Honey Harissa Chicken CAVA Inspired

Indulge in the delightful combination of sweet and spicy chicken thighs marinated in harissa paste, seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices.

Looking for a protein-packed meal that is perfect for meal prep during the week? Try this honey harissa chicken! You can serve it on a salad, rice bowl, or even a gyro. The possibilities are endless.

Inspired by my favorite dish at CAVA, this recipe is sure to satisfy your craving for Mediterranean cuisine. As a CAVA customer, I can attest to their delicious customizable bowls, gyros, and salads with a variety of sauces, spreads, and dressings. Now, you can recreate this flavor-packed meal at home and enjoy it anytime you want.

What you’ll need-

Chicken- I prefer chicken thighs but use what you have on hand. chicken breast or tenderloins will work
Olive Oil- helps the seasonings stick to the chicken
Honey- this compliments the spiciness from the harissa.
Harissa paste- I used the one from Trader Joes
Garlic- the more the better. I used about 4-6 garlic cloves.
Spices- I used a variety of spices to elevate this chicken. Cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper
Lemon juice- optional, but I think this adds a great acidity.
Parsley- Adds a beautiful color to the chicken.

How to make this honey harissa chicken

The recipe is very simple. In a mortar and pestle pound the garlic to create a paste. (you can also mince it with a knife, pounding it was easier. To your cleaned chicken, add a drizzle of olive oil, harissa paste, honey, minced garlic, lemon juice and parsley. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Mix well until the chicken is coated. Allow to marinate for at least 15-20 minutes.

Heat up oil in a skillet, cast iron or grill over medium high heat and cook the chicken on each side until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Add in butter and honey. Continue cooking for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.

You can also pop the chicken in the air fryer. Either way you cook it, it’s sure to come out delicious.

I layered each bowl with yellow rice, a refreshing cucumber and tomato salad, sliced lettuce, roasted corn, pickled onions, crumbled feta and topped with a harissa vinaigrette.

Looking for more weeknight dinner ideas?

Jerk Meatballs
Rasta Pasta
Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
Creamy Cajun Pasta

Honey Harissa Chicken Rice Bowl

Sweet and spicy chicken thighs marinated in harissa paste, seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices, and served with all the fixings – yellow rice, sliced lettuce, cucumber and tomato salad, roasted corn, Tzatziki, pickled red onions and crumbled feta. Drowned in a rustic harissa vinaigrette. This dish is an explosion of flavors that is sure to please your taste buds.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6


  • Honey Harissa chicken or your choice of protein

Tomato & Cucumber Salad

  • 1/3 cup grape tomatoes or Roma tomato diced
  • 1/2 cucumber peeled and diced
  • 1/4 red onion diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Roasted Corn

  • 2 pieces of corn
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp butter unsalted

Additional toppings

  • feta
  • roasted corn
  • sliced lettuce
  • Tzatziki
  • pickled red onion


  • Add cleaned chicken thighs to a bowl and season with olive oil, harissa, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper. Mix until the chicken thighs are coated.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook on each side until browned about 5 minutes. Reduce heat, add in butter, and honey and cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Remove from the pan and cut chicken into slices of pieces. Enjoy!


Pickled Red Onion- thinly slice red onions. Pour into a mason jar, add in red pepper flakes and garlic. Then fill the jar with equal parts vinegar and hot water. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving. 
Harissa Vinaigrette- In a mason jar, combine 2 tsp harissa paste, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tbsp of red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp white vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice. Shake or whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. 
Yellow Rice-  Heat up butter in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Sautè onions and garlic until fragrant. Add in 1/2 tsp of turmeric, garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp smoked paprika. Toast the seasonings for 2 minutes then add in the 1 1/2 cups of washed rice. Toast the rice for a few minutes, until golden, then pour in 3 cups of water and 1 tsp of chicken bouillon. Add 2 bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Taste the broth and adjust seasonings if needed. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low. Add the top and cook the rice for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the rice to rest for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. 
Keyword Chicken Recipe, Meal prep, Rice Bowl, Weeknight Dinner