From Lisa’s Kitchen…Hearty 4Leaf Black Bean Soup

Gotta love that avocado on top!

This recipe, inspired by Chef AJ’s book Unprocessed How to achieve vibrant health and your ideal weight, is packed with nutrients. There are two pounds of greens hidden in this soup! Top it with a dollop of creamy guacamole and enjoy!


  • 4 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
  • 8 cups of water (you may vary this and add vegetable broth in place of water)
  • 6 cans of low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained or, preferably, 10 1/2 cups of cooked dried beans.
  • 1 red onion, peeled and coarsely cut
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms (you may use a different variety)
  • 1 pound bok choy, coarsely chopped (about 3)
  • 1 pound kale, chopped (about 1 large bunch)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced (white or red potatoes work as well)
  • 2 bags frozen corn, defrosted (16 ounces each)
  • 2 Tblsp. cumin
  • 2 Tblsp. oregano
  • 4-5 Tblsp. lime juice or juice of 4 limes
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp of cayenne powder
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 Tblsp. Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning (optional)
  • 2 Tblsp. oil-free sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 bunch cilantro (optional)
  • 1 avocado (optional)

Leveraging the simple, yet powerful concept of maximizing the percent of your calories from whole plant foods -- still in nature's packageDirections:


  1. Pour vegetable broth and water into a 8-Quart or larger pot, cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans, one pound of the corn, garlic, onions, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, bok choy, kale and sun-dried tomatoes (if using).
  3. Simmer covered for about 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and blend soup with an immersion blender.
  5. Stir in cumin, oregano, lime juice, second bag of corn and Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning.
  6. Add a dollop of guacomole if desired.
  7. Enjoy!

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

With love from Lisa...

Click here for the page containing all recipes.

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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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6 Responses to From Lisa’s Kitchen…Hearty 4Leaf Black Bean Soup

  1. pj says:

    Lisa, I’ve tried a few of your recipes and they’ve all been very good. I hope to make your garbanzo bean tomato soup this weekend. Have you ever thought about giving the nutritional analysis for your recipes? (I know, healthy people like you and your family don’t kneed it, but a lot of us do. I’m healthy too, but I’ve had type 1 diabetes for most of my life, and there’s no way to avoid using insulin. Recipe analysis would be a great help when deciding what to prepare for a meal.) Thanks! I always analyze recipes if others haven’t done it, but I get lazy and am very grateful if someone else has already done it.

  2. Kerry says:

    This soup is fantastic and my husband liked it too. So really easy to make. I served it with spinach salad and crusty whole grain bread. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  3. Kris says:

    I have been following your blog daily since the fall, and I’ve read your book, which brings together many good sources that I’ve been familiar with for some time. I’ve been meaning to write to suggest that you encourage people to buy dried beans (cheap) and soak and cook instead of relying on canned in all the recipes that you post. This one sounds delicious, but there is a big difference in flavor and texture between canned beans and dried ones cooked at home, even when pureed as in this recipe. It only seems daunting until you do it once and see the difference. Would you consider an entry devoted to cooking beans at home? When you get down to it, there is really no good reason, other than convenience to buy canned beans. Dried are cheaper and taste better and the need to search out low sodium vanishes. There is none, or very little. Once cooked, they can be frozen. Kombu can be added to the pot for flavor and sea vegetable nutrition and tenderizing of the beans. I could go on, because I do cook my own beans and I want people to know that it is more frugal, tastier and in my opinion, better for the planet. Thanks for what you are doing, Mr. Hicks. It is much needed and I appreciate you.

    • jmorrishicks says:

      Hi Kris, Thanks for your comment. Hope you like my blog response on Monday. Best, Jim

      • Kris says:

        Thanks so much, Jim ! I look forward to your post. Best and black beans. Kris

  4. Leo S. says:

    Looks like a good recipe that Rip Esselstyn would share with his Engine 2 crew. Is there a recommended serving size? It would vary depending on one’s appetite. Love the two pounds of greens. That’s something we should have more of in our diets.

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