In this healthy buffalo and black bean chili recipe, the buffalo is cooked with sweet red bell peppers and spiced with two types of chili powder, cocoa powder and espresso powder, making this chili mouthwatering and memorable. Ground buffalo, also known as ground bison, is a healthy alternative to ground beef because it's naturally lower in fat and has a rich, delectable flavor. After all the ingredients are added to the pot, we like to slowly simmer our chili for close to an hour to develop the best flavor, but if you're in a hurry, reduce the liquid by half and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2013


Recipe Summary

1 hr 30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ground buffalo, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.

  • Add bell peppers, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are starting to soften, 5 to 7 minutes.

  • Add bulgur, ancho chile powder, cocoa powder, chili powder, instant espresso (or instant coffee), cayenne and salt and cook, stirring, until aromatic, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  • Stir in beans and tomatoes.

  • Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and thickened and the bulgur is tender, about 50 minutes.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Ancho chile powder, made from dried poblano peppers, has a mild, sweet spicy flavor. Look for it in the spice section of well-stocked supermarkets. Other mildly spicy chili powder can be used in its place.

Nutrition Facts

390 calories; protein 27.5g; carbohydrates 39.3g; dietary fiber 12.1g; sugars 5.6g; fat 14.8g; saturated fat 3.5g; cholesterol 44.9mg; vitamin a iu 3221.5IU; vitamin c 80.7mg; folate 49.2mcg; calcium 123.6mg; iron 5.8mg; magnesium 126.8mg; potassium 1061mg; sodium 780.6mg; thiamin 0.6mg.

Reviews (7)

Read More Reviews
7 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 3
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
Excellent chili but at 11/lb for bison I'll use 93% lean beef next time. But this was very good. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Great meal with some cornbread I have made this chili several times. I substitute the unsweetened cocoa powder for McCormick cocoa chile blend and occasionally I substitute bulgur for quinoa or a bulgur/quinoa blend. Every time I make this everyone raves about how great it is and how it is just the right amount of spice:) I also skip the sour cream and add a wee bit of shredded cheese. The recipe makes a ton of chili but it never lasts for long! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
The instructions for this recipe (times proportions etc) are spot on. It is very very good. I substituted Quinoa for the Bulgar (because that's what I had) and a fresh jalapeno chili (seeded and chopped) that I added with the red pepper instead of the Ancho Chili powder. Other than that - I followed it exactly. This is a great chili recipe with a healthy kick to it. No I didn't add cheese or sour cream to it although I would have loved to! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Doctored it a bit This makes a TON of chili. I can't believe how much. The one ingredient I strongly recommend is adding Sriracha sauce. It adds a little bit of heat and sweet. Very yummy. Just be sure to have a tupperware container for the leftovers! Pros: One pot cooking Cons: Bland unless doctored Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Outstanding with complex flavors I tried this recipe this weekend and I couldn't believe how tasty it was. I did use four cups of beef broth and reduce the liquid over an hour and the result was a fantastic flavor that I can't stop thinking about. Pros: Filling Healthy Delicious Read More
Rating: 4 stars
A Winter Staple This is yummy! I've made it several times- and now I've added my own little twists. But it's definitely my go-to chili recipe! I blend together (I know- kind of odd but I have this thing about the texture of canned tomatoes) the diced tomatoes and a 28 oz. can of plum tomates (this isn't in the original recipe!) as well as 1-2 chili in adobo and a few TBLS of brown sugar. This adds a little heat and a little sweet! My husband LOVES this chili too! Pros: Easy To Make Yummy Good for Leftovers Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This is a keeper-any recipe that incorporates bulgur and bison attracts my attention-made as the recipe dictates with a few tweeks- 2 TBL EVOO ( I missread the recipe). Used Penzeys Chili 9000 -with the addition of a shake or two of chipotle-the lime and cilantro do give it a nice finish- The cocoa and coffee really give it depth-This will be on my winter chili list from now on! Read More