Bison (or Buffalo) is a sustainable alternative to beef, as bison don’t graze nearly as intensely as cattle and, since they are native to North America, are adapted to the American climate and natural food sources. This means less land and energy needed for shelter/heating and we don’t need to spend gallons of water growing their food.
Aside from the ecological bonuses of eating bison rather than beef, the health benefits of bison meat include lower saturated fat, more omega 3s, more protein, and fewer calories. Another plus, it’s illegal to administer growth hormones to bison in the U.S and antibiotics are rarely needed since they’ve evolved to survive in North America.
So choose bison next time a recipe calls for beef! Bison’s flavor is similar to, if not better than, beef and it’s becoming more and more readily available.
Before you start working on the noodles, do the Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumber. It takes five minutes to prepare and it’ll be perfect within 30 minutes, just when you’ve finished your colorful bowl of noodles.
This answer to take out is a fun way to enjoy ground bison, but feel free to substitute the meat with tempeh for vegetarians.
Basil Thai Noodles with Bison and Zucchini
1/2 pound wide rice noodles
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 pound grass fed ground beef or bison (or tempeh if vegan)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons coconut aminos, or 1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
1 large carrot, thin matchstick cut or bias cut
1 large zucchini, medium matchstick cut
1 ounce Thai basil or regular basil (about 1 cup picked leaves), stemmed and left whole
juice of 2 limes
3 scallions, bias cut (reserve some of the green cuts for garnish)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, to finish
What to do:
Cook wide rice noodles 9 minutes (may vary depending on the brand you buy- check package directions), and toss with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds. Set aside.
Sauté ground meat in oil in a large high sided skillet over high heat. Break it up as it cooks, but be careful not to agitate too much- you want to allow the meat to brown. Season with salt and remove from pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and add to noodles, trying to keep drippings in the pan.
In the same pan you used to cook the meat, sauté onion, ginger, and garlic in drippings and remaining 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil over medium high heat, about 5 minutes. Deglaze pan with coconut aminos and fish sauce. Add carrot and zucchini and continue to cook, tossing frequently, about 5-8 minutes or until softened. Add vegetables to noodles, along with basil, lime juice and scallion. Toss and serve. Garnish with reserved scallion and more sesame seeds or some roasted peanuts.
Great with sesame roasted broccoli and spicy quick pickled cucumber (below).
Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumber
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into quarter moons
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
pinch red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar
What to do:
Combine all ingredients, cover, and let marinate 20 minutes or overnight.