Southwestern Chili with Bison Meatballs

Southwestern Chili with Bison Meatballs

I’m thrilled  to announce that I am guest hosting at Bam’s Kitchen today.  Many of you are familiar with Bobbi and I know you love her recipes.  She’s all about nutrition and specific dietary needs and has something for everyone.  Along with her delicious dishes are beautiful pictures of Hong Kong and great stories of her adventures as an American living in such a vastly different culture.  There is always something new to learn when you visit.

I hope you’ll pop over there to see my chili recipe because,  along with being a little out of the box, it’s super delicious!  I don’t know how many of you have tried bison before but I’m here to tell you – it is becoming very popular because it’s a healthier red meat and I’m guessing you’re going to love it too.  So come on over and tantalize your taste buds with me.  See you there!

First of all, I have a confession to make – I am a chili addict. A happily addicted chili enthusiast who will try almost any kind I come across. I’ve been pondering a new chili recipe since late summer but nothing original came to mind until I visited a local farm where I came across some bison meat and this dish was born.

Now if you’re a little shy of trying bison, no worries, you can easily substitute beef or turkey. Actually, I mixed a little ground turkey with the bison as well but I thought it would make the title even scarier to some!

Southwestern Chili with Bison Meatballs -Simply Fresh Dinners

I’ve been reading so much about bison meat lately and I was long overdue from giving it a try. Bison meat is a nutritionally superior red meat. It is natural without growth hormones, steroids, drugs or chemical residue. It is also extremely low in fat with 1/3 less fat than beef. A single serving of bison provides much of your daily protein, iron and zinc requirements, plus most of the antioxidant selenium your body needs each day.

Bison are raised and processed without additives, preservation, steroids, growth hormones or drug residues. Bison spend the majority of their life grazing on forage and some producers finish their bison on grass while others finish on grains.   It tastes much like beef but slightly sweeter and richer.

Have I made my case yet? Many grocery stores are carrying it now but, depending on where you live, you may have to search a little to find it.

Southwestern Chili with Bison Meatballs -Simply Fresh Dinners

The meatballs are packed with loads of flavor and baking them makes for a healthier dish.   I had some meatballs left over that went into the freezer so now it`s time to think up another recipe where I can use them. I welcome any suggestions. After all, it took me 3 months to come up with this one so I need all the help I can get!

If you are vegetarian or vegan, just omit the meatballs. The chili has a little bit of heat and lip-smacking deliciousness of the Southwest and I added some chipotle peppers in adobe sauce for good measure.

The readers on my blog will tell you that I insist on fresh herbs in my dishes and this is no exception. The fresh oregano in the meatballs made such a difference and you wouldn`t want to miss out on that extra bit of flavor.

Southwestern Chili with Bison Meatballs -Simply Fresh Dinners

I hope you enjoyed my Southwestern spin on chili today. It`s been such a pleasure to bring you one of my dishes. Thanks, Bobbi!


Southwestern Chili with Bison Meatballs
Author: Robyn
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
  • Meatballs
  • ground bison – 10 ounces
  • ground turkey – 6 ounces extra lean
  • olive oil – 2 tablespoons, extra virgin
  • onion – 1 Spanish diced
  • garlic – 3 cloves, minced
  • tomato paste – 1 teaspoon
  • cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • oregano – 1.5 tablespoons fresh, chopped
  • chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • orange zest – from half of an orange
  • hot sauce – 2 dashes
  • panko bread crumbs – 1/4 cup
  • red pepper flakes – pinch
  • salt and pepper – to taste
  • Chili
  • olive oil – 1 tablespoon, extra virgin
  • onion – 1/2 chopped
  • garlic – 2 cloves, minced
  • red bell pepper – 1/2 diced
  • chili powder – 2 tablespoons
  • paprika – 2 tablespoons smoked
  • cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
  • salt and pepper – to taste
  • tomatoes – 2 cups, cherry, halved
  • chipolte in adobo – 1 canned plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • tomatoes canned – 28 ounce can (organic if you can get it)
  • black beans – 1 can, drained and rinsed well
  • kidney beans – 1 can, drained and rinsed well
  • corn – 10 ounce bag frozen corn or can use fresh
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in small pan and saute onion, garlic, tomato paste, salt and pepper; about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Mix bison and turkey together well and then add remaining ingredients including cooled onion mixture. Mix well and form meatballs. Do not over-handle the meat. I make golf sized balls but the size is your choice.
  4. Place meatballs on parchment paper on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  1. Heat olive oil in large pan and saute onion and garlic until soft. About 3 minutes. Add red pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and salt and pepper – cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, adobe sauce, canned tomatoes, beans and corn; mixing well. Bring to a boil, cover partially and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add meatballs and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Options for topping: fresh cilantro, cherry tomatoes, cheddar cheese, spring onions, sour cream.

