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World's Collided - Lentil and Autumn Roasted Vegetable Bowls with Tahini Sauce

World's Collided - Lentil and Autumn Roasted Vegetable Bowls with Tahini Sauce

May 2016

World's Collided

Yesterday was incredible. Worlds collided. Emily, a writer for Sports Illustrated at the time, was in town for less than 24 hours. It was a last minute trip to the Redskins training camp in Ashburn, Virginia. She was doing an exclusive with Josh Norman, the most talked about player in the NFL. The draft was the week prior, and he signed a five year $75 million deal with the Redskins—amounting to the highest paid cornerback in the NFL in pro football. 

The House that week was in recess. And thus, the halls of congress were empty, the Capitol a ghost town. Emily texted me at 4:26 p.m.: “could I bring Josh to the Capitol? lol; or too much; for a tour?” I told her of course, but I leave in 30. She said she was on the way. 

We walked into the Capitol, and I told security that they’re with me. We didn’t need to get out obligatory visitor passes. The officer proceeded to take a picture with Josh. Big fan, he explained. Wanted to talk about Odell Beckham. I soon realized they’re not with me, I’m with him. Duly noted.

It took us 20 minutes to walk to the steps by Democratic Whip Hoyer’s office. I learned Norman was a drama major at Costal Carolina, and had to pick between acting and football. Now, in the hollow, marble encased, historic building, he was captivated by the paintings and murals on the ceilings.

Murals on the ceiling of the first floor on the House Side of the Capitol

Murals on the ceiling of the first floor on the House Side of the Capitol


In Statuary Hall Josh wanted to know about each statue, yearning to learn every detail. He was legitimately interested. 

Statuary Hall

Statuary Hall

We carried on to the Rotunda. Josh was fascinated by the Lying in State. Then the Crypt.

Stairs up to the Crypt

Stairs up to the Crypt


I reached out to the Speaker's office to show him the Speaker's Balcony, one of the most coveted views of Washington DC. In fact, it’s where the Pope addressed thousands back in September. It's  a direct view of the West Front to the Washington Monument. It’s the center of DC, with streets shooting diagonally from the Capitol. You feel as if it’s the center of the world. The power and symbolism of American government. 


We took a few pictures with Josh.


After our two hour tour, they headed back to Ashburn, where the Redskins train. Josh later told Emily it was one if the first times he really felt connected to DC history.

Ashburn is a trek, to say the least. I knew we wouldn’t be eating until late, but, I was adamant about waiting. Stubbornly so. She’s never in town, and we would have a family dinner, whenever that may be. When I got home, I was in prep mode. Emily always complains that she eats scattered meals on the road. So I would make her a composed meal with all the vegetables--black lentils and short brown rice bowls with roasted autumn vegetables, almonds, pomegranate seeds and tahini sauce.

I pre-cut the vegetables the broccoli, brussel sprouts, parsnips, carrots, but there was still a fair amount to do. I used based the general idea off of a Heidi Swanson recipe, as it's easy to get inspiration from her cooking style. There was a lot of moving parts for this dish, but it was well worth it. I composed the bowls by mixing the lentils and brown rice and tahini sauce in everyone’s bowls. Then, topping it with garlic and olive oil roasted vegetables. I finished it with slivered almonds and pomegranate seeds, and extra tahini sauce on the side for topping.


Emily came after 9 p.m., and we were ready for dinner. I served the plated bowls and it was a major crowd pleaser. Tasty and healthy and satisfying. We chatted at the table for a while. My two favorite people in the entire world. A wonderful way to end such a memorable day.


Lentil and Autumn Roasted Vegetable Bowls with Tahini Sauce

Serves: 3


  • 1 ½ cup short grain brown rice, cooked

  • 3 cups black lentils, cooked

  • 6 tbsp. slivered almonds

  • 6 tbsp. pomegranate seeds

  • 12 large Brussels sprouts, quartered

  • 1 small head broccoli, florets

  • 4 carrots, chopped

  • 4 parsnips, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • ½ cup tahini

  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup

  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce

  • ½ tbsp. lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil

  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika


  • Peel and chop carrots in ½ inch pieces

  • Chop broccoli florets

  • Quarter the Brussel sprouts

  • Mince garlic

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees

  • Cook rice according to package, set aside

  • Cook lentils according to package, set aside

  • Divide vegetables between two baking sheets and coat each baking sheet with 1 tbsp. olive oil and ample salt and pepper

  • Roast vegetables for 15-25 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until vegetables are crisp

  • In a small bowl, whisk tahini, maple syrup, soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, and paprika and set aside

  • In three large, shallow divide lentils and brown rice among the three bowls

  • Top with 3 generous ladles of tahini sauce and mix in each bowl. Set remainder of tahini sauce aside

  • Divide roasted vegetables among the three bowls

  • Top each bowl with 2 tbsp. pomegranate seeds and 2 tbsp. silvered almonds

  • Serve with additional tahini sauce on the side

*Recipe adapted from Heidi Swanson, 101 Cookbooks (2007)

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