Mark Morris Dance Group’s Nicole Sabella Shares Her Mediterranean Chickpea Patty Recipe

October 14, 2022

Mark Morris Dance Group’s Nicole Sabella first developed the recipe for her Mediterranean-inspired chickpea patties while studying for her holistic health coach certification at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Learning about different ways to use less animal-based protein, she turned to her chef husband for help with the proportions. Five years later, the patties are still a regular part of Sabella’s dinner rotation—and a go-to recommendation for her wellness clients. “I’m all about a ‘Cook once, eat twice or more’ mentality,” says Sabella, who usually pairs her chickpea patties with wilted greens and a grain, like lemon rice, or roasted potatoes. “They’re very energizing, nourishing and satiating.”

female sitting in large white chair eating strawberries
Nicole Sabella. Photo by Gabriel Kearns, Courtesy Sabella.

The Nourished Dancer

During the pandemic, Sabella turned the focus of her health coaching business, The Nourished Dancer, to working primarily with dancers. “For me personally, it’s been very healing to learn about nutrition and wellness from a non-diet perspective,” she says.

Current Kitchen Playlist

Mark Morris is a choreographer long lauded for his musicality. So it’s only fitting that Sabella, who’s been performing with his company since 2013, always cooks with music on. “Especially if I’m alone, it makes it such a fun experience,” she says. “Lately it’s been a lot of blues and soul and some Motown—anything that feels soulful.”

chickpea patties garnished on a platter
Sabella pairs the chickpea patties with greens, grains and tzatziki. Courtesy Sabella.


  • 2 15.5 oz cans of garbanzo beans/chickpeas
  • 2 medium or 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps fresh herbs, finely chopped (any combination of parsley, cilantro or dill is recommended)
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 free-range large eggs
  • 2 1/2 tbsps coconut flour
  • enough extra-virgin olive oil (coconut and/or avocado oil can also be used) to coat the frying pan by 1/8-inch


  1. Empty the garbanzo beans into a strainer. Rinse the beans and let them dry.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the garbanzo beans, garlic, onion, herbs, spices and eggs.
  3. Mash mixture with hands until the garbanzo beans are 90 percent mashed. (This may be a good time to take out some aggression!)
  4. Add the coconut flour. Combine and mash mixture again.
  5. Form the garbanzo mixture into 1-inch patties and place on a large plate.
  6. Heat an extra-large skillet to high heat.
  7. Add 1/8-inch of olive oil to the skillet and allow to heat up.
  8. Place patties in the skillet. Allow to cook for 4 minutes. Then flip patties, lower heat to medium and cook for 4 more minutes.
  9. While patties are cooking, prepare a surface with a towel (either cloth or paper towel) to absorb oil from frying.
  10. Place patties on the towel. Let cool for 1–2 minutes.
  11. Patties are now ready to serve with traditional tzatziki or your
    personal favorite dipping sauce!