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Grilled tuna skewers with salsa verde {Pinchos de atún con salsa verde}

Tuna skewers with salsa verde recipe

An easy recipe for grilled tuna skewers with salsa verde, an anchovy and herb sauce made fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, thyme), arugula, anchovies, onion, garlic, lime juice, and olive oil. The tuna skewers are marinated with cumin, smoked paprika, lemon pepper, garlic powder, and dried oregano.

Receta en Español

Tuna skewers recipe

 These tuna skewers are very easy to make and quick to grill. The salsa verde is one of those just throw everything in the blender type of sauces – and can be made ahead of time. So, overall a perfect combination for a quick meal. You can also make these grilled fish skewers with salmon, halibut, sturgeon, mahi-mahi, etc.

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Tuna skewers with herb and anchovy salsa verde

I love any type of pinchos -what we call kebabs or skewers in Ecuador- doesn’t matter if they have meat, seafood, vegetables or fruits, I just love putting something on a stick and grilling it. One of the restaurant/bars that I miss the most in my hometown of Loja serves amazing pinchos – I dream about them!

Pinchos de atun or tuna skewers

I am so excited and happy to be going back to Ecuador for a visit at the end of April. It has been way too long since the last time I was there – almost 5 years – and I have so many things I want to eat and cook while I am there. My goal is to be a culinary tourist (and also to see my family and friends, do some hiking and beach visiting -as long as it involves food being consumed).

Anchovy and herb salsa verde recipe

My brother (the lucky bastard) travels to Ecuador at least once a year and stays for a few months each time. Every time he goes I email him a long list of things to do for me – mainly involving taking photos of food and obtaining recipes. As well as requests for local cookbooks, certain kitchen gadgets and coffee/food products from my mom.

My requests aren’t always fulfilled as he manages to spend all his time partying and returns with about 5 blurry pictures completely unrelated to my requests(and the excuse that his camera broke and he only got it fixed the last week he was there). He does manage to bring me back some coffee each time (probably because my mom takes care of that).

Tuna skewers or kebabs with salsa verde

So, I am going to make a huge list of all the things I want to eat (and photograph), of all the places I want to go visit (restaurants, bakeries, markets, farms), of all the things I want my mom to teach me how to make (her homemade bread, chocolate cake, enchiladas) and all the recipes I want the mothers of my friends to show me how to cook.

Tuna skewers

I’ve already realized that two weeks is not long enough to do everything I want, so I’m starting to prioritize and narrow down what I will be doing and where I will be going. As long as I can survive the flight with all the gazillion connections to get from Seattle to Quito (and traveling with an impatient grouchy three year old) everything will be fine; and I will finally be able to stuff myself with the pinchos – and all the other food – I’ve been dreaming about.

Easy recipe for tuna skewers

 Making a good pincho or grilled skewer has two important parts:first, a good seasoning mix, and second, a great sauce to go with the pincho. For the seasoning mix I used a combination of cumin, paprika, lemon pepper, garlic powder and dried oregano, next I rubbed the tuna with some olive oil and this mix. I needed something to add at the tip of each skewer and was going to use cherry tomatoes but instead used some kumquats, which actually turned out really well; the grilled kumquats are great with the tuna.

For the anchovy and herb salsa, I used some parsley, cilantro, arugula,thyme, anchovies, red onion, garlic, lime juice and olive oil. I would have also added some basil if I had some available. I know that anchovies are one of those ingredients that are on many people’s hate list, they used to be on mine until a few years ago.

If you are thinking about learning to like them this sauce is perfect because the taste of anchovy is very mild (you can add more if you want it stronger) and the strong fishiness is softened by the herbs and lime. This green salsa is a great sauce to accompany any type of seafood. It works very well with baked salmon as well as grilled shrimp skewers.You can prepare this tuna skewers as part of a full meal or also make them smaller and serve them as appetizers with the sauce.This recipe yields 4 grilled tuna skewers.

Grilled tuna skewers with salsa verde

Recipe for grilled tuna skewers with salsa verde or anchovy herb sauce. The tuna skewers or kebabs are marinated with cumin, paprika, lemon pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano.
4.83 from 17 votes
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Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: International, Latin fusion, Spanish
Keyword: Grilled tuna, Pinchos, Salsa verde, Skewers
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 as a main course or 8 as an appetizer


For the anchovy and herb salsa verde

  • 1 bunch parsley leaves only – no stems
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves and small stems only
  • 1 small bunch or 1 cup of arugula leaves
  • 3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 ounce of anchovies about 5-6 filets
  • ¼ red onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • ½ cup olive oil

For the grilled tuna skewers

  • ~1 ½ lb fresh tuna cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 kumquats can also use pineapple cubes or cherry tomatoes
  • Red onion pieces


For the anchovy salsa verde:

  • To make the salsa verde combine all of the ingredients in a blender and mix until you obtain a smooth sauce. The salsa verde can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve.

For the grilled tuna skewers:

  • Pre-heat your grill.
  • Mix the ground cumin, paprika, lemon pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano and salt in a small dish.
  • Rub the tuna cubes with olive oil and the seasoning mix.
  • Place the tuna cubes on the skewers, placing a piece of red onion in between each piece of fish; add a kumquat on the end of each skewer.
  • Grill the tuna skewers or kebabs, exact time will vary depending on your grill, but tuna cooks very quickly and should be ready very quickly.
  • Serve the skewers with the anchovy and herb salsa verde.


Can also use salmon, halibut, sturgeon, mahi-mahi or other fish/seafood.
Grilled tuna skewers

Step by step preparation photos for grilled tuna skewers with salsa verde

Herbs for salsa verde
Combine all the ingredients in the blender
Anchovy and herb salsa verde preparation
Anchovy and herb salsa verde recipe
Fresh tuna for grilling
Cubed tuna for kebabs
Seasoning mix with cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic, and lemon pepper
Season the tuna cubes with the spice mix
Making tuna kebabs or skewers
Grilling tuna skewers
Grilling tuna skewers
Homemade grilled tuna skewers
Pinchos de atun or tuna kebabs with kumquat
Anchovy and herb salsa verde
Grilled tuna skewers
Homemade grilled tuna skewers with salsa verde
Pincho de atun or tuna skewers
Grilled tuna skwewers with herb salsa verde

Other recipes you might like:

Carne en palito or meat on a stick

Grilled salmon with avocado salsa

Grilled sturgeon with lime cilantro sauce

Grilled asparagus with parsley sauce

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  1. I made Pinchos this weekend and it was great! It was so colorful and tasty! Although, I didn’t make the green sauce but it still came out tasty since you marinate the tuna with all the required spices. Also, half of the crowd loved the kumquats (I loved it!) and the other half weren’t too fond of it. I think you have to just like or hate the fruit. I’m going to try making half kumquats and half pineapple next time. Thanks for this great recipe.

    PS: I have printed out your Caldo de bolas recipe.. I will try it this weekend. Doesn’t sound too easy.. wish me luck! :)

  2. Found your blog through foodbuzz. Absolutely love it. Eventhough I am a vegetarian, I love cooking meat, especially for my husband, so blogs like these will inspire me! :) I even started a new blog “So I Married a Meat-a-holic.. ” :D

    I am adding you to my blogroll!! :)

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