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Fewer Ingredients, Fewer Fridays: Crib Notes for the March Food Challenge

If television is any indication, food challenges are all the rage, err… range. As part of a month-long focus on food, GOOD has devised a food challenge called "Fewer Fridays." The idea is to cook a dinner party for your friends, family or neighbors using less ingredients than guests. The challenge includes a photo contest, natch. Practically speaking, this means that if your dinner includes four guests (including you), you can use up to three ingredients in your dinner. If you’ve got ten at the table (or sprawled on couches, spare chairs and ottomans), you’re looking at a nine-ingredient meal.

Here’s the fine print: salt, pepper and one natural fat of your choice (olive oil, butter, canola, etc.) do not count as ingredients (you’re welcome). As for processed foods like ketchup, chocolate chips, bread, or cheese: they each count as one ingredient. Also, drinks such as wine or beer or seltzer or juice don’t count, unless they are meant to be consumed in place of food (such as a smoothie). Though that’s a bit of help to get you through this challenge, you may want to start that bottle before your guests arrive.

For the culinary-challenged, here are some recipes you may want to put to work to get the most out of your ingredients:

  • 3 people, 2 ingredients: grilled sausages over sautéed Swiss chard
  • 4 people, 3 ingredients: roasted salmon with couscous and kale
  • 5 people, 4 ingredients, vegetarian: soft-boiled eggs over asparagus, brown rice, and shaved pecorino
  • 6 people, 5 ingredients: grilled steak, baked sweet potato fries, arugula and parmesan salad, melon for dessert (or swap the parm for some feta over watermelon)
  • 7 people, 6 ingredients: linguini with shrimp, chili flakes, and chopped tomatoes, simple green salad, berries for dessert
  • 8 people, 7 ingredients: roasted lemon chicken with roasted potatoes (same pan!), green salad with sautéed wild mushrooms, dark chocolate and oranges for dessert
  • 8 people, 7 ingredients, vegan: warm cannellini beans served over quinoa, roasted cauliflower steaks (slice the head top to bottom into 1 inch ‘steaks’ before cooking) with tahini sauce (ground tahini paste mixed with water), steamed broccoli, creamy banana “ice cream” (the alchemic recipe of frozen banana chunks blended in the food processor) with toasted coconut bits
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The idea is to get cooking. Oh, and to make friends with your neighbors—you may just need an extra ingredient.

This month, we're challenging the GOOD community to host a dinner party and cook a meal that contains fewer ingredients than the number of people on the guest list. Throughout March, we'll share ideas and resources for being more conscious about our food and food systems. Join the conversation at and on Twitter at #chewonit.

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