Savoury Mains

Lemony Miso Zucchini Noodles w/ Za’atar Spiced Black Beans

I’ve been trying to learn how to draw. It’s an exercise in patience and the realization that some things just don’t come naturally. It feels good to self-motivate and have a daily practice (daily if I remember…) that is centred around just sitting with a pencil and paper, a cup of tea, some chill tunes, and with any luck a square of dark chocolate that I try my best not to smear on the paper. It is good and nice. It is just for me and that is important to remember.

I went out to this magazine launch the other night where a good friend of mine was reading for the event. Amidst the cheap sparkle of plastic wine cups and the slow chatter that exists in that kind of hip art space (the music too loud and the people dispersed), I remembered what it felt like to be surrounded by people who make art. Listening to those readings, I was reminded of that certain drive to create and share work. It was emotional at times, I laughed hard, I felt awkward and out of place, talked to good friends, walked home through the bone chilling wind to drink a beer in my underwear and fall asleep by midnight.

Feeling lost at times is okay, I think. I don’t feel lost in a bad way, just in a lingering in the in-between for a bit too long kind of way. If that makes sense.

Finishing school was exciting and messy. It felt so good, and now it just feels… boring? I miss constantly being validated for my work (it’s true, I can’t deny it) and sitting around discussing art and literature. I don’t want to romanticize it too much because I know how done I was with it all, but there is a definite sense of loss at times.

So I am drawing. And creating recipes. I am meeting new people and re-connecting with friends I haven’t seen in a while. Listening to new music. Reading with a vigour. Wearing holes in my boots from walking through this icy city.

These zucchini noodles were born from a Sunday afternoon hustle. My brother was hanging out at our apartment with us and I realized I didn’t have a recipe to post for this coming week. Quickly, I took stock of the fridge – zucchini, onion, lemons (LOTS of lemons), garlic, miso, black beans, spices… It came together out of a necessity to use up the leftover veggies and the urge to create something from little inspiration.

I always find that those rushed and very in-the-moment type recipes work out well. I don’t have the time to let myself think, so the flavours are allowed to do their thing and mingle in unexpected ways.

Zucchini takes up the flavour of whatever it is marinated in, so these noodles taste of a bright twist of lemon, spicy garlic, and just a hint of umami from the miso. I like to add a handful of protein into each meal and the black beans work well here. Warmed to perfection and sprinkled with za’atar they provide the perfect topping and earthy balance for the sharp, lemony noodles.

I hope you make this recipe. It is so perfect for a simple and light week night meal. Love you, babes!

Lemony Miso Zucchini Noodles w/ Za’atar Spiced Black Beans

Serves 2 – 4 (as a main or a side)

Ingredients

  • 3 large zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 1 tsp honey (or maple syrup)
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • pepper
  • 1 can black beans (540 ml), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp za’atar
  • sriracha

Notes

Using your spiralizer, make zucchini noodles from the 3 zucchinis. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, honey, lemon juice and water. Set aside.

Heat a cast iron pan over low-medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and wait until hot. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add in the zucchini noodles and toss with the onions, garlic and seasoning. Add in the miso/honey/water/lemon mixture and toss to combine. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, until the noodles are soft. Transfer to a serving dish, leaving the cast iron on the heat.

Wipe out the cast iron (you can just give it a quick once over with a cloth or paper towel) and add the black beans and za’atar. Stir together over the heat for a couple of minutes, until the black beans are warmed through. Remove from heat.

Top the zucchini noodles with the black beans. Finish it off with a squirt of sriracha and serve! This is best when fresh.

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Maia
    March 9, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    I also just graduated from college, and I so relate to this. It’s crazy and difficult that we place so much value on productivity and external validation. I’d love to hear your book recs!

    • Reply
      Maya
      March 11, 2017 at 10:37 pm

      Uh huh! It is all so crazy! Oh, I just finished such a good book. It’s called "The Secret History" by Donna Tartt. Highly recommend 🙂

  • Reply
    Liz @ pumpkin & peanut butter
    March 9, 2017 at 10:41 am

    The transition from school to the real world can be so challenging! The change of pace, the stress, the expectations, the routines— they all effect our bodies so much and it feels like such a let down when it’s all done. I’m sure it’ll start at balance out as you adjust to your new routine, and it sounds like you’re finding so many ways to keep your mind creative and busy!

  • Reply
    Liz @ pumpkin & peanut butter
    March 9, 2017 at 10:41 am

    The transition from school to the real world can be so challenging! The change of pace, the stress, the expectations, the routines— they all effect our bodies so much and it feels like such a let down when it’s all done. I’m sure it’ll start at balance out as you adjust to your new routine, and it sounds like you’re finding so many ways to keep your mind creative and busy!

  • Reply
    Liz @ pumpkin & peanut butter
    March 9, 2017 at 10:41 am

    The transition from school to the real world can be so challenging! The change of pace, the stress, the expectations, the routines— they all effect our bodies so much and it feels like such a let down when it’s all done. I’m sure it’ll start at balance out as you adjust to your new routine, and it sounds like you’re finding so many ways to keep your mind creative and busy!

    • Reply
      Maya
      March 11, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      You’re totally right! It is such a big change too, because I’ve NEVER not been in school… So weird to realize that. But it is slowly becoming more natural and even enjoyable and relaxing 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah | Well and Full
    March 8, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    I felt kind of lost when I left school too… transitions like that are hard! School gives your life purpose and meaning, and it IS nice to have your work validated. When you’re a blogger, you don’t really have that in the same way. So I feel ya, girl!

    • Reply
      Maya
      March 9, 2017 at 12:20 am

      Thank you so much for saying that, Sarah! It feels good to know that you went through the same thing 🙂 I guess it is just a new phase of life to get used to, and that’s exciting in some ways even if it can be scary <3

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