It’s been a good night if it ends with falafel.

Midnight, maybe 2am, on MacDougal Street, holding a soft, warm pita stuffed with the crave-able spiced chickpea and fava bean patties that have been fried in peanut oil then drizzled with yogurt sauce. Maybe there’s a handful of shredded lettuce for crunch and a squeeze of chili sauce for extra heat. We’re standing beneath the moon and million fluorescent bulbs dodging college kids, stand-up comics heading to their next set and others just like us– exhausted but blissfully happy eaters devouring late-night street food.

Fried falafel with the pavement beneath our toes and ringing music in our ears is a moment. Right then and there all we can think is, “We rocked it!” And then we slink out of our party shoes and go home to the babysitter…

We dared ourselves to do street food at home- and to make it healthy. Kinda impossible? Not when quinoa, our favorite Super Food, replaces chickpeas, and black beans stand in for the favas. Cumin, parsley and sundried tomatoes do their thing, giving the baked (not fried) patties a smoky yet fresh flavor. We also skip the pita and pair our patties with a big bed of arugula. Shredded, smoked cheddar cheese completes the plate. One forkful and our first thought is, “We rocked it!” (And we did it in under 300 calories!) There’s not a comedy club or watered-down “well” drink in sight.

Black Bean and Quinoa Falafel

Serves 4


4 cups water

1¼ cup quinoa

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups yellow onion, rough chop

1 tablespoon garlic, rough chop
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup cilantro, rough chop
1/2 cup parsley, rough chop
1/2 cup sun dried tomato, cut into pieces
15 oz can black bean, drained
1 egg
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour


Lightly salt the 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and cook  until just tender, 12-15 minutes. Strain the quinoa and rinse with cold water. Leave in a fine mesh strain strainer to drain until ready to use.


Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, add the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until tender and lightly browned. Stir in the ground cumin, coriander and a pinch of salt; cook 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.


Combine the cooled onion mixture cilantro, parsley and sun dried tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Do not puree. Add the black and pulse again. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the quinoa, egg and flour. Mix well.


preheat oven to 425˚F


Form small patties of the mixture and place on a well oiled, foil-lined baking sheet. When all of the patties are on the tray, drizzle with additional olive oil and place in the oven to roast until lightly browned on the edges, about 12 minutes.