If you’re vegan, you may be wondering: what can you eat at CAVA? And how can you navigate the CAVA vegan options?
CAVA is a fast-casual restaurant chain that specializes in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. It offers a variety of dishes that can be customized to your preferences, including salads, grain bowls, pitas and dips.
In this post, we’ll show you how to order vegan at CAVA, what ingredients are vegan-friendly, what ingredients to avoid and some recommendations for curated dishes or DIY options.
Let’s get started!
What is vegan at CAVA?
CAVA has a lot of vegan options on its menu, from bases to proteins to toppings to dressings. You can either choose one of the curated bowls or pitas that are vegan by default, or create your own combination of ingredients.
The menu changes seasonally and at other times, so it’s important to visit the CAVA nutrition facts page to see the vegan options at the time of ordering.
Here are the vegan options at CAVA:
Curated bowls and pitas
At the time of this post, there is only one curated menu item, crispy falafel pita.
- Crispy falafel pita: This pita comes with falafel, hummus, roasted eggplant, pickles, cabbage slaw, tomato + onion, garlic dressing and skhug.
Recently there was a curated bowl option called the Lentil Avocado Bowl, however that’s been removed from the current menu. You can easily recreate this bowl by asking to build your own bowl to include the ingredients in this bowl:
- Lentil avocado bowl: This bowl comes with falafel, roasted veggies, avocado, spinach, supergreens, roasted eggplant, hummus, pickled onion, cucumber, lentil tabbouleh, cabbage slaw, skhug and garlic dressing.
- Salad: Choose from supergreens, organic arugula, spinach, romaine or Splendid Greens®.
- Grain bowl: You can choose from saffron basmati rice, brown basmati rice, black lentils or RightRice®. RightRice® is a high protein and high fiber grain made from 90% vegetables (lentils, chickpeas, and peas).
- Greens & Grains: You can mix any of the greens and grains listed above.
- Pita: You can choose from large or mini warm pita.
The vegan proteins at CAVA include:
- Falafel: Chickpeas with parsley and herbs
- Black lentils: Black lentils make a good base but also are a great source of plant based protein to add to your bowl
- Roasted vegetables: Brussels sprouts, carrots and cauliflower
- Roasted white sweet potato: White sweet potato with olive oil, paprika, coriander and salt. (seasonal, check availability)
Dips and Spreads
You can choose up to three dips or spreads for your bowl or pita. Hummus makes a tasty dip and doubles as a good source of plant based protein and fiber.
The vegan options are:
- Roasted eggplant: Roasted eggplant puree with onion, garlic and fresh parsley.
- Hummus: Chickpeas with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and kosher salt
- Harissa: A traditional spicy table spread made from tomatoes and peppers.
- Roasted red pepper hummus: Fresh roasted red peppers pureed with chickpeas, tahini and garlic.
You can add as many toppings as you want to your bowl or pita. The vegan toppings are:
- Shredded romaine
- Pita crisps
- Cabbage slaw
- Tomato + Onion
- Persian cucumber
- Tomato + Cucumber
- Kalamata olives
- Fiery broccoli
- Pickled onions
- Salt-brined pickles
- Fire-roasted corn
You can choose one dressing for your bowl or pita. The vegan dressings include:
- Preserved lemon vinaigrette
- Lemon herb tahini
- Tahini caesar
- Greek vinaigrette
- Hot harissa vinaigrette
- Garlic dressing
The vegan sides at CAVA are:
- Pita chips
The kids menu at CAVA also has some vegan options. You can choose a mini pita with a grain, a dip/spread, a protein, two toppings and a dressing. You can also pick a snack (kid’s chips or carrot sticks) and a drink (fountain drink or kid’s apple juice).
What is not vegan at CAVA?
Some of the ingredients at CAVA contain animal products and should be avoided if you’re vegan. These include:
Curated Bowls and Pitas
- Greek salad: contains grilled chicken, tzatziki and feta cheese.
- Harissa avocado: contains harissa honey chicken, crazy feta and feta cheese.
- Tahini caesar: contains grilled chicken and feta cheese.
- Chicken + RightRice®: contains grilled chicken and tzatziki.
