Honey Harissa Chicken Bowls Recipe (Cava Copycat) (2024)

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This homemade CAVA bowl features tender chicken marinated in a delicious honey harissa sauce and tossed with Mediterranean-style toppings. It’s all placed over a bed of basmati rice and lettuce, drizzled with a hot harissa vinaigrette, and served with a warm pita.

Do you love rice bowls? Try copycat Sweetgreen harvest bowls, ground turkey teriyaki rice bowls, or honey garlic salmon rice bowls next.

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Table of Contents

  • Why You’ll Love This CAVA Honey Harissa Chicken Recipe
  • Ingredients You Need
  • How to Make CAVA Honey Harissa Chicken
  • Recipe FAQs
  • Recipe Variations
  • Meal Prep and Storing Tips
  • More Bowl Recipes
  • CAVA Honey Harissa Chicken Recipe Recipe

Learn how to make CAVA’s popular honey harissa chicken recipe right at home. Plus, get ideas for recipe variations and tips for meal prepping ahead of time.

Do you like making homemade versions of delicious recipes from your favorite restaurants? Next time, try ourSweetgreen Harvest Bowlcopycat recipe orgrilled burger bowlwith a Smash Burger-inspired special sauce.

Why You’ll Love This CAVA Honey Harissa Chicken Recipe

As convenient as it is to grab dinner to-go, making your own copycat CAVA bowls is easy, fun, and more affordable. Here’s why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Quick weeknight dinner:This recipe is as easy to clean up as it is to prep and put together. If you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal the whole family will enjoy or something easy to prep and save for lunches all week, look no further.
  • Best flavor: The sweet drizzle of honey balances the heat of the harissa paste. It’s not often you get sweet, spicy, and savory all in one! Tons of bold flavors all around.
  • Versatility: If there’s an ingredient you don’t have on hand, there’s a substitution for it! From the rice base to the meat, the veggies, and the homemade vinaigrette, every element of this dish is customizable. You could make this dish once a week and always find a way to change it up!
  • Hearty meal: Aside from the protein-packed chicken that will keep you plenty satisfied, this recipe has healthy fats and is loaded with veggies. It’s a complete meal in a bowl!
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Ingredients You Need

Here are the simple ingredients for this CAVA honey harissa chicken recipe. Most are pantry staples and easy (and affordable) to find in grocery stores. Jump down to the recipe card for exact measurements and nutrition information.

Honey Harissa Chicken Marinade

  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs:The dark meat is extra juicy.
  • Extra virgin olive oil:Substitute with avocado oil.
  • Harissa paste:This is the star of the show. However, it’s pretty spicy, so start with less and add more as needed.
  • Honey:The sweetness of honey helps to mellow out the spicy paste. Maple syrup is a good substitute.
  • Lemon juice:Adds a citrus flavor.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper:For seasoning.

Hot Harissa Vinaigrette

  • Extra virgin olive oil:Substitute with avocado oil instead.
  • Harissa paste:Adjust to desired heat level.
  • Lemon juice:To add zest.
  • Onion powder:For flavor.
  • Garlic cloves:If you don’t have fresh garlic, substitute with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Kosher salt:Kosher salt is best for cooking.

Bowl and Toppings

  • Basmati rice:Cook rice according to the package instructions.
  • Mixed salad greens:Kale, spinach, or leaf lettuce like arugula.
  • Olive oil:Easily substitute with avocado oil.
  • Avocado:Adds a creamy texture.
  • Pickled red onions:Get these storebought or follow ourMexican pickled onion recipeto make your own at home instead.
  • Crumbled feta:See recipe notes for how to make crazy feta.
  • Marinated cucumbers and tomatoes:Find this in the deli section of your local grocery store, but to make it at home, see recipe notes.
  • Hummus:Add to taste.
  • Pita Chips, pita bread, or naan:For serving.

Pro Tip: There are a lot of toppings and options for these bowls. We highly recommend using all of them, if possible. If we had to choose three toppings they would be pickled onion, feta (preferably crazy feta), and avocado.

How to Make CAVA Honey Harissa Chicken

The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos and a video so you have a clear idea of what to expect. This CAVA harissa honey chicken recipe is really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure it turns out every time.

Marinate chicken.Toss the chicken in a medium bowl or a large plastic bag with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, Harissa, honey, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.

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Prep the toppings.When you’re ready to make the bowls, cook the rice and prep all of your desired toppings. Toss and coat your greens with a small drizzle of olive oil.

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Cook the chicken.Drizzle 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot and shimmering, place the chicken thighs smooth side down and sear them until they’re deeply golden-brown, 5-6 minutes without moving. After that, flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes. For the best results, use a meat thermometer and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Use a sharp knife to roughly chop the cooked chicken on a cutting board.

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Make the vinaigrette.Add the vinaigrette ingredients to a medium jar and whisk or shake well.

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Make the vinaigrette.Add the vinaigrette ingredients to a medium jar and whisk or shake well.

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Recipe FAQs

What is harissa?

Harissa is a spicy and flavorful chili pepper paste or sauce that is commonly used in North Africa and Middle Eastern cuisines. It’s known for its robust, fiery taste. Harissa’s main component is chili peppers and often includes a blend of spices such as cumin, coriander, caraway, and paprika. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be used as a condiment, marinade, or flavor enhancer.

Is the harissa honey chicken at CAVA spicy?

CAVA’s harissa honey chicken is a blend of spicy and sweet. When making your own harissa paste marinade for this chicken, you can control the spice level by adding less harissa or more honey.

Is harissa hotter than sriracha?

