meatloaf with bison

Clay’s Buffaloaf: A Recipe from Native Chef Loretta Barrett Oden

Last Updated on August 26, 2022

Loretta Barrett Oden is a busy lady. The Native chef from the Potawatomi tribe just launched a restaurant, called 39, in the newly opened First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City, where her menu highlights Native cuisines from the 39 tribes located in Oklahoma.

The First Americans Museum, or FAM, opened in late September. The museum tells the collective stories of the Native tribes residing in Oklahoma—most of which are not native to the state—and traces their history and culture through to the present.

The 39 menu is part of that, featuring modern Indigenous cuisine and using ingredients that have been grown or gathered in the region for centuries, like bison, amaranth, and elderberry. Barrett-Oden’s buffaloaf recipe is a version of her son Clay, who was a chef with her at their celebrated Santa Fe restaurant, the Corn Dance Cafe, in the 1990’s.

The buffaloaf swaps ground beef for bison and leans, in part, on quinoa as a binder. It’s a little lighter than your average meatloaf and gently spicy from the chipotle and green chiles.

meatloaf recipe

Clay's Buffaloaf

Bison meat, quinoa, and spices come together perfectly in this great buffaloaf recipe.
3.80 from 5 votes
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Protein: Bison
Cut: Ground Bison
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground bison meat
  • 3/4 cups finely diced yellow onion about 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery about 1 large stalk, optional
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrots about 1 small carrot, optional
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons canned chipotle pepper puree with adobo sauce use less to dial down the spice if desired
  • 2/3 cup tomato sauce sugar-and-salt-free if possible
  • 1 1/2-2 cups cooked quinoa well-drained with a fine sieve or through cheesecloth
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pinch ground thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped green chiles to taste


  • Mix all ingredients together (by hand is best), shape into loaf or place in oiled loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until cooked through and browned on outside.


You can substitute or add panko bread crumbs, packaged bread, or cornbread stuffing crumbs for quinoa (or in addition to for binding), but quinoa alone is healthier and gluten-free. The eggs also act as binder.
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