- White sweet potato + feta: contains feta cheese. (when available)
- Greek chicken: contains grilled chicken, tzatziki and feta cheese.
- Spicy chicken + avocado: contains harissa honey chicken, crazy feta and feta cheese.
- Spicy lamb meatball: contains spicy lamb meatballs, tzatziki and feta cheese.
The non-vegan proteins at CAVA are:
- Spicy lamb meatballs
- Harissa honey chicken
- Grilled chicken
- Braised lamb
Dips and Spreads
The non-vegan dips and spreads at CAVA are:
- Tzatziki: contains Greek yogurt.
- Crazy feta: contains feta cheese.
The only non-vegan topping at CAVA is:
The only non-vegan dressing at CAVA is:
- Yogurt dill
The non-vegan sides at CAVA are:
- Greyston blondie
- Greyston brownie
- Whisked! apricot honey
- Whisked! salted dark chocolate oat cookie
- Horizon 1% Milk
- Horizon Chocolate Milk
The non-vegan options on the kids menu at CAVA are:
- Kid’s chicken
- Kid’s harissa honey chicken
- Kid’s spicy lamb meatballs
- Kid’s braised lamb
How to order vegan at CAVA?
Now that you know what is vegan and what is not vegan at CAVA, you can easily order a delicious and satisfying meal that suits your dietary preferences.
Here are some tips and recommendations for ordering vegan at CAVA:
Choose a curated vegan option
If you don’t want to spend too much time deciding what to order, you can simply choose one of the curated vegan options that CAVA offers.
Currently the Crispy Falafel Pita is the only curated vegan menu item. It’s packed with flavor, protein, fiber, and healthy fats. It also comes with a variety of toppings and dressings that complement the main ingredients.
Create your own vegan option
If you want to have more control over what goes into your bowl or pita, you can create your own vegan option by following these steps:
1. Choose a base
Start your bowl by choosing any of the salad greens, grains or pitas as your base. If you want a more filling and energizing option, go for the grains or the greens & grains. However, if you want a lighter option, go for the salad or the pita.
2. Pick a protein
You can choose any of the vegan plant based proteins to add some texture and substance to your dish. Some of the most popular ones are falafel, roasted vegetables and roasted white sweet potato (seasonal, when available).
3. Pile on the veggie toppings
You can choose any of the vegan toppings to add some fiber, crunch and freshness to your dish. Some of the most popular are avocado, pickled onions, kalamata olives, fire-roasted corn, fiery broccoli and lentil tabbouleh.
4. Top with dips or spreads
The vegan dips or spreads add some creaminess, spice and flavor to your dish. Some of the most popular options are hummus, roasted eggplant, harissa, and roasted red pepper hummus.
5. Choose a dressing
You can choose any of the vegan dressings to add some moisture and tanginess to your dish. Some of the most popular ones are lemon herb tahini, tahini caesar, garlic dressing, and hot harissa vinaigrette.
6. Enjoy your CAVA bowl!
Ask for modifications or substitutions
If you want to try one of the non-vegan curated options but make it vegan-friendly, you can ask for modifications or substitutions.
For example, you can ask to replace the chicken with falafel, the tzatziki with hummus and the feta cheese with avocado.
Just make sure to let the staff know that you’re vegan and what you want to change.
Check the ingredients and allergens
If you’re not sure whether an ingredient is vegan or not, you can always check the ingredients and allergens list on CAVA’s website. You can also ask the staff for more information or clarification.
CAVA is a great place to enjoy fast casual Mediterranean food without compromising your vegan diet. You can choose from a variety of vegan friendly and plant based options to create your own CAVA bowl with the ingredients that you like.
You can also modify or substitute any of the non-vegan options to make them vegan-friendly. Just remember to check the ingredients and allergens, and ask the staff for assistance if needed.
CAVA bowls make great post game meals to help you refuel recover.
**This post is informational only and you should verify the ingredients and nutrition information at the CAVA website or in person at the restaurant.**
Steph Magill, MS, RD, CD, FAND has over 22 years of experience in public health and nutrition. As a performance registered dietitian nutritionist, Stephanie specializes in sports nutrition and provides simple and actionable information so that athletes can be well fueled for high performance on and off the field. Stephanie has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.