Hungarian Vegetable Stew – Lecso

Crazy week! I know I keep saying that but its true.  On Tuesday night last week I flew out to Fremont, California to interview with a company all day Wednesday and then flew out and got home after 1am on Wednesday night… long, weary travel. The good news is that I had a really fun time! The GREAT news is is that I got the job!!! I accepted on Friday and will train in starting in a couple weeks! Super happy 🙂 The only problem is I will be out of the state for training three weeks over the next couple months so I may be a little light on the recipes but I will keep you all updated on my life, travels, and food that I am eating along the way!

This weekend I got to spend some time with my girlfriends from college, picking apples in a really adorable orchard and then a little wine tasting right next door! It was super fun and I have an AWESOME treat coming your way later this week to make with any fresh apples you may have picked or gotten from the farmer’s market recently!

Today, however, I am going to share one of my absolute favorite late summer/early fall dishes that my mom has been making my entire life.  It is technically called lecso, and is a traditional Hungarian vegetable stew full of ripe tomatoes and peppers!  When my parents were in college they spent as much time as they possibly could in Hungary and learned some really tasty dishes that they brought back and made for us kids as we grew up.  We have always had lecso around this time each year with the fresh veggies from my mom’s garden and every single time it brings back awesome memories.  You can have it as a side dish to whatever meat you are having for dinner or what we like to do is add sausage to it to make it a full meal.  We used to serve it over rice or mashed potatoes but now that those are off the list it would be great over mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice!

My advice is to head down to the farmers market this week and pick up as many tomatoes and long, yellow peppers are you can! You probably have the rest of the ingredients at home already and it is since to throw together. It is the perfect thing for the cooler nights we have been getting in Minnesota and I hope you like it as much as my entire family does!

Sweet Potatoes and Smiles, The Freckled Foodie

Hungarian Vegetable Stew – Lecso


Yum yum


Hungarian Vegetable Stew – Lecso

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Recipe type: Entree, side dish


  • 2 tbsp Bacon grease or other cooking fat (bacon is BEST)
  • 1 large yellow or sweet Onion
  • 8-10 long yellow Peppers (mild Banana peppers work best)
  • 5 large Tomatoes (biggest, ripest you can find)
  • 2 tbsp Sweet Hungarian Paprika (important or the flavor will be wrong!)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 c Water
  • 4 cooked Pork Sausages, sliced into coins


  1. Quarter onion and then halve each quarter, set aside
  2. Quarter peppers lengthwise, remove membranes and seeds, and then chop into inch size pieces, set aside
  3. Heat cooking fat over medium heat
  4. Add onion and cook until translucent but not browned, stirring frequently
  5. Add peppers and let cook for 25 minutes stirring occasionally until soft
  6. While the peppers are cooking, you will need to blanch your tomatoes – slice an X into the bottom of the tomatoes and place them into boiling water for less than 1 minute, immediately remove and put them in an ice bath for 30 seconds
  7. Peel the tomatoes, quarter them, and halve them removing all the seeds as you go
  8. Add the tomatoes, paprika, and water to the peppers and onions and stir to combine
  9. Let cook for another 5-10 minutes to let the flavors meld and to cook the tomatoes through
  10. Add the sausage if you choose, let them heat up for a few more minutes and serve!
  11. Leftovers are awesome reheated on the stove too

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Comments: 13

  1. Amy Ayers September 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm Reply

    Congrats on the new job!! Sounds like it’s going to be a fantastic move for you.

  2. Naz (@CinnamonEats) September 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm Reply

    Congrats on the job! Also just left a comment on your FB page but love the recipe! My husband is Hungarian and makes this all the time 🙂 It’s one of my favourite Hungarian dishes too 🙂

    • thefreckledfoodie September 17, 2013 at 12:05 am Reply

      Naz, Thank you so much, I am very excited! I’m glad there are other people out there who can vouch for how wonderful this recipe is!

  3. Sue Kovach September 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm Reply

    congrats on your new job and your move

  4. maya October 30, 2013 at 11:33 am Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    just found your blog from the whole30 bloggers page.
    I have lots of polish sweet paprika. do you think it would be similar to the hungarian?

    • thefreckledfoodie October 30, 2013 at 8:05 pm Reply

      Maya, I have never had polish sweet paprika but I assume it would be a similar flavor and probably pretty delicious!

  5. Jessica March 5, 2014 at 4:19 pm Reply

    I stumbled along on your website. I really like it. I would like to try a lot of the foods, but my husband has cholesterol problems and has to shy away from meats. I am however both pre diabetic and have high cholesterol too. I can’t seem to win. Do you happen to have any ideas on recipes I can use for both my husband and I? I would really appreciate it. Thanks

    • thefreckledfoodie March 5, 2014 at 9:07 pm Reply

      Jessica, I’m glad you found me! I would highly recommend doing some research on dietary cholesterol and high cholesterol, start here Any of the recipes on my website would help you and your husband towards a healthier lifestyle and removing grains, dairy, and processed foods will work wonders! Hope this helps!

  6. Achilles L. Stand May 10, 2015 at 4:34 pm Reply

    I Grew up to a mother that made and preserved this every fall!! Ate, throughout the year! I learned and expanded! Yes, but……we were informed, traditionally, nothing but Hungarian Hot Peppers (Hot banana peppers) Magyar Colbas is also a Must! Onion and Tomato!! But, she also swears to have……say…..3 to 4 Sweat Bell Peppers (Yellow, Red or Orange) along with about a a Dozen Hot Peppers! 3 Mid onions. She also added, Hungarian Sausage with the Magyar Colbas! 3-4 cloves of garlic! A ton of Hungarian paprika! Also, either with the pasta pellets, egg, but more likely, with rice! Just loved it!! now, she has 2 sons and a daughter passing it on, and a handful of Grand Kids!! Served with breaded Pork Culets and Bread!! MMMM!!

    • thefreckledfoodie May 10, 2015 at 10:10 pm Reply

      I love hearing stories like this! It is one of my very favorite things to make with my momma 🙂 I’ll have to try adding a few more ingredients next time!

  7. Alexa Burt September 25, 2018 at 10:08 am Reply

    My Hungarian husband makes Lecso every summer when his garden of tomatoes and peppers is ready. It is a true favorite. We use a lot of minced garlic too. Leftovers are the best! Traveling in Hungary, I’ve also seen Lecso as a “sauce” over pork chops and chicken. Also delicious. We usually serve with noodles.

    • thefreckledfoodie October 10, 2018 at 12:25 pm Reply

      Yum! I’ll have to try it over meat or noodles sometime!

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