Lecsó (pronounce: letcho) is one of the most popular dishes of Hungary among vegans. It’s quite similar to the classic French ratatouille recipe with fewer ingredients. Each region has their own version of their Lecsó, in my region they prepare it with spicy sausage and “tarhonya,” which is a special kind of pasta called egg drops in English. Some people consume it with bread, some with rice. Some use frankfurter instead of sausage and there are regions that add mushrooms too. The leftovers are usually re-cooked with eggs to make it more filling. The main ingredient is a lots of paprika. To bring out the most of this dish you can use a mixture of hot, sweet and smokey paprika.
Vegan Lecsó (Hungarian Ratatouille With Tomatoes & Paprika)
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 medium onion, diced
- 800 g paprika, cut into thin strips
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1 tbs paprika powder (sweet or spicey or smokey)
- vegan frankfurter
1. In a huge pot heat up the oil and caramelize the onions, then add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and mix in the paprika powder. Always remove your pot from the heat before mixing in the paprika powder, otherwise it will get burnt and will taste bitter.
3. If you mixed it well, put the pot back over the heat and add paprika, salt, pepper and bay leaf. 4. Cover the pot and let it cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes.
5. Then add the tomato pieces to the paprika and cook for an additional 10 minutes. You can slice your vegan sausage and cook together. I make mine with vegan franfurter now. Sometimes I cook it with the lecsó, other times I just add to my plate later. It depends on your taste. 🙂 If you want to try with mushrooms, add it to the paprika along with the tomato for the last 10 minutes.
I used the traditional tarhonya/”egg drops.” Don’t worry if you can’t get them, any other kind of small sized pasta does it perfectly. Or use quinoa, rice or bread.
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Photo: Imola Toth