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Stamford Residents Get Creative With Canned Vegetarian Beans

Cora Ragaini, Shoprite registered dietitian, was a guest judge for the New Neighborhoods Inc. Bean Contest Finale. Photo Credit: Contibuted
Dishes included everything from baked beans to empanadas to smoothies. Photo Credit: Contibuted

STAMFORD, Conn. -- When the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County found itself with a surplus of canned vegetarian beans, it turned to New Neighborhoods Inc. to come up with ways to get more people to choose to use the ingredient.

NNI’s Tenant Advocate Program coordinators cooked up a challenge that was too tasty to refuse: a vegetarian bean contest for tenants that culminated in a cook-off finale in April at NNI’s Martin Luther King Jr. Apartments in Stamford.

The contest was open to all residents at NNI’s Belltown Manor, Atlantic, Friendship House, Marshall Commons, Madison Smith, Stillwater Heights and Martin Luther King Jr. properties in Stamford.

Each property had its own cook-off, with entrée, appetizer, beverage and dessert categories. The category winner from each property then went on to compete in the all-NNI Vegetarian Bean Finale in April.

Recipes included several styles of baked beans and bean casseroles, empanadas, crockpot warm bean and cheese dip, bean smoothies and vegetarian bean chili. Contestants’ entries were judged by tenants and guest judge Cora Ragaini, registered dietitian with ShopRite in Stamford.

The winning submission was Southern-style baked beans from Sherritta Joyner (MLK Jr. Apartments).

Finalist recipes are available by emailing and putting Bean Contest Recipes in the subject line.

NNI is Fairfield County’s oldest active nonprofit housing development and manager, and food bank pantry distribution partner.

For more information on affordable housing and NNI, call NNI at 203-359-2215 or visit .

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