If you're a healthy eater who visits Washington DC often, you've likely created your own greens and grains bowl with spicy lamb meatballs and roasted red pepper hummus at Cava Grill. If not, you may be able to do so in your own city, soon.
The Mediterranean healthy fast casual spot is taking off. Founded by three Greek friends—Ike Grigoropoulos, Dimitri Moshovitis, and Ted Xenohristos (whose names don't give away their heritage at all)—they have eight locations in DC with four more in development. West Coast shops will be opening soon, too, and their popular spreads and dips—from Quinoa Tabouleh to Crazy Feta—are sold at Whole Foods nationwide.
The brand's appeal, says CEO Brett Schulman, is the commitment to transparency (i.e. open kitchens and publicized nutrition facts), quality ingredients, and their signature approach of "Mediterranean- and Greek-inspired with a healthy ethos."
"Our food is very balanced," Schulman says. "It’s satisfying but doesn’t stuff you, so people like to say they don’t need a nap at three o’clock and they don’t need a snack at three o’clock." (With the recent news on the Mediterranean Diet's health benefits, the restaurant's got more than one research study to stand on, too.)
In case Cava Grill isn't headed to your 'hood soon, we asked them to share the recipe for one of their most popular spreads, their signature take on the spicy chili paste Harissa. It's a healthy meal flavor-booster you can make in five minutes and use on everything. You're welcome. —Lisa Elaine Held
Cava Grill's Harissa
15 oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup crushed red pepper
1/3 cup parsley
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
2 tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor, and enjoy!
For more information, visit www.cavagrill.com
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