Copycat Cava Recipe – Homemade Harissa Avocado Bowls

You are in for a treat with this copycat Cava recipe for the delicious harissa avocado bowls. Keep this post on hand the next time your taste buds are craving a grain bowl bursting with nutrients and fresh flavor!

I had Cava Grill for the first time while out of town in 2023 and fell in love! Since I don’t have a restaurant local here in southern Louisiana, I decided it was time to make my own copycat Cava bowls at home! If you’ve never even heard of Cava…it’s a casual restaurant with a mediterranean style menu. You could think of it like the mediterranean version of Chipotle! 

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copycat cava recipe

Cava copycat harissa avocado bowls

As with any of my copycat recipes, we’re gonna first look at the original menu item here. At first glance, you might be overwhelmed with the list of ingredients in this recipe. But take a deep breath – we’re not making everything from scratch! I have three recipes listed at the end of this post that I feel are necessary to create this bowl at home. I’ve also included some suggested substitutions for a few additional short cuts with other ingredients if needed. I store each ingredient listed below in a separate air-tight container in the fridge and assemble at meal times. 

Mixed greens

Use whatever leafy green you enjoy or hand on hand – spring mix, baby spinach, kale, romaine, etc. 


Basmati rice is the grain used in the original bowl, but feel free to use another grain that you have on hand. I go for whole whole grains like brown rice or quinoa! If wanting to reduce time spent cooking, you could use a pre-cooked grain that you simply heat in the microwave – like microwavable rice bowls.

Fire-roasted corn

This is an ingredient that I would rather save time on. I get a bag of fire-roasted corn from the freezer section at my local grocery. If you can’t find “fire-roasted” corn…you can absolutely use a rinsed and drained canned corn here!

Harissa Chicken

I use air fryer harissa chicken thighs that I marinate in: harissa sauce, harissa seasoning, lemon juice, and salt. If you don’t have the time or energy to marinate and cook your own protein…simply use a pre-cooked grilled chicken tossed in some harissa sauce and/or seasoning. However, I find the marinated harissa chicken adds so much flavor! 


I couldn’t pass up the Cava brand hummus in my local store…but any hummus brand will do. I suggest a simple traditional hummus. You could also make your own if you’d like. I use my food processor to make the crazy feta…so store bought hummus is the plan for me! 

Crazy feta

Speaking of crazy feta…this was easily my favorite ingredient in the Cava bowl I had. You could skip this recipe and just add some crumbled feta cheese, but in my opinion this is the best part! It’s basically a blend of yogurt, fresh jalapeno, seasonings, and feta cheese.



Pickled onions

I’ve been making my own pickled onions at home for years now. I use the quick pickled onion recipe from How Sweet Eats. This is another item that you could opt for store-bought or skip altogether if desired.

Hot Honey Harissa vinaigrette

This vinaigrette is just 5 simple ingredients whisked together: olive oil, mild harissa sauce, hot honey, apple cider vinegar, and some salt. 

copycat cava recipe

For another copycat recipe…check out my Starbucks Turkey Bacon Sandwiches!


Harissa sauce is a delicious red pepper sauce that you can get mild or spicy. The ingredients in the harissa that I purchase from my grocery store are: red bell pepper, red chili pepper, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, cider vinegar, and salt!

I have always found harissa sauce at specialty stores like Whole Foods and Fresh Market. If you’re unable to find harissa sauce in your local grocery, consider ordering online or making a batch of your own!

Absolutely! Since there are several ingredients in this recipe, I would actually encourage you to plan this out for a meal prep to reduce food waste. I find this is a great option for a dinner meal prep. Since some items are heated and some are chilled – it can get tedious when you bring meals to work! Simply store all of your ingredients in separate containers in the fridge and assemble at meal times. 

The recipe below includes serving suggestions that I use for my own Cava bowls at home, but feel free to adjust portions to your nutrition or performance goals and/or liking. How about serving with a side of pita bread or pita chips? Yum!

Copycat Cava Harissa Avocado Bowl

Print Recipe
copycat cava recipe


  • 2 cups spring mix
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup fire roasted corn
  • 1 serving harissa chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp hummus
  • 2 tbsp crazy feta or plain crumbled feta
  • 1/4 medium avocado
  • 2 tbsp pickled red onions
  • 1/2 small seedless cucumber
  • 1 tbsp honey harissa vinaigrette


  • Assemble bowl with each listed ingredient. Adjust portions according to your personal goals and/or hunger cues.
  • Store ingredients separately for 3-4 days to maintain quality


Nutrition facts will vary depending on exact items and amounts used.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 585kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 1152mg | Potassium: 1227mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1379IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 163mg | Iron: 3mg
Servings: 1 bowl
Calories: 585kcal

Air Fryer Harissa Chicken Thighs

Print Recipe
air fryer harissa chicken


  • 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp harissa seasoning
  • 1/4 cup mild harissa sauce
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 0.75 tsp salt or to taste


  • Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl or gallon ziploc and mix to evenly coat
  • Marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
  • Pre-heat air fryer: Set to 400F for ~3-5 minutes
  • Drain chicken thighs of excess marinade and air fry in a single layer at 400F for ~5 minutes per side
    *Timing will depend on your air fryer – chicken is done when internal temperature reaches 165F


Nutrition facts will vary depending on exact items and amounts used. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 533mg | Potassium: 354mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 174kcal

Copycat Crazy Feta

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crazy feta


  • 1/2 cup whole milk greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 4 oz crumbled feta


  • Combine all ingredients except feta in a food processor and blend until smooth
  • Add feta crumbles and pulse until desired consistency
    I like it a little chunky!


Serving size is 2 tbsp. Nutrition facts will vary depending on exact items and amounts used. 


Serving: 2tbsp | Calories: 53kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 313mg | Potassium: 44mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 79IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 53kcal

Honey Harissa Vinaigrette

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honey harissa vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mild harissa sauce
  • 1/4 cup hot honey
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste


  • Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl to combine
  • Store in an airtight container in fridge


Nutrition facts will vary depending on exact items and amounts used. 


Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 0.05g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 0.01g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Servings: 12 tbsp
Calories: 65kcal

Did you make this recipe?

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