Food of the Week: Bison

Food of the Week: Bison
Presented by Spartan Training®

Strong, agile, aggressive. Able to jump high fences, or just charge through them. Running at speeds upwards of 35-40 miles. Strong swimmer. These are words used to describe the Spartan of all meat proteins: Bison.

Once endangered, these tenacious beasts now thrive in North America on prairies from Canada to Mexico. And although the cost of bison compared to the same cut of beef may be more expensive, the benefits to your body will be worth it. For the same cut of beef, Bison offer less saturated fat and cholesterol, and more iron.

The Better Red Meat

The American Heart Association’s recommendation to reduce red meat consumption for cardiovascular health is associated with the higher amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol that red meats contain. Additionally, Bison’s lean nature means reduced cooking time, cutting down on the high heat cooking temperatures associated with increased cancer risk. When compared to other animal meats, including Bison as your choice of red meat wins hands down.

Increase Your Flow

Let’s refresh ourselves on the role of iron. Iron is a part of the red blood cells and assists in the flow of oxygen to working tissue (aka muscle) as well as assist with actions within the body for the transfer of energy metabolism.

Inadequate levels of iron in the body can result in decreased blood flow, delivering less oxygen to the muscles, and a resulting decrease in performance not only during a race, but throughout training sessions as well. It can manifest itself with feelings of fatigue on exertion and reduced muscle power.

Spartans have a demanding training schedule, typically with longer duration, higher intensity, larger workload, and hopefully a proper nutrition plan to support it. How do these factors affect iron levels? Here are a few examples:

Dilutional Pseudoanemia (aka Sports Anemia or Athletic Anemia): the rise in blood volume and red blood cells that can occur when an athlete begins an intensive exercise program. Because the rise in blood volume increases faster than the increase of red blood cells, it appears as though the athlete has anemia. However, over time, the body adapts and the concentration returns to normal (Benardot, 2006).

Foot-Strike Anemia: the breaking of capillaries in the foot as we get in our demanding runs. The breakdown occurs faster than the body can repair them.

Restrictive Diets: Between work, training, and daily life, it can sometimes be easiest to have a very simple menu from week to week. However, you need to plan for iron-rich foods. Since only a small percentage of iron from food is absorbed, the recommended range is set high. (Coffee or tea drinker? You may be absorbing even less. More on that later.)

Unbalanced Diets: Focusing on iron already? What about magnesium, zinc, folate, and B12? These vitamins and minerals assist the body in red blood cell production and increase oxygen flow to your body.

Bison Recipes

Basic Skillet Seared Bison


  • 1 Bison medallion steak
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon each dried Rosemary and Thyme
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Pinch Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper, rosemary, and thyme.
  2. Heat pan over medium high heat, add coconut oil, then add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  3. Lay steak in the pan, sear top of the steak for 30 seconds without disturbing.
  4. Using tongs, flip and sear the bottom of the steak for another 30 seconds.
  5. Using tongs sear sides of the steak for 30 seconds each.
  6. Turn down the heat to medium or medium-low.
  7. Check for doneness by touching the steak.
  8. When you are satisfied with the doneness of your steak, turn off the stove top.
  9. Remove steaks from the pan and allow them to rest. Residual heat build-up in the steaks will continue to cook the meat.

Bison Salad with Strawberry and Feta

(Follow directions for Basic Skillet Seared Bison, above)


  • 3-4 cups Arugula (organic if you can)
  • ½ cup sliced strawberries
  • 1oz feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil


  1. Wash and chop arugula
  2. Toss with strawberries, feta, walnuts, and olive oil
  3. Top with chopped bison

Easy Quick Bison Chili


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 pounds bison, ground
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 15oz cans tomatoes, diced


  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add coconut oil
  2. Add onions and garlic and saute until onions are translucent, about 3 or 4 minutes.
  3. Add ground bison and cook until browned, about another 3-5 minutes
  4. Add cumin and chili powder and tomatoes. Stir to combine all ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes

Bison Meat Sauce


  • 1 pound bison, ground
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon Pink Himalayan Sea Salt


  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat (cast iron preferred)
  2. Sauté the diced onions until translucent
  3. Add ground bison, stir it to break up the meat so that there are no clumps. Cook until brown
  4. Add tomato sauce and chopped garlic. Stir. Simmer, covered, on low heat for 1 hour
  5. Serve on top of cooked spaghetti squash for a great “pasta” and meat sauce.

Bison Kabobs


  • 1 pound Bison Sirloin
  • 1 onion, yellow
  • 12 button mushrooms, medium size
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • Black pepper, ground

Ingredients for Easy Marinade

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup Red Wine Vinegar


  1. Soak 8 wooden skewers in water (To prevent the wood from burning) or use metal skewers
  2. Combine all marinade ingredients in a gallon size Ziploc bag.
  3. Slice the sirloin into 1-inch cubes. Slice the onion and peppers into slices that match the size of the sirloin cubes.
  4. Place all ingredients except tomatoes into the marinade bag and refrigerate at least one hour
  5. Load the skewers by alternating between ingredients. Sprinkle with pepper.
  6. To grill: Put grill on medium heat. Place skewers on grill, turn frequently until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 F (medium doneness).
  7. To broil in oven: Set broiler rack 6 inches from top of oven. Place the skewers on a broiler pan (spray pan with non-stick spray for easy clean up). Broil on each side for approximately 5 minutes until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 F (medium doneness).

Turmeric Bison with Greens


  • 1 large bunch of collard greens, about 10-12 leaves
  • 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 2 pounds ground bison
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt and ground pepper, to taste


  1. Rinse and dry each collard leaf. Pull the leaves off the stems and discard the stems. Place the leaves on top of each other (in batches of 3-4), roll them up, and slice into long strips. Place the collard strips in a large bowl and set aside
  2. Heat up 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the collard strips and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Remove the collard leaves to a medium bowl and set aside
  3. Add ground bison and onion to the skillet and cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through. Use a spatula to break the meat up. Stir in the spices, turn off the heat, and stir in the collard greens. Serve hot.

Bison Meatballs

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ to ½ cup panko or gluten free, or whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pound ground bison


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, cook, stirring frequently about 5 minutes, until translucent.   Add garlic. Cook, stirring, 1 minute; let cool.
  2. In a large bowl combine breadcrumbs , milk, egg, pepper and allspice. Add bison and onion mixture. Mix until blended. Roll into golf ball sized balls
  3. In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, drizzle 1 tablespoon oil. Brown meatballs in batches for about 7 minutes, turning frequently to brown all sides.  Transfer to a dish and cover with foil to keep warm.

Amp up your fitness and wellness routine NOW. Click here to find a Spartan Race close to you!