Salty Running in the Kitchen – Cilantro’s Paprika Vegetarian Chili

Salty Running Vegetarian Chili

We’ve decided it is high time time for the Salties to put our spice pseudo-names to work in the kitchen! This holiday season (and beyond) we are sharing our favorite recipes that take advantage of our favorite kitchen spice. We hope these recipes will help you get to know each of us a little better, while also sharing “what runners eat” without all of the hashtags.

These recipes are not designed to fit into any special diet, they are not prescriptive for fast running, nor are they guaranteed to change your life in any way. Except in the way that good food brings us together, fuels #allthemiles as well as our awesome lives, and just might be so delicious that you go back for seconds. Because at the end of the day, we are more than how many calories we ate, the size of our running shorts, and the perceived “cleanliness” of our diet. We run. We eat. We live.

To kick this off, we are going to start with a recipe that incorporates many of our spice names, and is a seasonal favorite

Salty Running Paprika Vegetarian Chili (serves 4)

The world-renowned Salty Running Paprika Vegetarian Chili (created by Cilantro, inspired by chili everywhere, not really world-renowned) incorporates fragrant spices with some canned goods to make a quick chili recipes that you can literally make in 30 minutes (but just gets better with age)! The Hungarian sweet paprika is what makes this chili special. Roast the sweet potatoes in advance (using the method below), and you won’t ever eat sweet potatoes another way again!


  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 large can of San Marzano whole tomatoes (these are Italian imported tomatoes, look for them in the pasta aisle)
  • 2 small cans of diced tomatoes with green chillies (fire roasted, optional)
  • 2-3 T ancho chili powder, depending on the quality of your chili powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 t sweet Hungarian Paprika (not the hot paprika, authentic is best)
  • 3 c chicken stock
  • 2 sweet potatoes, roasted (see instructions below)
  • 3 c black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Fresh cilantro, avocado, and Frank’s Red Hot (to taste, or other hot sauce)

Optional additions:

  • Shredded cheese and sour cream (not vegan)
  • Ground turkey, bison, or beef (not vegetarian)


  1. Preheat oven to 450ยบF and place sweet potatoes in the oven, with sides pierced. Bake for 45 minutes then without opening the oven (this is important). Leave the sweet potatoes in the oven for an additional 45 minutes or longer. Remove from the oven. Once cool, remove the skin and dice. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large pot on medium-high with olive oil. And add onion and garlic, saute until onions are translucent. Add the spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika) and toast for 30 seconds before adding the tomatoes (add the diced tomatoes and green chilies here if they are not fire-roasted). Break up the whole tomatoes with a spatula. Bring to a boil and simmer until the tomatoes are soft, at least 20 minutes (or up to an hour for best results).
  3. Add the chicken stock (and diced tomatoes and green chilies, if fire roasted), and bring back to a boil. ย Salt to taste.
  4. Add drained black beans and sweet potatoes. Return to a boil.
  5. Garnish as desired andย serve.

I make this every weekend for the upcoming week’s dinners, so I’ll often immediately distribute into 2-cup glassware for the week. If you are cooking for more than one, this is likely just enough for one family meal. Multiply as needed!

Ultrarunner, adventurer, academic, and feminist. Running Across the USA in 2021 to raise money for Girls on the Run. Next challenge: Pinhoti FKT. I write about ultrarunning, adventuring, and the intersection of endurance athletics and life.

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