Easy Healthy Dinner: Crock Pot Bison Chili Recipe

by Pamela

healthy chili, crock pot chili recipe, bison meat, easy healthy dinner, bison chili

A deep philosophical question sits before you today. Is it a real chili recipe….with beans….or without?

Did you really think I would take the time to offer a full on discussion of the merits of both sides?  Okay, in all of my weirdness I probably would but I really don’t care if you like chili with or without beans.  This bison chili recipe contains beans…deal with it.

I’m probably a bit cranky because it’s been 80 degrees during the day and 40 degrees at night around here for the past week plus and it’s getting damn irritating.  About the time I decide dinner is going to be something light and refreshing, the temperature drops 15 degrees and my bare arms now resemble the color of a long dead corpse and I’m diving into a warm and fuzzy sweatshirt, UGG boots and and cranking up the heat.  Call it global warming or whatever you want, but whatever it is it’s annoying the crap out of me.  It’s warmer and sunnier this winter than it was all last summer here.

For a delicious compromise (in the food department), I knew I would make something in the crock pot.  Start it early in the day (when it’s hot) and let it just cook away.  Since this is a crock pot chili recipe, and not your typical stove top brew, the kitchen doesn’t get extra heated up while dinner is cooking.


To keep the “light” aspect of the meal, I made a healthy chili.  Granted, most chili recipes aren’t too bad for you, but this one has a few more healthy elements than most.  For starters, I used ground bison meat.  Bison meat is becoming more and more available as people begin to learn about how much healthier it is than beef and how to cook with it.  A 4 ounce portion of bison meat contains 143 calories and 22 calories from fat.  Compare that to the same portion size of beef: 219 calories and 91 calories from fat.  Add a few vegetables and you’ve definitely got the makings for an easy healthy dinner.

Something else you’ll notice about the bison meat is how it smells when it’s cooking.  While browning the meat for this recipe, I was transported back to when I was a kid going to a fast food burger place.  Before they used ‘pink slime’ in their burgers and used actual beef.  The cooking bison actually smelled like real meat.  It has a richness to its aroma.  I know I sound like a dork right now, but it smells the way beef SHOULD smell.

One of the things I hear the most, from people, about making crock pot recipes is that everything seems to come out with the same mushy texture.  This isn’t something that happens as much when you cook a big pot of something on the stove top.  There are some ways to help prevent the crock pot mushies from hitting this crock pot chile recipe.  Of course, this means you’ll have to complete a couple of extra steps before dumping all of the ingredients into the pot and turning the dial to ‘cook.’

This healthy chili starts with soaking the dried beans overnight.  If you don’t think that far ahead, you could also use the quick soak method on the beans. (Add the beans to a pot, cover them with water, boil for 2 minutes, let sit for 2 hours.  Add them to the pot, but use an additional cup of chicken broth.)  Then I roasted off the fresh ancho chiles, onions and garlic.  Not only does this add to the chili’s texture, but the rich flavors that develop during roasting get added in as well.

This bison chili also makes for an easy healthy dinner because it contains good for you black beans and lots of vegetables.  Of course, it’s got the standard tomatoes, onions and peppers but it also has the added benefit of sweet potatoes and chayote squash (aka mirliton).  Top it with a little cheese, chopped green onion and maybe some plain (non-fat) yogurt and you’ll have everything you need in one bowl.  Your taste buds and full belly won’t believe this is healthy chili.

Relationship Advice

Chili and Astroglide make strange bedfellows, I know, but I just couldn’t let this one go another day.  A press release, by Astroglide, for Valentine’s Day was probably one of the worsts wastes of digital space I’ve seen in a while (as far as trying to promote sex and your product are concerned).

According to the press release, the following 10 items were gathered from some of their loyal Twitter followers when they asked “what are 10 things you didn’t know about men.”  The company has called these “insightful” comments.  What do you think?  I think these were devised in a back room by a bunch of virgins who once read about sex 30 years ago.

