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Festival Food: Meal-Prep Recipes That Won’t Go Off Overnight

Festival Food: Meal-Prep Recipes That Won’t Go Off Overnight

5 minute read time

British summertime means several things: complaining when it gets too hot, a 99 with a flake, and hundreds of festivals taking place up and down the country.

August will see a number of different festivals happen across the UK, including All Points East, Bestival, Creamfields North and Reading and Leeds.

Nutritious meals at festivals can often be few and far between, replaced by warm beer, cereal bars and pot noodles filled up with hot water from a street food van.

One of the reasons for this is often because there’s nowhere to store your food, and unless you have a stove, nowhere to cook it, either. Meat can easily go off within a few hours if not refrigerated probably. And if you have a food intolerance, there might not be many options for you to eat from the food vans, either. 

We have worked with our expert nutritionist, Sal Hanvey, to provide three delicious meal-prep recipes that are nutritious, can be adapted depending on your needs, and can keep for 2-3 days at a festival.

What can happen if I consume perishable food at a festival?

Sal specifically warns against bringing any meat, seafood, rice or mayonnaise to festivals, as they should never sit out for longer than two hours. This is because meat, especially, provides a natural breeding ground for bacteria, which grows after two hours to unsafe levels.

There are also a number of plant-based food items you should steer clear of when prepping your meals for your festival, including avocados, berries, hummus and mushrooms. They’re all perishable foods, and as such produce bacteria which can contaminate them.

If you eat any of these foods after the two-hour mark, you risk suffering from food poisoning symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and a high temperature.

Recipe do’s and don’ts

The recipes that Sal has created will keep for 2-3 days in a cool bag, and can be eaten hot or cold – whether you bring your own mini stove, or want to take them cold to the festival stages with you.

Separate dressings should be kept in a jar, and the main ingredients stored in air-tight containers, and then placed in a cool bag. Dressing should only be applied at the time of eating.

All of these recipes contain a rich source of protein and are light, fresh and well-balanced, perfect for on-the-go-festival goers who also don’t want a carb crash while watching their favourite band.

1 – Vegetable pakoras with mint chutney

This recipe can be: Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Sugar-Free


  • 200g gram flour – must be gram flour (same as chickpea flour).
  • Oil for frying- rapeseed or sunflower.
  • ½ aubergine or courgette.
  • 3 x green chillies. 
  • Ground coriander.
  • 1 x tomato.
  • 2 x potatoes.
  • 1 x cauliflower.
  • 1 x onion.
  • 1 x lemon.
  • Chilli powder.
  • Garam masala powder (This is important!).
  • Fresh ginger.
  • Fresh mint.
  • Fresh coriander
  • Natural yoghurt.
  • Sugar.
  • {Optional) Ground fenugreek. 


  1. Blend a small tomato, a piece of ginger that’s around a half a thumb in size, and one green chilli to a paste and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix 100g gram flour with 1tsp of each of the following: chilli powder, garam masala, coriander powder.
  3. Chop the onion and ¼ cauliflower and add into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Grate one medium potato, and add.
  5. Add thin slices of ¼ of the aubergine or courgette.
  6. Slowly add in 75ml of water.
  7. Mix well, and then add in the tomato paste mix.
  8. Add in a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper. Set aside to make the sauce.
  9. Take a small bunch of fresh mint and coriander and place into a jug.
  10. Add one chilli, a small bit of ginger, one tsp of sugar and a pinch of salt. Then, add a splash of water, a squeeze of lemon, ¼ tsp garam masala and 100g plain yoghurt. Mix with your hands.
  11. Heat enough oil in a deep frying pan to 180 degrees.
  12. When it’s warm enough, start to form small balls with your pakora mixture and add it into the oil.
  13. Repeat and fry for approximately 4 minutes each side.
  14. Place on kitchen roll, before transferring to an airtight lunch box  and cool bag, and serve with a lemon wedge and the mint sauce – but only at the time of eating.