Southwestern Chili with Meatballs


  • Reply
    Bam's Kitchen
    November 6, 2014 at 6:38 am

    Thanks so much for your kind words and your delicious guest post. My boys are already begging for me to make a huge pot of your recipe as they love the spice. Feel free to join in on the comments on my blog as I know they would love to meet you. Have a super day and thanks so much!
    Bam’s Kitchen recently posted…Southwestern Chili with Bison Meatballs – Guest PostMy Profile

  • Reply
    Anita Rivera
    November 6, 2014 at 7:02 am

    BISON? OK, now that has to be investigated and tasted some time this winter! HI ROBYN! Off to start my school day, but wanted to come by to take a “taste!” Simply delicious! Anita

    • Reply
      November 6, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      LOL, you have to try it, Anita – it’s absolutely delicious! I don’t normally eat red meat but I’m sold on this.
      Hope you had a great day. xoxo
      Robyn recently posted…Southwestern Chili with Bison MeatballsMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 6, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Something totally different. I have had bison and it is delicious and low fat. Years ago I flew over to Catalina Island just for lunch. They served bison burgers. Yummy and delicious. I know your readers will enjoy this tempting dish. Lots of love from W.W. xo
    Linda recently posted…Bone Appetit!My Profile

    • Reply
      November 6, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Thanks, Linda. I was so happy with the way this turned out! I would love to just create chili recipes all winter long, lol. Love to you, WW!
      Robyn recently posted…Southwestern Chili with Bison MeatballsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Michelle @ Healthy Recipe Ecstasy
    November 6, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I’ve been waiting for this recipe!! I’ve had bison burgers and bison in my breakfast casserole but never bison meatballs. I love that you added the meatballs to chili – such a hearty but healthy meal for winter!
    Michelle @ Healthy Recipe Ecstasy recently posted…Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Cakes with Spiced Pecans and Apple ButterMy Profile

    • Reply
      November 6, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      I’m a new bison fan, Michelle. It’s so tasty! I definitely have to make that casserole of yours. Now it’s time to ponder on a vegetarian chili!
      Robyn recently posted…Southwestern Chili with Bison MeatballsMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Hi Robyn, never have tried bison before, I guess it is about time, great chili recipe!
    cheri recently posted…Vegetarian Pumpkin Three Bean ChiliMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 7, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Hi Robyn,
    I have only tried Bison one time but I did like. It just is hard to find where I live and extremely expensive in my area. This recipes sounds so hearty and delicious. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays blog hop. Pinned & twitted.
    Marla recently posted…Real Food Fridays #63 – Living Life The Organic, Healthy WayMy Profile

  • Reply
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life
    November 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I love chili but I have never cooked with bison. We do have it available at the grocery store here though, so now that I have a recipe, I will give it a try! I always love seeing what you bring to share with us at Foodie Fridays…you have such great recipes! Thanks for joining us again this week! Pinning and sharing!
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…International Recipes at Foodie Fridays no 21My Profile

  • Reply
    November 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever had bison, but this sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing it! Also wanted to let you know about a new linky party starting this Saturday at 8 pm called “Found & Foraged” Can’t wait to party with you at
    Kyla recently posted…Instagram?My Profile

  • Reply
    Miz Helen
    November 11, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Hi Robyn,
    What a great bowl of Chili, Bison Meatballs make this recipe real special. Hope you are staying warm and cozy on this cold day and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen
    Miz Helen recently posted…Turkey Pot PieMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 15, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    My family would love this for dinner! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!
    Karly recently posted…Reader Appreciation Giveaway from Le Creuset and KitchenIQMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    You are making me so hungry! Pinned. Lou Lou Girls
    Kimberly recently posted…Craig Claiborne’s Smothered ChickenMy Profile

  • Reply
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