The type and quantity of chili peppers used in harissa can vary, but it’s typically quite spicy and can range from moderately hot to very hot, depending on the specific recipe and the chili pepper variety used. Sriracha sauce, on the other hand, is made with red jalapeño peppers and typically has a milder heat level compared to many harissa varieties.

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Recipe Variations

One of our favorite ways to throw together dinner is in a bowl recipe! The best part about them is that they’re so versatile, especially the toppings. Switch up the main ingredients based on what you have at home or what you’re craving. Here are some additional toppings and ingredient variations:

  • Make a homemade tzatziki sauce using Greek yogurt, finely grated Persian cucumbers, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, and fresh dill. Drizzle it over the spicy chicken pieces.
  • Substitute chicken thighs withGreek chicken meatballs, boneless skinless chicken breasts, falafel, or tofu.
  • Replace the white rice with yellow rice, brown rice, quinoa, or black lentils.
  • Top with chickpeas, kalamata olives, lemon zest, and diced red peppers.

Meal Prep and Storing Tips

This is an easy dinner to meal prep ahead of time. To do this, make the dressing, then marinate and cook the chicken ahead of time. When you’re ready to enjoy the dish, cook the rice and prepare the toppings, assembling the full recipe.

Store leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. Keep the chicken, rice, dressing, and toppings in separate containers.

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If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can alsotag me on Instagramso I can see it!

More Bowl Recipes

If you need a new idea for a rice bowl recipe that can be easily prepped and thrown together, we have plenty for you to try!

We love thissavory quinoa breakfast bowlorveggie quinoa power bowlin the morning and thisground turkey teriyaki rice bowlwent viral on social media for good reason!

Fan of seafood? Your taste buds will love theseSalmon rice bowlsorfiesta lime shrimp bowl.

Try these quick and easyair fryer salmon bitesover rice or make a simplegrilled burger bowl.

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5 from 19 votes

CAVA Honey Harissa Chicken Recipe

Prep: 10 minutes mins

Marinade Time: 30 minutes mins

Total: 40 minutes mins

This homemade CAVA bowl features tender chicken marinated in a delicious honey harissa sauce and tossed with Mediterranean-style toppings. It’s all placed over a bed of basmati rice and lettuce, drizzled with a hot harissa vinaigrette, and served with a warm pita.

Honey Harissa Chicken Bowls Recipe (Cava Copycat) (10)

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Molly Thompson

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Molly Thompson

Servings: 5 servings

Ingredients

Honey Harissa Chicken Thighs

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 Tablespoons Harissa paste (Note 1)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Hot Harissa Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Harissa paste adjust to desired spice level
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 garlic cloves minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Bowl and Toppings

  • 2 cups Cooked Basmati rice 1 cup uncooked (Note 2)
  • Mixed salad greens + olive oil to taste
  • 1 Ripe avocado sliced
  • Pickled red onions to taste homemade or store-bought
  • Crumbled feta or Crazy feta to taste (Note 3)
  • Marinated cucumbers and tomatoes store-bought or homemade (Note 4)
  • Hummus to taste
  • Pita Chips pita bread, or naan for serving

Instructions

  • Marinate the chicken. Toss the chicken in a medium bowl or a large plastic bag with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, Harissa, honey, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

  • Prep the toppings. This is a good time to make and prep the toppings while the chicken is marinating. Cook the rice according to the package directions and prep all of your desired toppings. Toss your greens with a small drizzle of olive oil and toss to coat.

  • Make the vinaigrette. Add all of the vinaigrette ingredients to a medium jar and whisk to combine or close the lid and shake well. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill while you make the chicken.

  • Drizzle 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot and shimmering, place the chicken thighs smooth side down and sear until deeply golden-brown, 5-6 minutes without moving. Flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches about 160°F (165°F target temperature while it rests). Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board.

  • Assemble the bowls. Add greens, rice, and desired toppings to serving bowls. Use a sharp knife to roughly chop the chicken and arrange them in the bowls. Drizzle with prepared vinaigrette and serve with warm pita bread.

Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Notes

Note 1. Harissa Paste. You can find Harissa in your local grocery store or purchase it on Amazon.

Note 2. Basmati Rice. Follow the package directions to make 1 cup of basmati rice to yield enough for 4-5 people.

Note 3. Crazy Feta. Blend 8 ounces feta, 1 Tbsp diced jalapeno, 2 Tablespoons red onion, and 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until smooth.

Note 4. Marinated cucumbers and tomatoes. Sometimes you can find this in the deli section of your grocery store with the other marinated olives etc. If not, toss 1 cup of chopped tomatoes (any kind) and 1 cup of diced Persian or English cucumber with 1-2 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Add a pinch of dried dill, dried basil, dried thyme, and salt. Let it marinate while you cook the chicken.

Toppings: I recommend making/buying all of the toppings, if possible. However, if I had to choose three, I’d use the pickled onion, avocado, and feta (preferably crazy feta).

Dairy-Free: this recipe is naturally dairy-free. Just don’t add the feta or crazy feta to the top!

Spice Level: Harissa is pretty spicy, so start with less and add more as needed. This amount of spice was perfect for me (I don’t love spicy food), but my husband added more. Sweetness balances out heat, so if you find you’ve added too much spice to the dressing add more honey to balance it out.

*Nutrition information includes chicken, rice, and greens. It does not include other toppings.

Video

Equipment

  • Freezer bag or bowl for marinating chicken

  • Medium skillet

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 488kcal | Carbohydrates: 29.9g | Protein: 29.1g | Fat: 28.3g | Cholesterol: 127.8mg | Sodium: 778.1mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 6.1g | Vitamin A: 116IU | Vitamin C: 14.9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

Honey Harissa Chicken Bowls Recipe (Cava Copycat) (2024)

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