Lecsó is a traditional Hungarian pepper stew made with peppers and paprika, two of the most loved ingredients in Hungary. It's an incredibly delicious tomato and pepper stew that's just perfect for a quick summer meal.
If you love all things peppers, you must try this traditional Hungarian comfort food that's incredibly popular during the summer months.
Think of it as a Hungarian ratatouille but made with just sliced peppers and tomatoes.
There are many variations of these roasted Hungarian peppers, but all involve roasting peppers and then adding sweet paprika and fresh tomatoes.
This is a very cheap, rustic dish that packs so much flavour you may end up mopping it straight from the pan with a chunk of crusty bread.
Why you'll love this Hungarian lecsó
- It's super easy to make. You only need a handful of simple ingredients to make lecsó.
- It's the perfect summer lunch. This is the perfect recipe to use up any fresh peppers and tomatoes when they're in season.
- It's incredibly flavourful. Even though it's made with very few ingredients, the flavours are amazing as they develop during cooking.
Ingredients and substitutions
Oil — Sunflower or canola oil are both neutral oils that are great for this recipe. You can make lecsó with olive oil, too, but the flavour may distract a bit from the rest of the ingredients.
Onion — Yellow and white onions are both good options for this vegan pepper stew. Slice the onion finely into strips and use more than one if you like.
Bell peppers — Traditional lecsó is made with a mix of peppers of different colours. I make it with red and green peppers, but you can use red and orange or just one colour. Pointed red peppers are another idea.
Garlic — Use fresh garlic sliced finely into this lecsó recipe.
Sweet Hungarian paprika — Paprika is the national spice of Hungary and there are several degrees of heat and pungency available.
All of them are sweet, though, which makes smoked paprika unsuitable for lecsó. If you can't find Hungarian paprika, use any other type of sweet paprika.
Fresh tomatoes — Ripe, juicy tomatoes are perfect in lecsó, which is why this is an excellent dish to cook during summer.
If you don't have any fresh tomatoes, you can substitute them with a can of quality chopped tomatoes and their juices.
How to make vegan Hungarian pepper stew
Heat the oil in a large, deep pan and saute the onion for 5 minutes over medium heat until softened.
Add the bell peppers and stir to combine. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the bell peppers soften and become slightly roasted.
Stir in the garlic, sweet Hungarian paprika, salt and pepper and continue to cook for a minute.
Add the diced tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are all broken up and the liquid has mostly evaporated.
Adjust the seasoning and serve with your favourite crusty bread.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to 3-5 days in an airtight container.
- Lecsó is delicious both hot and cold. you can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- This Hungarian pepper stew freezes well for up to 3 months.
Recipe notes and tips
- Lecsó is great as an appetizer or light lunch. You can make it a full meal by serving it with some vegan sausages or meatballs.
- To make lecsó heartier, add some chopped zucchini or aubergine to the dish.
- If you want to make lecsó spicy, add some red chilli flakes with the garlic.
If you liked this vegan Hungarian pepper stew, you might also like some of my other easy vegan recipes with peppers:
- Instant Pot Ratatouille
- Ciambotta (Italian Vegetable Stew)
- Creamy Vegan Fajita Pasta
- Vegan Jamaican Gungo Peas Stew
- Vegan Chickpea Chili
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