These Chili Fries Are Satisfyingly Rich (and Actually Good for You!)
Nope, it’s not a joke – you really can indulge in this bar-food favorite and still feel great afterwards.
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When you decided to dedicate yourself to eating healthy, nutrient-dense food, you probably thought it meant the end of indulgences like chili fries.
But happily, you can enjoy the crunch of the fries, the rich chili and the satisfying combination of the two, and you’ll still feel nourished and energized afterwards. All it takes are a few strategic substitutions and a bit of creative cooking.
To start with, let’s talk about the chili. This one features bison instead of beef. Since this is an animal raised on pasture, the meat is higher in omega-3 fats than typical ground beef. Instead of beans, we’re mixing in non-starchy, fiber-rich vegetables including onions, zucchini, celery, tomatoes and jalapeño. Plenty of disease-fighting spices bump up the flavor, and bone broth makes it gut-friendly.
As for the fries, this is where your trusty air fryer comes in handy. You get satisfyingly crispy fries without the excess oil (or the mess) of frying. Plus, we swapped in sweet potatoes, which have more nutrients than regular potatoes, and their flavor makes a perfect foil to the spicy chili.
Shredded cheddar cheese is optional here, but we recommend it – along with adding more flavor and richness, it adds a touch more protein.
Serve this super-hearty dish for game day, or any time you want a bit of extra fun at the dinner table. Don’t tell anyone it’s a healthier version – they’ll never guess.
Bison Chili Sweet Potato Fries
- 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp avocado oil, divided use
- 1 lb ground bison
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 medium-size yellow onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 1 large stalk celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 (15-oz) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 medium-size sweet potatoes (about 13 oz)
- Shredded cheddar cheese, optional
- Optional for topping: Salsa, sliced avocado, sliced radishes, cilantro, sour cream
- Make the chili: In a large saucepan set over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil. Add the bison, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring to break up any large pieces of meat, until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl.
- Add another 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil to the same pan. Add the onion, jalapeño, and celery. Season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the zucchini and sauté until tender, 3-4 minutes. Stir bison and any accumulated juices back into the pan. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and broth. Stir, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium and let simmer while you make the fries, at least 20 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
- Make the fries: Preheat the oven to 200ºF. Preheat an air fryer to 400ºF. Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick sticks, taking care to keep them all about the same thickness. Toss with the remaining 2 teaspoons of avocado oil and season with salt. Mist the fryer basket with cooking spray. Working in batches to keep from overcrowding the fryer, cook fries until golden and crisp, about 7-10 minutes, shaking basket halfway through. Spread fries on a cooling rack set on top of a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining fries.
- Spread the fries on a serving plate. Spoon chili over (you may not use all of it; cover and refrigerate any leftover chili for another use). Sprinkle with cheese, top with desired toppings, and serve.