Lisa’s 4-Leaf Chili…from three beans to four leaves

By popular demand, the first in a series of 4-Leaf recipes from Lisa’s Kitchen

A wholesome 4-Leaf meal at less than $1 a serving.

Not being that handy in the kitchen myself, I decided up front that I would not include recipes in our book, but rather refer my readers to many great sources that are loaded with recipes. But lately, I have been hearing from many readers of this blog and our book about the need for recipes. I have also noticed that many recipes in some of the healthiest of plant-based cookbooks, are nowhere near our 4-Leaf level.

So I asked my daughter-in-law, Lisa Hicks, if she would prepare a series of recipes that I could share with everyone. Maybe this series will lead to a companion book in our future. Here is her first recipe; hope you like it.

This is my husband, Jason’s, favorite recipe. He never tires of it! It was inspired by Rip Esselstyn’s Three Bean Chili. We enjoy it any time of year. It is pretty easy to make and depending on your appetite can last up to a week.

Scoring high in the 4-Leaf range with well over 80% of its calories from whole, plant-based foods. Contains zero animal products. From Lisa with love…

Lisa’s 4-Leaf Chili — Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of brown rice, bulgur wheat, quinoa, or wheat berries (any whole grain of your choice)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 green, orange, yellow or red peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans (low sodium – i.e. goya), drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can black beans (low sodium – i.e. goya), drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas (low sodium – i.e. goya), drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 28 oz cans sodium free diced tomatoes, with juice (or fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste (no salt added)
  • 1 can corn or 1 cup frozen
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard (whole grain)
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses (unsulphured)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

    With love from Lisa...


  1. make whole grain first
  2. sauté onion on medium heat in large sprayed (i.e. Pam) soup pot for 5 minutes
  3. add garlic, bay leaves, bell peppers, celery, carrots, mushrooms and jalapeno (optional), then cook on medium for 5-10 minutes
  4. note: add water (1 tbsp at a time) as needed to avoid burning
  5. add beans, water, tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, apple, remaining seasonings, mustard, molasses and parsley or cilantro
  6. cover and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes
  7. lightly season with salt and pepper
  8. add whole grain to a bowl and pour chili on top
  9. store whole grain in a separate container
  10. enjoy!If you’d like to send an email to Lisa directly — all questions and/or praise are welcomed at

For a “printer-friendly” one-pager, ideal on your fridge with a magnet—Just click here for a PDF.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. And if you like what 4Leaf eating is doing for you and your family, you might enjoy visiting our new “4Leaf Gear” store. From the New England village of Holden, Massachusetts — Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—Lisa Hicks…blogging occasionally at

SHARE and rate this post below…One more thing, occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard.

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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5 Responses to Lisa’s 4-Leaf Chili…from three beans to four leaves

  1. this sounds delicious and I am intrigued by the addition of an apple. Cannot wait to see what that does to the flavors. I’ll likely change the beans a bit as I’m not a fan of kidney beans and the husband hates chickpeas that are not hummus. I’ll use pinto beans, black beans, and great northern. Cannot wait to make it!

  2. Teri says:

    All I can say is “AWESOME”! Easy to make, beautiful color and a pleasure to eat! I served this for the first time at a gathering of my friends. They all had seconds and some thirds with enough left over to send a little home with each. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Linda says:

    For those of you who are interested, Eden brand canned beans are organic, No-Salt-Added, and have no BPA in the can lining.

  4. Cacatua says:

    I usually just throw things together, but this recipe sounds great, and I will have to try it. Thank you!

  5. Jim
    Absolutely a great idea for putting together a simple breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack starter meal plan. I see this as a great booster shot for people like me to go to so i can get started on my own. A selection of 3 recipes for each meal that newbies can create on thier own give them all the protein and carbohydrates etc they need every day. Once they get going it can motivate them to read more, learn more and hopefully for you down the road create a truly exciting recipe book that you can put out as an addition to your current book. I would be happy to help layout the recipes so that a “beginner” like myself and can follow, and it answers my basic questions.
    Dan Liese

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