Barnard Medical Center Brings Plant-Based Meal to Capitol Hill

The Physicians Committee

Barnard Medical Center Brings Plant-Based Meal to Capitol Hill

BMC staff and guests on Capitol Hill

The Physicians Committee provided Capitol Hill with a colorful, plant-based buffet on June 23, 2017, complete with a cooking demonstration and question-and-answer period.

While staffers at the Rayburn House Office Building feasted on roasted cauliflower steaks, roasted beet hummus with pita and vegetables, and other options, Barnard Medical Center director James Loomis, M.D., spoke about plant-based eating and answered questions regarding health, nutrition, and the environment.

Karen, Jim, Maggie

Dr. Loomis prepared one of his own recipes—beet hummus—and Physicians Committee dietitian Karen Smith, R.D., made a chocolate mousse that drew gasps from the crowd when she unveiled the main ingredient: tofu.

vegan chocolate mousse

The audience also acquired helpful nutrition tips and food strategies. Dietitian Maggie Neola, R.D., cooked a zesty quinoa salad and detailed three ingredients to add to any healthy meal: grains, vegetables, and legumes. Dr. Loomis touted the antioxidants in beets, and Karen Smith described the health benefits of raspberries, and staffers left with a better understanding of healthful eating and plant-based foods.

With almost 100 people in attendance, the response was undeniably enthusiastic. Several onlookers expressed interest in cooking the same dishes at home, and some hung back after the demonstration to ask the experts about plant-based eating.


hill presentation

In addition to the delicious flavors and health benefits in these plant-based meals, staffers learned that they are straightforward and easy to prepare! The three presenters highlighted the simplicity of each buffet item. As Maggie Neola humorously recommended, “you don’t have to measure everything,” and options like the beet hummus and chocolate mousse included minimal work, with most ingredients simply blended in a high-powered blender.

beet hummous

Kyle Ash

By the end of the event, all of the food was eaten and staffers left feeling full, educated, and excited.

As one attendee mentioned, “With food like this, I could definitely eat vegan!”

Photo credit: Maureen Cohen Harrington, Vice President of the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association

Download the recipes for roasted beet hummus, zesty quinoa salad, chocolate mousse, and more!