Tomato and Peppers Stew – Hungarian Lecho

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It’s summer here! Tomatoes, peppers, and zucchinis are back in season! This tomato and peppers stew (Hungarian Lecho or Lescho) dish uses the freshest summer ingredients like ripe tomatoes, green and banana peppers, and luscious zucchinis.  When it simmers, the house smells incredible.

Hungarian Lecho (Tomato and Pepper Stew with Zucchini and Sausage) in a white bowl with spoon.

The steps to make this Hungarian Lecho or Lescho (Tomato and Peppers Stew) are super easy:

  • In a dutch oven or other heavy pot heat up one tablespoon of oil;
  • Add chopped one large Spanish Onion and cook for 3 minutes;
  • Add 2 chopped garlic and 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme and cook for another minute;
  • Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and 1 cup of cubed cooked sausage (if using one) and cook for 5 minutes;
  • Add cubed tomatoes (6 Roma tomatoes), peppers (2 banana and 1 green), and summer medium zucchini;
  • Add 1 cup of tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon of sweet and smoked paprika (you can add 1/4 teaspoon of hot Hungarian paprika for a spicier version);
  • Season with salt and pepper, cover, and let it simmer for 20 minutes;
  • Serve with fresh bread or rice.

That’s it. Your perfect summer dinner is done. The printable version of the recipe is at the bottom of this post.

How Did I learn How to Make Classic Hungarian Lecho

When I was in law school, back in my beloved home city of Wroclaw, Poland; one of my German friends came to study at my University. Her mother was Polish but she was born in Germany. Her grandmother had lived in Wroclaw and she would visit her often when she was a little girl. As girls, we use to play together a lot.

She had been studying the law in Germany and when she learned that there was an opportunity to do a year abroad, she wisely chose Wroclaw. This was a ton of fun! Not only I was happy to hang with her often, but also thanks to her I met some pretty cool people from throughout Europe. As an exchange student, she was a member of the international student organization and therefore opened those doors to me.

One of the best ideas that she had during her year was to organize ‘International Tuesday’s Dinners.’ Every Tuesday about 10 people from different countries would meet for dinner at her place. One of them would cook a meal from his or her native country and the rest would bring wine and cleaned up the dishes.

We had people from France, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Hungary, and few other countries, which I cannot remember right now. There were countless nights of amazing conversations, great food, and wine (a winning combination).

Two dishes that really rooted in my mind were: (i) Chicken with white wine and cream sauce prepared by one of the French girls (which until this day I continue to make often for my family as a quick weeknight dinner), and (ii) a  Tomato and Peppers Stew – Hungarian Lecho (Lescho), prepared by a guy who was originally from Hungary but moved to Germany for work. This dish was absolutely amazing!

Tomato and Peppers Stew with Sausage in a serving bowl (Hungarian Lecho)

Hungarian Lecho is very popular in Poland

This tomato and peppers stew, a classic Hungarian Lecho, was a very popular dish in Poland (I’ve even seen people referring to it as “Polish Lecho”. I assume the reason being was that many Poles would vacation by the Hungarian lake Balaton and therefore brought some of these popular dishes back home.

My family went there on few times and I very much remember the smell of cooked peppers and tomatoes everywhere I went. I used to make this dish often, back in Poland, and I must admit had I totally forgot about it! How did that happen???

Recently I went to my local farmers’ market and while standing in line to get some peppers and zucchini I heard my native language spoken. Two Polish ladies were debating what to cook for dinner. One of them said: how about Lecho?

I was stunned. OMG, I totally forgot about this dish called Lecho. It is/was beyond delicious. I felt compelled to go home and cook it immediately. I purchased all of the ingredients and went back home to start cooking this peppery, tomatoey goodness for dinner. Our house smelled like a vacation by the famous Balaton lake.

What are the basics of this Hungarian Tomato and Peppers Stew

It takes no more than 30 minutes to make! Can it get any easier than that?  After I made it and took some photos, I went online to do some research about the dish (….and make sure that I had a proper English spelling of the name).

Then I found one website discussing what are the basics of this dish are and possible ingredients which could be added on.

So, the basics are:

  • Peppers,
  • Tomatoes; and
  • Hungarian paprika (you can use any kind of sweet paprika; you can also add some cayenne for a little extra kick).
  • As for additions: you can choose zucchini, sausage, and … brace yourself: an egg mixture.

What ignited the light bulb in my head was the Hungarian guy, on the International Tuesday’s Dinner, had added this egg mixture and said that this was how his family used to make Lesho (just mix a couple of eggs like you would do for a scrambled egg breakfast – and pour it into the pot stirring at the same time).

The photo of ripe tomatoes used in Hungarian Dish called Lecho

What are popular versions of this Lecho:

Obviously, this dish can be:

  • Vegan – just the veggies;
  • Vegetarian – with the egg mixture added; or
  • With meat – just add sausage.

