Easy Healthy Bison Chili

February 17, 2022

Classic chili gets a boost of protein with this Easy Healthy Bison Chili recipe!  It’s your basic chili recipe with healthy and lean ground bison. 

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“What did the buffalo say to his son when he left for school?  Bi-son!”  I’m sure you’ve heard that joke before.  But have you tried bison chili?  If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught me, it’s how to be completely creative with meals.  Especially during shortages.

I swear, it’s like every week there’s something new on my grocery list that’s gone way up in price or has become a hard-to-find item on store shelves.  So I’m always prepared with an alternative.  Like this chili!

What Does Bison Taste Like?

I was able to get a package of ground bison through my Hungryroot subscription.  If you’ve never had bison before, it’s a lean meat that has more protein than beef.  It’s sort of beefy in flavor, not at all gamey, and a good substitution for ground beef.

It is more expensive than ground beef, but that’s because it’s not as widely produced as beef.  It’s not a choice of meat I would buy every week, but it’s nice to incorporate it into meals every now and then.  Especially since it’s not as fatty as beef and contains less calories.

Since bison is a lean protein, it can easily dry out if it’s overcooked.  But if you’re cooking it in dishes like stews, soup, and chili, it should keep its delicious, beef-like texture.  The secret is to keep enough liquid in the pot and cook the bison and chili low and slow!

Easy Healthy Bison Chili

If you’re looking for a new way to switch up chili night, use ground bison instead of ground beef.  This Easy Healthy Bison Chili is basically your traditional chili just with a protein swap.  Still just as delicious and a bit healthier, too!

Ready to get to work on this chili?  The first thing we have to do is brown our bison.  Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the bison.  Cook it just until it’s brown.  As soon as it’s cooked, drain and set it aside.

In that same pot, add olive oil.  Then, add onion and garlic.  Cook just until it’s nice and fragrant.  Now, add bell pepper and bison meat into the pot.

Immediately follow with the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and beans.  Give everything a stir.

Season the chili with chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.

We’re going to bring the pot of chili to a boil.  Once it starts boiling, lower it to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes.

When it’s time to serve up a bowl of chili, top with shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and some chopped scallions. Make sure to grab some tortilla chips for dipping!

Easy Healthy Bison Chili

Easy Healthy Bison Chili


  • 1 pound ground bison 
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 medium-large bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • 1 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 - 16 oz. can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, brown the ground bison. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in the same pot over medium heat. Then, add the garlic and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.
  3. Add the bell peppers and bison meat to the pot.
  4. Then, add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and beans. Stir.
  5. Add the chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper. Stir until combined.
  6. Bring the pot to a boil. Then, lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. When ready to serve, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to rest 8-10 minutes.
  8. Serve with chopped scallions, tortilla chips, and your favorite chili toppings.
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If you want to cook this chili super low and slow, you can make it in the slow cooker.  Just brown the ground bison as directed and follow by cooking the onion and garlic.  Then, add everything to a slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low.  Enjoy with your favorite chili toppings!

Did you make this Easy Healthy Bison Chili recipe? Share it on social media using the hashtag #livinglavidaeats. Don’t forget to tag me @lavidaholoka!


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