2 – Goats cheese and beetroot bon bons (Makes 10)

This recipe can be: Vegetarian, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free


  • Splash of milk of choice.
  • 1 x egg.
  • Panko bread crumbs (we use gluten-free!).
  • Sunflower oil.
  • Rocket, or similar leaves.
  • (Optional) walnuts.
  • Honey, maple syrup or agave syrup.
  • Fresh chives or dill.
  • 2 x vacuum pack of beetroot.
  • 150g goats cheese.
  • ½ cup greek yoghurt.
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar.
  • ½ onion.
  • 1 clove garlic.


  1. Chop 100g of the vacuum packed beetroot, before patting dry with kitchen roll.
  2. Place into a bowl, along with 150g of soft goat cheese. Squish it all together with your fingers, before rolling into bowls around the size of a standard croquette. Place into the freezer for around 15 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, beat one egg and a splash of milk in a bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl place 70g of bread crumbs.
  5. Place a good amount of sunflower oil into a frying pan and leave to heat.
  6. In the meantime, make your dressings and garnishes.
  7. In a separate frying pan, dry fry the broken walnut pieces for a few moments, taking care not to allow them to burn. Drizzle some honey over them and set aside.
  8. Half fill your lunch box with rocket, chives/dill and walnuts.
  9. Take all of the following ingredients and place them in a food processor, or use an immersion hand blender until smooth. Transfer to a serving ramekin.

  • 1 cup of cooked beetroot.
  • ½ onion.
  • 1 x clove of garlic.
  • 2-3 tbsp honey.
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar.
  • ½ cup greek plain yoghurt.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Take the bon bons from the freezer and dip each one in the egg milk mix and then into the crumbs. Once the oil is hot enough, fry for about 2-3 minutes, turning and frying five at a time.
  2. Place on kitchen roll to dry, and transfer to the air tight lunch box. Drizzle over more honey at the time of serving.

3 – Falafel bites & tahini sauce

This recipe can be: Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Sugar-Free


  • Grapeseed or sunflower oil.
  • Olive oil.
  • 1 lb dry chickpeas – not canned.
  • 2/2 tsp baking soda.
  • 2 x small/medium onions.
  • Bunch of fresh parsley.
  • 7 x cloves of garlic.
  • 1 ½ tbsp flour, or chickpea flour.
  • 2 tsp cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper.
  • Pinch of ground cardamom.
  • 1 tsp baking powder (this is optional, but it will make the falafel more fluffy).
  • 1 cup tahini sesame seed paste.
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice.
  • Pitta bread, or tortilla wraps.
  • Garnish: Iceberg lettuce and tomatoes.


  1. Soak the chickpeas in water with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda overnight, to help them soften in preparation for the falafel mix. Then the next day: drain and rinse.
  2. Place the following ingredients into a food processor:
  • Chickpeas.
    • Parsley leaves.
    • 3-5 garlic cloves.
    • 1 and ½ tbsp flour.
    • 2 tsp salt.
    • 2 tsp cumin.
    • 1 tsp coriander.
    • ¼ tsp black pepper.
    • Pinch of ground cardamom.

  1. Blend until you get a consistency that’s between cous cous and hummus – not too dry, but not too paste-like.
  2. Toss into a bowl and place into the fridge, covering it for up to one hour. Transfer to freezer for the last 15 minutes if you need to speed it up.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy-based frying pan, that’s around 1 ½ inches deep.
  4. Roll the falafel mix into small 2 tbsp ball shapes, and then separately fry one in the centre of the pan for four minutes on a medium to high heat. (It can be poking out the top – it doesn’t need to be completely immersed.)
  5. After 4 minutes, flip with a spatula and repeat for another 4 minutes on the other side. If the falafel is burnt on the bottom when turning, your oil is too high, or if it browns too much in the 4 minutes, turn down the heat.
  6. Repeat with as many falafels as you want to cook – but don’t overcrowd the pan.
  7. Store in an airtight container.

To make the tahini sauce…

  1. Place one cup of the tahini paste in a jug or tall vessel.
  2. Add 2-3 chopped and crushed garlic cloves, along with ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, ¼ tsp salt and ¾ cup lukewarm water. Blend with a hand blender.
  3. Store your sauce in an airtight jar until using.
  4. Serve the lot with pittas (gluten-free if you need), along with lettuce, tomato and parsley or coriander.


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