating and sparkling as the hall reverberated with sound. I remember seeing the awe on visitors' faces as they first beheld the magnificent imagination of architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner — the majestic chandeliers, muses emerging from the wall playing instruments and the ethereal faces and flowers puzzled into the kaleidoscopic glass ceiling.

Pintxos embody everything I love about food: beauty, flavor, imagination, fresh ingredients and community. You do not eat pintxos alone. You eat them in a bar filled with people just off work, hungry and eager to share the day's gossip.

I also remember the pintxos sitting on the counter of the cafe as we left, perfectly sculpted pieces of art, the only food, in my mind, that could match the beauty of the building: bright red peppers floating atop a pillowy mound of tuna and green chives popping out on top perfectly battered bacalao (salt cod) resting on a slice of fresh bread, smothered with orange-hazelnut Romesco sauce Serrano ham, marbled in swirling white and pink with a light cheese beneath it. Each pintxo was arranged in bite-sized petals, spinning out in a circle on each plate like the ceramic flowers etched into the cafe pillars.

In the northern Basque region of Spain, any small plate is considered a pintxo (pronounced peen-tcho). Throughout the rest of Spain, most small plates are called tapas, with the word pintxo reserved for any tapa that is skewered or can be eaten in only a few bites. The term pintxo comes from the verb pinchar, meaning to skewer or puncture.

Pintxos embody everything I love about food: beauty, flavor, imagination, fresh ingredients and community. You do not eat pintxos alone. You eat them in a bar filled with people just off work, hungry and eager to share the day's gossip. You eat pintxos with friends or new acquaintances, following the traditions of txikiteo (pronounced chee-kee-tay-oh), a pintxo pub crawl, eating one or two pintxos in each bar and paying by toothpick on the way out (each toothpick representing one pintxo) before moving to the next destination. In pintxo bars, plates of these skewered delicacies, croquettes, small sandwiches or montaditos (miniature, open-faced sandwiches) are organized on bar tops, so diners can revisit the counter every few minutes to choose a new bite, return to their tables to indulge, sip beer or txakoli (a sparkling Basque wine), count toothpicks and move on.

About The Author

Eve Turow is a freelance writer in New York with a passion for travel, cooking, eating and writing about food. You can find more information on Eve and her culinary adventures at her website.


Author Albert Bevia @ Spain on a Fork



  • 3 small yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • handful freshly chopped parsley


  • 9 large button mushrooms
  • 9 cloves garlic
  • handful fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch black pepper


  • 1 eggplant
  • 1/2 cup plant based milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup virgin olive oil
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch black pepper


  • 1 block organic extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 5 jarred roasted red bell pepper
  • 30 green Spanish olives
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 30 toothpicks


To make the roasted potatoes with spicy tomato sauce, cut 3 small yukon gold potatoes into 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch pieces, add them to a bowl, drizzle in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper, toss together, then add into a baking tray lined with parchment paper, making sure they´re all in a single layer and into a preheated oven, bake + broil option 250 C - 475 F, meanwhile heat a small fry pan with a medium heat and add in 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 2 minutes later add in a 1/4 cup diced onions and 3 cloves minced garlic and mix with the oil, 3 minutes later add in 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika, mix with the garlic and then add in 1 cup canned tomato sauce, season with sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper, give it a quick mix and lower the fire to a low heat, after 20 minutes take the potatoes out of the oven and transfer to a serving dish, pour in the spicy tomato sauce over the potatoes and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley

To make the stuffed mushrooms with garlic & parsley, roughly mince 9 cloves garlic and add into a mortar, roughly chop a handful of fresh parsley and add in 2 tbsp into the mortar, mash down the garlic and parsley until you form a paste, grab 9 cleaned large button mushrooms, remove the stem and using a butter knife make the hole a little bit bigger, add the mushrooms into a baking tray lined with parchment paper, drizzle the mushrooms with a kiss of extra virgin olive oil and season them with sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper, evenly divide the garlic and parsley mixture into each mushroom, add into a preheated oven, bake + broil option 210 C - 425 F for exactly 15 minutes, remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish

