Dorchester Community Food Co-op

Building a Healthy, Sustainable & Economically Viable Community

Participant Information for Dorchester $5 Challenge Competition


We’re excited by the burst of interest we’ve received from Dorchester residents who are eager to participate in the upcoming $5 Meal Challenge! We hope you enjoy the good food and company of your neighbors while celebrating healthy eating on a budget.

Below are the guidelines for entering your dish into the competition portion of the event. Please review them carefully and contact Sarah at with any questions.

  1. The dish must be big enough to feed 2-4 people normal-sized portions. (The definition of “normal-sized” can vary from person to person, but think about serving this dish to your family or friends, and the amount you would give each person.)

  2. The ingredients used in making the dish must not exceed $5.00.

  3. There are certain ingredients that can be used that do NOT count towards the monetary total. These include:


    Dried herbs & spices
    Crushed red pepper
    Garlic powder
    Bay leaves
    Chili powder
    Curry powder
    Flour (as thickening agent only, not as main ingredient)
    Sugar (granulated or brown)
    Butter, margarine
    Baking soda
    Baking powder
    Hot sauce
    Soy sauce

    Fish sauce
  4. Food cannot be heated onsite. Please be prepared to serve at room temperature. Bringing hot (or cold) food in insulated bags is allowed.
  5. Judges will be looking for a variety of qualities in each dish, but the most weight will be given to the nutritional value of the dish and how well it follows these guidelines. Judges will also judge on the taste and appearance of each dish, and will award special prizes in categories including Most Kid-friendly Dish and Easiest Dish to Make in a Hurry.
  6. Participants are encouraged to bring copies of their recipes to give out at the event. These recipes will then be published on the DotCommCoop website, unless the participant requests otherwise. This is a fun way to share your kitchen knowledge with your neighbors, and to encourage healthy, home-cooked meals!
  7. Competition slots are limited to 20 participants, so sign up today to reserve your spot!  Simply email, or respond to this post in the comments with your name and contact information.

If you’re running low on ideas, check out Eating Well’s $5 Challenge article, complete with recipes (but be aware—they actually use recipes that are $5 per portion, so they can be more expensive than what you might be making. These are just a starting-off point, to get your creative juices flowing):

3 thoughts on “Participant Information for Dorchester $5 Challenge Competition

  1. What about eggs?

    • Leslie,
      Good question! We think that eggs should be counted towards the $5 total, otherwise an entire egg-based dish could end up in the competition–which is fine, as long as they’re accounted for in the total!
      If you’re just looking to use eggs as a binding agent, try substituting oil or margarine/butter, which can often work in the same way. If that makes the dish too thick, try using milk.
      I hope that helps!

  2. Depending on sweet or savory dish you could also use applesauce

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