April 30, 2019
One of my favourite things to do in the kitchen is to take classic meals and give them a healthy makeover. For example, butter chicken is something I could probably eat every day, however, all that cream and butter would probably not be beneficial to my heart (and heart disease runs in my family, so we don’t want that) so I substitute the cream and butter with coconut milk. Another alternative is using soaked cashews as the base of the sauce. Okay… I could probably talk about butter chicken all day, but that is not what this post is actually about. Today I will be discussing my healthy alternative recipe to one of my favourite Hungarian recipe’s: Lecso (pronounced le-cho). Side note, my mother is Hungarian which led to many delicious Hungarian meals growing up.
Lecso is traditionally a delicious combination of bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, usually with some sausage in there. The base is bacon grease which adds amazing flavour and let’s not forget the paprika. This can also be made with spicy peppers to add bite. This delicious, thick sauce is usually served on top of noodles, rice, potatoes, or scrambled eggs (so… anything really). Here is my healthy alternative to Hungarian Lecso.
Healthy Hungarian Lecso
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 small white onion, diced or I prefer strips again
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 big tomatoes, diced (or one can of diced tomatoes with juice)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- ½ tbsp sweet paprika
- dash of salt and pepper for taste
- 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed well
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot on the stove top. Add the onions and let them cook until a little translucent, about 2 minutes. I personally like to add a splash of vegetable broth to prevent sticking.
- Add the bell peppers, garlic, smoked and sweet paprika salt and pepper. I like the peppers to be a little crispy so let them cook on med/low for about 5 mins. Let them sit a little longer if you want them softer but be sure to keep the heat low so you don’t burn the spices.
- While the peppers are cooking put your rinsed quinoa and broth in a separate pot and bring to boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and let it sit for about 10 mins then fluff with a fork.
- Once the peppers are a little cooked add the tomatoes, cover and simmer on low for about 10 mins.
- In the end, I like to toss my quinoa into the Lecso sauce, but you can also keep it separate and just top it like spaghetti.
There you have it! You have a delicious, healthy Hungarian meal without the bacon grease, and starch. The quinoa makes it gluten-free, high in protein, fibre, amino acids, and B vitamins. (I could go on forever because I love quinoa!). You can also have it for breakfast as it is delicious mixed in with scrambled eggs ( if you kept the sauce separate from the quinoa).