But let me tell you, the smell of cooked peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes in the house is enchanting. This was the first time that my husband had eaten a Hungarian dish and he absolutely loved it. In that, it’s now tomato, zucchini, and peppers season, try it and let me know how you like it.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that it is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day. Just after I had made it, we chose to eat it with fresh crusty bread.  The next day I served leftovers of this delicious tomato and peppers stew over rice.  Again, no words can describe it… Cheers 🙂

Tomato and Peppers Stew in a bowl with spoon

You can read more on the origin of this dish on Wikipedia:ó

Other Hungarian Dishes to try:

For other perfect summer dishes check these recipes:

This Tomato and Peppers stew dish was initially published on this blog on August 6, 2014. 

Tomato and Peppers Stew in a bowl with spoon

Tomato and peppers stew - classic Hungarian Lecho

This tomato and peppers stew (Hungarian Lecho) dish uses the freshest summer ingredients like ripe tomatoes, green and banana peppers and luscious zucchinis. When it simmers, the house smells incredible.
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Hungarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 281kcal
Author: Edyta


  • 1 onion large Spanish, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme , chopped
  • 6 roma tomatoes , cut in quarters
  • 2 banana peppers , cut in square pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper , cut in square pieces
  • 1 zucchini , cut in square pieces
  • 1 cup sausage smoked (optional) -
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • In a dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil;
  • Add chopped onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes;
  • Add garlic and fresh thyme, cook for another 2 minutes;
  • Add tomato paste and cubed sausage, cook for another 5 minutes;
  • Add peppers and zucchini, tomatoes, tomato sauce, sweet paprika, smoked paprika;
  • Cover and cook until vegetables are soft but still crunchy, about 15 -20 minutes;
  • Season with salt and pepper;
  • Serve with a fresh baguette or rice.


Sausage is optional here and you can make this dish vegetarian or vegan. I use Polish smoked sausage, but you can use whatever sausage you'd like.


Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 740mg | Potassium: 876mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1945IU | Vitamin C: 60mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2.5mg
Tried this recipe?Show me @eatingeuropean or tag #eatingeuropean!


Hungarian Lecho (Tomato and Pepper Stew) in a serving bowl


If you like these recipes you may also like these other awesome recipes using tomatoes, peppers or zucchinis:

Pan Con Tomate with Crispy Prosciutto

Pan con Tomate with crispy Prosciutto

Parmesan Crusted Zucchini with black pepper, lemon zest and thyme

Parmesan crusted zucchini with black pepper, lemon zest and thyme

Golden Bell Pepper Soup with Greek Yogurt and Cayenne

Golden Bell Pepper Soup with Cayenne and Greek Yogurt

Garlic Lemon Zucchini Noodles

Garlic lemon zucchini noodles

Shakshouka – classic Mediterranean breakfast

Shakshouka - Classic Mediterranean Breakfast

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  1. I made the Hungarian Stew. It was easy and delicious and quick cooking. My husband loved it! I served it over rice. He said it was a “keeper”, meaning put it in my personal cookbook and cook it in the near future. It was nice and inexpensive to use all those summer vegetables. I also used the optional sausage, but not too much. Very creative stew!

  2. 5 stars
    I am loving all the colours going on here. I just want to dip a big chunk of crusty bread in to it.

  3. 5 stars
    My grandmother would drop an egg into a pot of boiling curry and stir it in – makes the curry extremely rich and creamy! I am sure I would love this Lescho as well!

  4. 5 stars
    I was looking for something different yet relatively easy to make. After reading the description I made a double recipe to share with friends. I was unabel to find yellow banana peppers at the local farmer’s market, so I substituted hot banana peppers. I also had a leftover red bell pepper, whih I added into the mix so that it wouldn’t go to waste. Overall, it turned out great The hot banana peppers added a nice touch of heat, which I liked. This is a great recipe for sharing. But it does take quite a bit of prep work for a dobule recipe.

  5. Hi, I had left a ? In the comments but haven’t had a answer. Wondering if it didn’t go through. I’m not familiar with banana peppers, I live in the US but am British. Can you please tell me what they are

  6. 5 stars
    I stumbled upon this recipe and have made it a few times. It is so delicious, and even better the next day. The recipe is easily modified if you do not have the exact ingredients or would just like to add something from the fridge that needs to be used. I serve it over quinoa, instead of rice. I am also sharing this recipe with all my friends!

  7. It’s Correctly Spelled – – LECSO – – and it’s a very easy and delicious meal to make.

  8. 5 stars
    So good! I added hot paprika too because family pref, and also can confirm Tofurky Kielbasa works great (silly name, yeah, but veg/kosher friendly). White beans were also tasty. Less authentic, but just saying what’s worked here for the 1-dish-meal thing. Thanks for a fantastic recipe!

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