Chef Richard's Healthy Venison Chili

I’ve just come back from a trip to the mountains, where the weather was cooler and the produce choices from farmers markets were phenomenal. The local flavors and amazing seasonal foods were the perfect excuse to fire up the kitchen on those cool mountain nights. Since I’ll be heading to the Canadian wilderness in a couple of weeks, with temperatures in 40’s on some nights, I’ve started to think of some healthier fall dishes.

Venison chili is a very lean and hearty dish that is perfect for fall months. If you can’t find venison, you can always substitute ground turkey. Whichever meat you choose, the ingredients in this recipe will keep your heart healthy and strong.

According to the National Institutes of Health,  lean red meat is low in saturated fat, and a diet low in saturated fat is associated with reductions in LDL-cholesterol. Lean red meat is also a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc and iron.

(Serves 4)


  • 1 pound ground venison (or ground turkey)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Serrano peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn, husked and cut into 1” rounds
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat a medium-sized stockpot over medium-high heat. Coat pan with olive oil. Add venison; cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove from pan and drain off excess liquid.
  2. In the same stockpot, add onion, bell pepper, garlic and Serrano peppers. Cook until tender, stirring frequently.
  3. Deglaze pan with white wine.
  4. Stir in chili powder and cumin.
  5. Add venison, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, kidney beans, parsnip, corn and tomato paste, stirring until well-combined; bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for about 30 minutes.
  7. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and chili powder, as needed.

 Nutritional information: calories: 319 Fat: 4.1g saturated fat: 1.2g monounsaturated fat: 0.9g polyunsaturated fat: 1g protein: 35.8g carbohydrate: 35.8g sodium: 541mg


Chef Richard Plasencia, executive chef at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, joined Baptist Health South Florida in 2011. He is an award-winning chef who is passionate about creating and sharing fresh local and seasonal recipes seasoned with flavor and good health. In addition to an interest in nutrition, Chef Richard has an extensive history in the hospitality industry.

He served as Chef at Town Kitchen & Bar, Jake’s, the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, the Shore Club, Por Fin, and the Conrad Hotel. He also was part of several teams that received the Mobile 4 and 5 star awards, as well as Cioppino being named to America’s Top 50 restaurants by Esquire Magazine 2005, during his time at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Chef Richard Plasencia graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a Bachelor of Science in culinary arts.



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