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Bison, Bean & Chocolate Chili

Bison, Bean & Chocolate Chili

Bison, Bean & Chocolate Chili – Clean & Delicious

There was a time in my life when you couldn’t pay me to add chocolate to my chili.  Health benefits or not, I could find no good reason to add the extra calories to a perfectly good pot of chili.

After all, less calories meant less fat on my body, right? Well, right up until the part where I was 25 pounds over weight!

It’s been a gradual transition, but nowadays, instead of focusing on what I need to take away from my diet [and life] (aka ~ deprivation) I try and focus on what I can add in (aka ~ nourishment).

And you know what guys?  We can extra nourishment to our chili simply by adding in a kiss dark chocolate!

It’s true.  Not only do we gain the nourishment from the simple pleasure of eating chocolate but it just so happens to be loaded with antioxidants.  As a matter of fact, dark chocolate had eight times the amount of antioxidants as strawberries! Crazy, I know.

But even more than the health benefits that dark chocolate has to offer what I really loved was how the chocolate brought a depth of flavor to the chili. It gives a slow-cooked flavor to a quick-cookin’ chili.

A great tip for all of us time-crunched-flavor-loving-foodies, no?

And if you don’t have any bison on hand, no worries, you could make this chili using ground beef, turkey, or chicken as well. Just promise me that right before you serve it, you’ll top it with a fat dollop of plain Greek yogurt and some fresh scallions!

Bison, Bean & Chocolate Chili

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • Fat pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb ground bison
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 15-oz cans of low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can of water
  • 2 15-oz cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 20g bitter sweet chocolate (I used 2 squares Trader Joe’s 72% Dark Chocolate)


Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over a medium-high heat.  Add onions along with a pinch of salt.  Give the onions a two-minute head start before adding in the red pepper and red pepper flakes.  Cook for about five minutes, stirring periodically, until the onions and peppers are tender but not browned.

Stir in the garlic and ground bison, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the meat into the onions and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper.

Once the bison has browned add in the chili powder, ground cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper.  Mix the spices into the meat and veggies before adding in the tomatoes, water, kidney beans, and chocolate.  Bring everything up to a boil.

Once you have reached a boil, turn the het down and simmer for about thirty minutes.

Top with plain non-fat yogurt and sliced scallions.  Enjoy!

Nutrients per 6 1-1/3 cup servings: Calories: 313; Total Fat: 9.5g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 40mg; Carbohydrate: 33.2g; Dietary Fiber: 8.6g; Sugars: 10g; Protein: 25.9g

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6 comments on “Bison, Bean & Chocolate Chili

  1. A recipe that comes with a lesson for life. Just like in granny’s kitchen. I love it. Thanks.

  2. Dani, it’s wonderful to read your thoughts on this stuff. I so agree that a wholesale shift in self-love/self-respect is about more than food. Food is really much more than just what we eat – it’s a representation of so many things. I’m so glad that you’re coming to a better place. I’m working on that too – and trying to see nourishment as something that comes from people, places, sounds, sights and not just food. The recipe looks great! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Dani, I’ve been reading your blog for about 3 years. I’ve only caught snippets about your weight struggles and how you’ve found a place of peace for yourself. I would love to hear more about that in depth.

    -Emily, 22, Nebraska

  4. I can definitely relate, and even though I have a much healthier sense of food and myself these days, I admit that it’s a natural reaction of mine to scan a recipe and immediately look for changes I can make to lighten it up – even if it doesn’t need that at all. Anyway, less than an ounce of chocolate, divided up among 6 servings, is totally do-able and delicious :)

  5. Dani, I made this last night for my family and it came out AMAZING!!!
    Thank you for another fabulous recipe. :)

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