To make the fried eggplant with agave syrup, cut off 1/2 inch from each end of an eggplant, then cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds, add the eggplant slices on top of paper towels and season generously with sea salt on both sides, after 15 minutes remove the salt from the pieces of the eggplant using paper towels, grab a bowl and add in 1/2 cup plant based milk, grab another bowl and add in about 1 cup all-purpose flour, season with sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper and mix, coat each slice of eggplant, begin with the milk and then genrously in the flour, heat a frying pan with a medium-high heat and add in 1/3 cup virgin olive oil, after 3 minutes add in the coated eggplant slices (cook in batches to not over-crowd the pan) after 2 1/2 to 3 minutes flip the eggplants to fry the other side, as you finish each batch add them into a plate with paper towels, once they are all cooked transfer to a serving dish and drizzle some agave syrup over the eggplants

To make the garlic tofu banderillas with Spanish olives & roasted peppers, grab 1 block extra firm organic tofu, drain the water, cut the block in half lengthwise and pat down completely dry with paper towels, then cut each piece of tofu into 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch cubes, add the cut tofu into a large bowl, pour in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika and a generous pinch of sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper, toss together, then add to a baking tray lined with parchment paper (making sure they´re all in a single layer), add into a preheated oven, bake + broil option 250 C - 475 F, meanwhile grab 5 jarred roasted red peppers, pat down with paper towels, cut each one in half and then into 1/2 inch pieces, after 15 minutes remove the tofu from the oven, to assemble each mini skewer, grab 1 piece of roasted pepper and pierce with a fork, then add in 1 green Spanish olive and one cube of tufu, continue to assemble until all are done, transfer to a serving dish

Recipe Notes

Get the Extra Virgin Spanish Olive Oil I used to make these 4 vegan tapas dishes.

Disclosure: At Spain on a Fork, we offer affiliate links to help you find what you need to re-create our recipes. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission, but you still pay the same price. Learn more here.

Olives from Spain Tapas

For our Spanish tapas, we used different combinations of three varieties of Olives from Spain.

The dark, ripe Hojiblanca Olives from Spain are flavourful and have a pleasant almond-like aftertaste with just a hint of bitterness. Hojiblanca Olives from Spain are great in recipes such as marinades, stews, or even desserts, but they also are perfect served on a skewer.

Manzanilla Olives from Spain have a smooth texture and are not bitter. This popular variety easily pairs with almost any ingredient – peppers, anchovies, cheese, etc. And since its pit is easily removed, Manzanilla from Spain are often marinated or stuffed.

Finally, on our larger skewers, we also used Gordal Olives from Spain. Because the Gordal Olives from Spain variety have an irresistible, delicate flavour, they are often served as a table olive and are perfect for all kinds of tapas and appetizers.

Mackerel Fillets in Olive Oil

Our tender, delicate mackerel fillets in olive oil (filetes de caballa), hand-prepared and hand-packed and glorious. They're luscious and large and need very little accompaniment to become a tapa of great renown. Just look at that photo of only an open tin, a moment prior to being eaten by the window in the afternoon sun. It was delicious.

If you'd like to experience an old favorite in an entirely new way, see the serving suggestion below of Mack, Mac 'n' Cheese. Yes, you read that correctly. We found a way to add a whole second mack.



the title of our newest tinned fish now belongs to this fish

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For many moons we have promised additional serving suggestions to what you find below. Eventually, this will actually happen.

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Turrón blando

Turrón is a traditional Spanish sweet usually eaten as a Christmas dessert. It mainly consists of almonds, honey, sugar and egg white. There are two traditional types:

Turrón duro: a thick almond nougat candy shaped into a rectangular tablet

Turrón blando: a smooth almond nougat candy, similar to an almond paste shaped into a rectangular tablet

Turrón has been very popular for centuries, even outside of Spain. Because of that, we have included easy recipes for you to prepare it. Both types are easy to prepare, you just have to be ready to stir. Below, we provide the recipe for turrón blando. Click here to see the recipe for turrón duro.

