We’ve all used ground beef in our kitchen before, but have you tried something a little more adventurous, like ground bison?
Seasonally, ButcherBox offers 100% grass-fed ground bison; while it may seem like a bold change, it can be used quite similarly to ground beef. It also has a bit of an umami flavor that can enhance familiar dishes. We’ve compiled some of our favorites here, so keep reading for cooking with bison inspiration.
What is ground bison?
Bison are large, bovine animals, often referred to in North America as buffalo. While related to cattle, these animals are broad and muscular, with distinctly shaggy coats.
The meat they produce is lean—quite a bit leaner than typical beef—and robustly flavored. It’s a great cut for bringing more protein to meals while cutting out some fat.
How to use ground bison:
You’ll find that you can use ground bison in much of the same ways you’d use ground beef, turkey, chicken, or pork. You may want to adjust your cooking times, as bison will cook up quicker than ground beef and other cuts. Here are some ideas:
- Noodle dishes
- Burrito bowls
- Cauliflower rice bowls
Now that you’ve got an idea on how to incorporate ground bison in your kitchen, here are some complete recipe suggestions. Happy cooking adventures!
1. Greek Bison Burger
Light Greek-inspired flavors pair amazingly with lean bison, as you’ll find with this Greek bison burger.
The bison burger comes together quickly with bold additions like tangy feta and Kalamata olives. A quick tip: Never press down on the patty while cooking, lest you lose all those flavorful juices.
Load your burger up with a creamy homemade tzatziki, made with Greek yogurt, cucumber, dill, salt, and pepper. Yum. (P.S. You can totally make these into Greek bison meatballs, instead.)
2. Baked Bison Meatballs
Quick, lean, and delicious, these baked bison meatballs are perfect for tossing with your favorite marinara sauce—or even a barbecue sauce.
All you need to whip these up—beyond ground bison, of course—are some pantry staples, like tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, and garlic powder. Don’t forget a little fresh parsley for brightness.
These come together in 25 minutes flat—perfect for a hectic weeknight. They also are perfect to freeze and reheat for a weeknight meal.
3. Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Bison Chili
This slow cooker sweet potato bison chili is bold in flavor, and Whole30-compliant, so it is nourishing and delicious.
To make the chili, you’ll combine ground bison, onion, garlic, diced green chilies, sweet potato hunks, and fire-roasted tomatoes. The well-spiced chili is seasoned with a blend of chili powder, cumin, and ground chipotle (or ancho chili powder).
This chili is hearty and delicious on its own, but you can amp it up by serving it atop a bed of greens, with a protein-packed fried egg on top.
4. Smoky Bison Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
This smoky bison stuffed spaghetti squash is comfort food, sans heavy carbs. You can thank the pasta-like spaghetti squash tendrils for that.
At its base, this recipe calls for ground bison and spaghetti squash. You’ll season your bison filling with garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, smoked paprika, tomato paste, and fennel seeds. Add some wilted spinach to that mixture for a complete meal.
This bison stuffed squash is super versatile and customizable. You can switch up the flavor profile to Indian, Greek, Spanish, and more—just follow the instructions included in the recipe.
5. Spicy Bison Sweet Potato Skillet
Yes, bison even works for breakfast, as you’ll see with this hearty spicy bison sweet potato skillet.
The ingredients in this skillet are simple and nourishing, including sweet potato, ground bison, bell pepper, leeks, arugula, tabasco peppers, and plenty of bold seasoning. After frying it all up in a skillet, you’ll top it with runny eggs.
Don’t fret if you don’t have everything you need on hand – substitutions are easy with this recipe. Use spinach instead of arugula, or jalapenos over tabasco peppers. It all works, and it’s all delicious.
6. Bun-less Paleo Bison Burger and Sweet Potato Mash
Looking to skip the bun with your bison burger? This bun-less Paleo bison burger and sweet potato mash is for you.
To make the patties, simply combine ground bison, garlic salt, fresh rosemary, a bit of Dijon, and divide into four shaped patties. Sear those in ghee for a juicy burger.
Serve the patty atop a bed of arugula and tomatoes, alongside a sweet and creamy sweet potato mash for a complete meal.
7. Bison Taco Bowl
You’ve likely realized by now that ground bison works in essentially any recipe where you’d use ground beef or turkey. So, of course, we’d be remiss not to include this bison taco bowl.
It has all the familiar trappings of a taco bowl: Beans, ground meat, onions and peppers, taco seasoning, rice, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. And, of course, it’s every bit as good. Bison soaks up the taco seasoning to delicious effect, as do the caramelized onions and peppers.
8. Macaroni and Cheese with Ground Bison
Here’s an indulgent, drool-worthy way to use ground bison: Macaroni and cheese with ground bison.
This mac and cheese recipe opts for a sweet and smoky apple smoked cheddar cheese base, which pairs wonderfully with the robust flavor of bison. Add to that perfectly al dente pasta, onions, peppers, garlic, and a touch of tomato sauce, and you’re in for a rib-sticking meal you won’t soon forget.
9. Bison Bolognese
A good bolognese is a simple, tomato-rich meat sauce, so bison makes for a unique addition. Try this bison bolognese to see for yourself.
To build lots of flavor in this sauce, you’ll start with a base of carrots, celery, and onion (mirepoix), along with garlic and onion. Dry red wine and crushed tomatoes round out the sauce, while bison adds its own robust flavor.
You can serve this bison bolognese atop any noodles you’d like (even veggie noodles if you’re watching carbs). Opt for a flat noodle—like tagliatelle or pappardelle—for a more traditional plate.
10. Ground Bison and Cauliflower Bowl
When you need a nutritious, filling meal on the table stat, opt for this ground bison and cauliflower bowl. It’s packed with flavor and comes together in just 25 minutes.
You’ll need only a handful of ingredients to throw this bowl together: Cauliflower (pulsed into rice), olive oil, cumin, oregano, turmeric, ground bison, and some frozen carrots, and peas.
All you’ll need to do is cook this all up in a skillet and enjoy. You can also throw a runny egg on top for more protein, or a few shakes of hot sauce for flavor.