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Capitol Hill Hosts Inaugural Veggie Burger Contest

The first-ever “Veggie Burger Smackdown” invites politicians to sample plant-based food.

The first annual Congressional Veggie Burger Smackdown—hosted by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), chef Todd Gray of Washington, DC’s Equinox restaurant, and the Vegetarian Caucus—takes place July 22 as an alternative to Capitol Hill’s Annual Hot Dog Lunch. The vegan event not only gives Capitol Hill staffers the opportunity to try gourmet meat-free fare but also honors state representatives who fight for animal rights. Congressional members and their teams will be able to sample Gray’s FLOTUS burger (red quinoa and dehydrated black olive burger with vegan blue cheese crumble, shiitake bacon, and red onion marmalade) and four sauces that celebrate the state fruit and vegetables of four vegetarian representatives: Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. The state with the winning sauce earns nutrition education materials for its public K-12 students. “I think both sides of the aisle can agree that fruit and veggies should replace disease-causing hot dogs on Capitol Hill and in the American diet,” PCRM president Neal Barnard said.

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