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Hot Harissa Honey Vinaigrette A Cava Copycat Recipe

There’s something undeniably captivating about the flavors from Cava – the harmonious blend of spices, the freshness of ingredients, and that signature zest that keeps us coming back for more.

For many of us, we love the Cava experience, but it isn’t close by or in our budget. We love going to Cava but it isn’t close to our new house so I knew I needed to find a way to make our favorite Cava dishes at home!

And the star of the show? The Harissa Honey Chicken. Its tantalizing blend of sweet and spicy is hard to resist. So use this Hot Harissa Honey Vinaigrette A Cava Copycat Recipe to bring Cava home for a fraction of the price! Try it tonight!

 Hot Harissa Honey Vinaigrette A Cava Copycat on a pita sandwich

But what if we told you that the magic of Cava could be recreated in your very own kitchen? That’s right, with our simple Harissa Honey Vinaigrette, you can now savor the essence of those cherished chicken bowls and pitas without stepping out of your home.

Supplies for Hot Harissa Honey Vinaigrette:

Mason jar or mixing bowl

A whisk or immersion blender

Ingredients for Hot Harissa Honey Vinaigrette:

Harissa paste

Lemon juice

Extra virgin olive oil

Honey We Love this Honey for the Grill from Savanah Bee Company! (or maple syrup as an alternative)

Sea salt and black pepper

Optional: red wine vinegar or white vinegar

ingredients for Hot Harissa Honey Vinaigrette, olive oil, lemon, harissa

How to Create the Magic:

In a mixing bowl, combine harissa paste and lemon juice.

Slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil, whisking on the lowest speed.

Add honey, enhancing the balance between spice and sweet.

Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. For a tangy twist, consider red wine vinegar.

Whisk until well combined or blend on the highest speed in a Vitamix container for 30-40 seconds.

Storing Your Hot Harissa Honey Vinaigrette:

Pour your hot Harissa Vinaigrette into a mason jar. Secure the lid. Store at room temperature if consuming the same day. For longer storage, refrigerate. It retains its fresh kick for 4-5 days in an airtight container.

A Few Pro Tips:

Experiment with harissa powder or harissa sauce for a different flavor.

Enhance with caraway seeds, cumin, or extra chili peppers.

Perfect for copycat Cava bowls, especially harissa chicken bowls or Cava’s harissa avocado bowl.

Makes a great marinade too like in our Grilled Harissa Honey Chicken!

for Hot Harissa Honey Vinaigrette with honey harissa chicken

What is Harissa?

Harissa is a spicy and aromatic chili paste that’s a staple in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. Here’s a brief overview:

Origin: Harissa primarily hails from Tunisia, but it’s also popular in countries like Algeria, Libya, and Morocco.

Ingredients: At its core, harissa is made from a blend of hot chili peppers (which can be smoked or dried), garlic, olive oil, and spices like cumin, coriander, caraway, and mint. Tomatoes and rose petals can also be included in some variations.

Texture & Flavor: Harissa has a thick paste-like consistency and is known for its fiery heat. However, it’s not just about the spice; the addition of the spices and garlic gives it a deep, aromatic flavor profile that can be both smoky and slightly tangy.

Uses: Harissa can be used in a variety of ways to transform simple ingredients to something special:

  1. As a condiment or dip.
  2. Stirred into stews or soups to add depth and heat.
  3. As a marinade for meats and vegetables.
  4. Mixed into couscous or rice dishes.
  5. Added to sauces or dressings to give them a spicy kick.

Availability: While traditionally a North African condiment, the global spread of culinary influences has made harissa available in many grocery stores worldwide, especially those that carry international foods. You can also find recipes to make it at home if you prefer a fresh, homemade version.

Note: The heat level in harissa can vary depending on the type and amount of chili peppers used, so it’s always a good idea to taste it before adding a large amount to your dishes.

Let's eat! a for Hot Harissa Honey pita!

What Does Harissa Taste Like?

Harissa boasts a rich and complex flavor profile that captivates the senses. Its primary characteristic is its bold spiciness, derived from the chili peppers, but the heat isn’t its only facet. Many harissa recipes utilize smoked or roasted peppers, which imparts a delightful smoky undertone to the paste.

This smokiness is complemented by the depth and aroma of garlic, a staple ingredient in many harissa concoctions. Given its strong flavor profile, when using harissa in culinary creations, it’s often wise to start with a small amount and adjust according to personal taste.

Feeling inspired? Next time, pair this vinaigrette with sweet potatoes, green beans, or brown rice. It’s also delicious with brussels sprouts. The beautiful sweet heat of harissa and honey is not just for salads; try it with pita bread, vegan meatballs, or as a dressing on Cava’s crazy feta. It also makes the perfect addition to grain bowls, leafy green salads, and charred cauliflower salad.

Remember, the magic of harissa isn’t confined to one dish. It’s a journey of flavor, from homemade salad dressing to marinades. With each use, you’re not just preparing a meal; you’re crafting an experience. Dive in and take your taste buds on a delightful Mediterranean journey from home!

harissa honey vinegrette
Yield: 8 servings

Hot Harissa Honey Vinaigrette A Cava Copycat Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Elevate your dishes with this effortlessly simple vinaigrette, bursting with the bold flavors of Harissa and the subtle sweetness of honey.


  • 2 tablespoons Harissa paste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or red wine vinegar/apple cider vinegar as a substitute)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the Harissa paste, honey, and fresh lemon juice.
  2. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is well combined.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning or sweetness as needed.
  5. If it's too spicy, add a bit more honey; if it's too tart, balance it out with a touch more honey or oil.


This vinaigrette with fresh lemon juice will be particularly refreshing for summer salads and Mediterranean dishes. Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 118Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 126mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 0g

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