Buffalo Chili

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

When made with quality meat or poultry and lots of beans, chili is not only a fantastic game-day staple, but a heart-healthy lunch or dinner! Buffalo, which is grass-fed, free of artificial hormones and packed with lean protein makes a great beef substitute. Beans are full of fiber and antioxidants, and the tomatoes, organic bell peppers and onions bring even more antioxidant power to the mix! Serves 4.

*Choose organic produce whenever possible*

  • 1 lb ground buffalo 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked kidney beans (if from a can, drained and rinsed)
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, chopped; or 2 small cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 organic red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 organic yellow summer squash, sliced into small pieces (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup filtered water
  • ½ teaspoon each paprika, ground cumin and sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon ground chili pepper
  • 4 Tbsp grated organic cheddar cheese; or 4 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt (optional)
  • 1 avocado, sliced into 16 pieces (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • Cayenne pepper sauce, to taste (optional)

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the onions and garlic in the olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes until the onions start to become translucent. Crumble in the ground buffalo and cook for another few minutes, stirring frequently until buffalo begins turning brown. Fold in the peppers and squash (if using) and cook for a minute or two, then stir in tomatoes, kidney beans and tomato paste, and cook for 10 minutes or so until vegetables are tender. Add sea salt, pepper, paprika, cumin and chili powder, and determine if more of any are needed. Simmer chili on low heat for 20 minutes to let flavors meld; for stronger flavor, prepare chili one day in advance and reheat it. Ladle chili into 4 individual bowls, and garnish each, if you like, with grated cheese or a dollop of plain yogurt (a great sour cream substitute), some avocado pieces, and fresh parsley.

© Stephen Sinatra, MD. All rights reserved.

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