Pinchos and Pintxos

The Spanish pincho is originally from the Basque country, where it is called pintxo. Also defined by the RAE (Spanish Royal Academy), the pintxo is a “portion of food consumed as an appetizer, which is sometimes pierced with a toothpick.” In other words, pintxos are assembled snacks, in which a ‘toothpick’ (called a pincho) is used to attach one or more ingredients to a small slice of bread, hence the term pinchar.

There is also banderillas, a type of pintxo where the ingredients are stuck on a toothpick without the slice of bread, usually made with pickled vegetables, fish, and olives.

Currently, pintxo is found throughout Spain, but it is to the north that it represents an essential pillar of local food culture. In addition to the Basque Country, which includes San Sebastián and Bilbao, the regions of Navarra, Cantabria, and La Rioja are also famous for the culture and quality of the pintxos.

Be careful not to confuse Spanish pinchos (pintxos) with Latin American pinchos, very popular in countries like Puerto Rico and Venezuela. The Latin version is more similar to the pinchitos, grilled meat skewers, another traditional appetizer in Andalusia.

5 ways to throw a pintxos party

Depending on who you ask, pintxo translates to ‘spike' (hence the use of toothpicks through foods), small plates, or the one we subscribe to an excuse to socialise.

The Basque country and Navarre's take on finger food hails from the north of Spain, with the stunning coastal town of San Sebastian arguably its HQ.

For the transient tourist, pintxos (pronounced peen-tchos) could easily be mistaken for tapas, but the bite-size, flavour-jammed morsels vary slightly from their southern counterparts. The town’s strong fishing history means seafood is a star contender, with salt cod (bacalao), octopus, mussels, anchovies, lobster and hake all abounding.

In San Sebastian particularly, Spanish chefs have applied French nouvelle cuisine techniques to their tapa creations, lending more time to presentation.

The Basque country is dotted with bars where jocular locals and tourists elbow it out to swipe small plates off the counter. The floor is a sea of crumbs and napkins beer and wine is swilled with loud conviviality. Pintxos is not a meal to be savoured – diners usually move onto the next bar after a few plates for the next round: it’s the ultimate progressive meal.

While we save for our next trip to the land of siestas and sangria, we do so without abstaining from this laidback fete par excellence. Here’s everything you need to know to throw your own pintxos party - sans the view. Sorry.

You don’t eat pintxos alone

Squeeze in as many people as you can to really recreate that stuffy, sweaty San Sebastian pintxos bar vibe. If you’re feeling game, add a few neighbours or folks you’re not so acquainted with to the fold – pintxos bars are always teeming with people just off work, hungry and keen to chat. You’re almost certain to walk away with new acquaintances at best this is not a romantic meal for two.

First, get rid of the furniture

This is also not a sit-down dinner. Bar tables are the order of the day and if you don’t have those, make use of any counters or bench tops, which will house all your lovely, overcrowded raciones (plates to share). Put the dining chairs away, too your home will never look so spacious.

There are no set rules

The only limit is your imagination! Go with piquant flavour pairings, plenty of seafood, and food on sticks. A gilda (a skewered, oily, olive, anchovy and pickled chilli combo) is one such Bilbao hit, as is the bacon and sausage fry-up, the cazuelitas. Slider-like buns also appear on many pintxos menus, so don’t be afraid to give yours a Spanish flavour injection with help from pimiento and paprika. We love Mate in Spain and Encasa Deli in Sydney for stocking up our Spanish spice and smallgoods rack.

A Banderillas is a must

Spain’s answer to the grazing board is crammed with marinated artichoke hearts, Piquillo peppers, white tuna and anchovies, pickled herring, jamón, food skewered onto toothpicks and bread with garlicky, tomatoey smears. Banderillas encourage mingling faster than any icebreaker - what’s more communal than dropping squid juice on someone you barely know?

Finally, the menu!

As we mentioned above, there are no hard and fasts, but should you need a little pintxos inspo, look no further:

Spiced pork skewers (pintxos morunos)

This speedy, skewered barbecue pork is the ultimate no-fuss party food. The zingy roast capsicum mayo (salsa de pimiento) on top will have guests lifting their elbowing game. Recipe here.