Healthy Venison Chili (Stovetop, Paleo, Whole30 Option)
A protein-loaded, comfort meal perfect for Sunday night dinner. This venison chili recipe is easy to make and packed full of classic flavor. Cozy up with a big bowl of healthy venison chili and warm up from head to toe.
This healthy chili recipe is an easy recipe and can be used for either a busy weeknight dinner or a leisurely Sunday night get-together.
It comes together in under an hour and has all the comforts of classic chili flavor but all the benefits of a leaner protein.
You can serve it with your favorite tortilla chips or top it with a cashew sour cream. Regardless, you’ll dive into this bowl and feel wrapped in comfort.
What Is Venison
Venison is another word for elk or deer. This type of meat is normally very lean in nature but can have a bit more of a “wild game” or tough flavor if not cooked properly.
It is most often compared to beef however their flavors are very different. Venison tends to have an “Earthier” flavor.
Is There A “Wild” Taste To Deer?
There can be, yes. However, it depends on how it is cooked.
Venison cooked or marinated in acidic sauces (like the tomato sauce in this recipe) does not have a wild or bitter taste.
In fact, not only is it more filling than beef but it tastes much more flavorful too.
Subbing Venison For Beef
You can, of course, substitute ground beef for venison in this chili recipe.
Just make sure to fully drain the fat from the beef (there will be more in the beef than the venison) before adding anything else.
Otherwise, the chili will be a bit too watery and not thicken up as it should.
Is chili Better If It Cooks longer?
Most of the time, yes! But you can overcook it.
The longer this stovetop chili is cooked, the more the flavors will infuse and the sauce will thicken.
However, cooking it at high heat for too long will cause it to dry out and have a “burnt” taste.
Thus, keep a close eye on it. Also, add more liquid while simmering if you need to (this only applies if you plan on cooking the chili longer than in this recipe).
Best Beans For Chili?
The best beans for chili are the ones you enjoy!
Most people prefer a blend of beans (black, kidney, chickpea, etc) in their chili recipes. However, any beans you have on hand will work.
Make sure they are canned or fully cooked through as raw beans will absorb the liquid and cause the chili to dry out.
How To Make The Recipe Whole30 Approved
Though this is a healthy chili recipe, it does contain beans. Beans of any kind are not allowed on the whole30 diet (learn more about approved whole30 foods).
to make the recipe whole30 approved simple sub the beans with sweet potatoes. You’ll need 1 medium to large sweet potato.
Peel and cut it into bite-size pieces and toss the pieces in when you would the beans
How To Meal Prep it
Chili makes a great meal prep recipe for lunch or dinner (learn more about making meal prep easy). However, you do need to cook it fully first.
Basically, you want to cook the chili and then portion it into containers for lunch. Simply reheat in the microwave and you’re good to go!
More often than not, chili actually tastes better the next day when it’s had a chance to sit and thicken in the fridge.
If you need to just make this recipe faster, simply cook the beef ahead of time and then finish the remaining part of the recipe that evening for dinner.
FAQ’s & Notes
- Any beans will work in this chili recipe
- You can sub ground beef for the venison but it will change the taste slightly. Make sure to drain the beef fully beforehand.
- If using this recipe for meal prep, cook it first and then portion
- The chili will thicken if left to sit in the fridge overnight. You may need to add some water to the pot if reheating the whole thing
- To make this recipe whole30 approved simply substitute sweet potato (peeled and diced) for canned beans
- 1.5 lb ground venison
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 ½ cup water (or broth)
- 2 cup chopped zucchini
- 1 onion, diced
- 15.5 oz can mixed beans
- 1 teaspoon garlic, fresh chopped or powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 tablespoon chili powder
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Stovetop Venison Chili