  1. Men enjoy spontaneous sex. It doesn’t have to be all the time, just a surprise. This one isn’t too surprising, but it’s still a great tip.
  2. Buy some sexy lingerie to show your assets off to your man. They get nervous about buying you the right size or style, so surprise them with something new.
  3. Men are also sensitive about getting older.  Plan an activity that will help make them feel young and sexy like go-kart racing or a mountain biking trip on Valentine’s Day.
  4. They want you to be assertive in the bedroom and to take control of the sexual fun. This is the perfect time to introduce Astroglide Personal Lubricants, sex toys or role-playing into the mix.
  5. Men are emotional creatures – they might not need a daily cry but they do have feelings. If you are doing an at-home movie night, then try a tearjerker sports movie to see his sensitive side.
  6. Men enjoy fingers running through their hair and a nice scalp massage.
  7. Men love women to be smart and to hear them use “five dollar words.” Take your guy on a Valentine’s Day museum trip so he can see your brilliant side.
  8. A lot of men love feet and can be won over by a girl with cute feet and shoes. Treat yourself to those expensive heels and a pedicure to get ready for a hot date.
  9. Guys want to be romantic but get nervous, so give them some subtle tips on “setting the stage.”
  10. They care about clothes too and want to look good when heading out on the town, but they might not actually like buying clothes – check their size and get them a great Date Night shirt.

I suppose having missionary sex, in the dark, with a 15 minute post coital cuddle while the room is lit with no fewer than 3, but no more than 5 lit votive candles and Kenny G playing in the background would described as the ultimate in romantic evening too.


Recipe: Easy Healthy Dinner: Crock Pot Bison Chili Recipe


  • 2 Fresh Ancho Chiles (seeds and stemmed removed then each cut into 8 pieces)
  • 1 Medium Onion (peeled and cut into 8 pieces)
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Pound Ground Bison (browned)
  • 1 3/4 Cups Dried Black Beans (soaked overnight)
  • 1 14-15 Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 Large Sweet Potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1 Chayote Squash (peeled, seed removed and diced)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Coriander
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and add the peppers, onions and garlic to the sheet. Drizzle with olive oil (approx 1-2 tablespoons). Use your hands to make sure everything is coated with oil and evenly spaced on the pan(there shouldn’t be a lot of excess oil on the vegetables or sitting in the pan).
  3. Roast for 30 minutes and remove from heat.
  4. Once cool, chop into smaller pieces.
  5. Add the roasted pepper mixture, browned bison, beans, tomatoes, broth, potato, squash, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper to the crock pot.
  6. Stir to make sure everything is well mixed and then cover.
  7. Cook for 5 hours on high or 7 hours on low.
  8. Garnish with chopped green onions, shredded cheese, plain non-fat yogurt.
  9. Serve.

Quick notes

If you use the quick soak method for the beans, add an additional cup of chicken broth to the chili.

Chayote squash can be a bit difficult to peel because it gets a little slimy under the peel.


If you can’t find chayote squash, you could use 2 medium zuchinni.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 5 hour(s)

Diet tags: Gluten free

Number of servings (yield): 8

Culinary tradition: USA (General)


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victor March 9, 2014 at 3:23 pm

How much water do I put in crock out ir does the one cup of broth suffice. I thought the beans needed time to cook? Thanks the recipe looks really good…

Pamela March 9, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Hi Victor, You need to soak the beans overnight…or do the quick soak method (I talk about that in the post). You won’t need any more liquid than the cup of broth (crock pot cooking releases a lot of water). Enjoy!!!!

Ian Makay March 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm

You slay me!!! Given the last paragraph before the recipe, I that [on a scale of 1=spontaneous to 10=romantic] gather you like staging [12]

As to the bison … truly one of my favorite meats on so many levels [taste, health, versatility … and who doesn’t want a buffalo head hanging on the bedroom … errr … den wall?]

Living The Sweet Life March 8, 2012 at 10:11 am

Mmmmm Chilli!! I could never get sick of a good pot of chilli – – and I totally agree, what in the name of sprinkles is up with this weather we’re having *ggggrrrr*!! Dear Mother Nature, make up your mind – thanks.

Belinda @zomppa March 7, 2012 at 7:15 pm

The weather is so strange, isn’t? I’m not sure I’d pay it any attention if I was eating a pot of this!

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