House Cook-Off Recipe Competition

Your challenge is to plan a Vegetarian Dinner/Lunch Meal for 4 people with a budget of around $25.

Every entry will earn you a House Point. Entries which are bi-lingual and come in a second language (te reo, spanish, german etc) will earn 2 House Points!

The top 2 Recipes from each house will then go head to head in the Manaaki Café Cook-Off in Term 3 where teams of 4 students will make and serve their dish which will be judged by customers in the Café.

You can take inspiration from other recipes, but you must write up the plan in your own words.

If you are unsure of ingredient prices, you can check these at – There is also a helpful bit of information on most products which tells you the price per 100g.

You do not need to work out the exact price for items just keep an eye on your total costs. This will be easy if you stay local and choose seasonal vegetables.

Your Recipe must be written so that someone who knows less about food than you can make it at home. Therefore, you may decide to add links to YouTube videos showing key skills such as making a white sauce or dicing an onion.

Your Recipe should start by explaining how it meets the Challenge’s 3 criteria which judges will be looking for. They are:

Sustainability, Taste, Write-up


This is all about using Seasonal Ingredients that have a low impact on the Environment. For example, if you use fresh tomatoes in the middle of New Zealand winter, they will be really expensive because they have been flown all the way from Italy! So, instead of making a recipe that uses summer fruits, use foods like pumpkin, cauliflower or broccoli which are cheap and local winter foods. For more info on what’s in season check out our ‘Staying Seasonal’ tab.


This is all about making recipe that has a little bit of everything. The best way to do this is to mix and match ideas from different recipes to make something balanced.

  1. Crispy/Crunchy – Think Cucumber, Lettuce, Croutons, Poppadums, Crispy Shallots, Parmesan Crisps!
  2. Soft/Moist – Sauce can make or break a dish! Think Cheese & Bolognaise Sauce, Mayo, Pesto, & Dressings!
  3. Structure/Chewy – This is what holds it all together, think Pasta, Bread, Rice, Potato, Cous Cous and Grains.
  4. Rich – This is all about big flavours! The yum-yum stuff! Flavour Country! Think comfort food on a rainy day.
  5. Fresh – Fresh is the balance to ‘Rich’. Big flavours are great but they need freshness. Think Raw Food, Herbs, or Fruit!

The next 5 flavours are all about balance. Too much of any of them will ruin a dish aim for a little bit of each one!

  1. Salty – Salt is important for our bodies but also opens our taste buds up allowing other flavours to shine!
  2. Sweet – Too much sugar is unhealthy, but sweetness is there to balance Salt, Acidity & Bitterness. Think Honey, Brown Sugar, Maple Syrup, or Caramelised Vegetable.
  3. Bitter – Bitterness should always be balanced with sweetness. Think Broccoli, Kale, & Spinach which are best served with something sweet like cranberries, or a Maple Syrup Dressing.
  4. Sour/Acidic – Very important for digestion, but also flavour. Think Vinegar, Lemon or Lime Juice, & Pickles.
  5. Spicy – Chilli and Spice is best when balanced with yogurt, something Fresh or Sweet, or as a side option.


This is about making sure your Recipe is easy to follow, sounds amazing, and has all the information needed for anyone to make it at home. Some of the things we would like to see are a picture, nutritional information, and well written instructions. For info on where to find copyright-free pictures see the ‘Finding Images’ tab. If you are unsure about vegetable seasons check out the ‘Staying Seasonal’ tab. For more info on how to make a healthy nutritional meal just click on the ‘Nutrition’ tab.

Helpful Hints

  1. Go see Matt in HOS2 with your draft Meal Plan for Three Free Tips!
  2. Check out the ‘Inspiration’ tab for Vege-friendly websites.
  3. Use the Nutrition calculator on the ‘Nutrition’ tab
  4. If you want to change a non-vegetarian recipe then look under the ‘Meat-Free Protein’ tab for alternatives.
  5. Use the ‘Staying Seasonal’ tab to make sure you are not spending money on expensive imported foods.
  6. If you can’t take your own photo then make your Recipe look great with a copy-right free Photo from the list on the ‘Finding Images’ tab.  
  7. If you can’t picture what we are looking for then check out the sweet examples under the ‘Recipe’ tab!
  8. Last but NOT least! Keep it simple! You may just end up having to cook it in the finals!

Go to the ‘Submissions’ tab for info on where to send your recipe.