Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl (CAVA copycat)

Guys, it was 60 degrees here in DC yesterday! I almost couldn’t believe how sunny it was! I drove home from work with the windows down, the sunroof up, while blasting Coldplay radio on Pandora. It doesn’t get much better than that.Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl (CAVA copycat)And what made yesterday even better was knowing that I was coming home to this. A basmati cilantro rice bowl, topped with harissa, hummus, diced cucumber and tomato, pickled onion, spicy harissa dressing and harissa marinated tofu. I know  that is a laundry list of ingredients/toppings BUT I made one large batch on Sunday and we have eaten it for almost every meal since.

Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl (CAVA copycat)Remember how I said in this post that I am completely addicted to a local restaurant called, Cava? Well for the past year we have literally gone at least once a week, and after months of being asked by Stephen to re-create it for the blog, I finally decided to take the plunge. Of course I made a few adjustments because I can’t leave things alone, but honestly their recipe is pretty darn perfect.  Despite its many ingredients, it’s crazy cheap to make and once you’ve made the hummus and rice, all that’s left is throwing it all together into a big bowl of deliciousness.

Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl (CAVA copycat)

To help make this a bit easier, I didn’t make the harissa from scratch I bought it from my local WF but if you don’t have access to store-bought, here is a recipe I have tried and it is pretty darn close to the Cava version.Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl (CAVA copycat)

This rice bowl is super filling and what I love most is that you can sub-in (or leave out) any of your preferred ingredients (this is also super delicious with chicken or lamb) and you’re good to go!Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl (CAVA copycat)

But definitely don’t be intimidated by the steps in this recipe. Each component is simple to make (albeit there are quite a few of them) and you can even make some of it beforehand! You are going to LOVE this!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl (CAVA copycat)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-6 servings
What You'll Need
  • 4 cups cooked basmati rice (I cooked mine in chicken broth according to the package instructions)
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • Hummus
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Toppings
  • 1 container store bought harissa (if you don't have access to this or want to make your own, here is a great tried-and-true recipe)
  • 1 cucumber, deseeded and finely diced
  • 1 tomato diced
  • Pickled Red Onion
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Harissa Dressing
  • 2 tbs. harissa
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs. almond milk
  1. Hummus
  2. Add all of the hummus ingredients to a food processor. Blend until completely smooth. Remove from the food processor, transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge to chill.
  3. Harissa Dressing
  4. In the same food processor (I simply rinsed mine out beforehand), combine all of the harissa dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Place in either a squeeze bottle or a small bowl and place in the fridge to chill.
  5. Tofu
  6. Open the tofu and drain the excess liquid. Pat dry with a paper towel. Cut into bite-sized cubes then place in a large ziploc bag. Add about 2-3 tbs. of the harissa dressing and gently massage with your hands until all of the tofu is coated. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
  7. To cook, add to a pan over a medium-high heat and sear on all sides. This should take about 3 minutes per side.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Pickled Onion
  10. Bring a medium-sized pot filled ¾ with water to a boil. Add the sliced onion and let cook for 15 seconds. Immediately strain and douse with ice-cold water. Place in a tupperware container and add the vinegar. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 15-20 minutes before serving.
  11. To serve:
  12. Roughly chop the cilantro and fold into the rice.
  13. Top with tofu, pickled onion, a scoop of harissa, a scoop of hummus, diced cucumber, diced tomato, and drizzle with the harissa dressing.


  1. Oh my! I love Cava too and also go there one a week! Love basically anything on their menu. I will definitely try your recipe. Can’t wait!

    P.S. My 11 y.o. also loves Coldplay.

  2. We probably have ran into each other and not even know it! Too funny. I’ve subscribed to your beautiful blog, but just in case I miss any emails, and you decided to copy any recipe from “True Food Kitchen”, please….please let me know. *smiles*