NeedAllTheFries

DC Friends: CAVA Grill on Whole30

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I emailed customer support at CAVA to ask exactly which items I could eat while on W30. I was emailed back today with a list of compliant ingredients:

 

Thanks for reaching out! Absolutely, I took a look at our menu and here are the items that you can continue to enjoy that do not contain dairy, grains, chickpeas or sweetener:
 

- Base: Salad greens 
- Dip: Harissa 
- Proteins: Chicken, Grilled Meatballs, Spicy Lamb Meatballs, Roasted Seasonal Vegetables 
- Toppings: Shredded Romaine, Cabbage Slaw, Tomato + Onion, Diced Cucumbers, Tomato + Cucumber, Kalamata Olives, Lemon Wedge, Mint 
- Dressings: Green Vinaigrette, Spicy Harissa, Lemon Herb Tahini 
- Spring Seasonal Soup: Carrot Ginger
- Juices: Unsweetened Tea

 

This makes me so happy! Looks like I'll be having CAVA lunch every week before grocery shopping.

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That's great that they were able to help you.

Did you mention soy products as well?  Do you know what their proteins are cooked in?

 

It would be better if they can give you an ingredient list of what you're thinking of having... not saying they're being untruthful but sometimes the sneaky sugars aren't noted or they use a soy oil or soy lecithin or something... 

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I would like to provide some clarification on this after I did some further probing with customer service at Cava Grill. At first they gave me pretty much the exact answer listed above, but thankfully they were very patient with my many inquiries and corrections. :)

 

They cook all their proteins in olive oil, which is also added to their harissa and I assume also their vinaigrette. All of the ingredients listed above are soy free on their website, so no concerns there.

 

One thing I happened to catch on their website is that their grilled meatballs are not gluten free. When I asked about this, they said that they use some of their pita bread as a binding agent in the meatballs, but then proceeded to tell me that there were no grains. I politely let them know that if their pita bread contains wheat, then their grilled meatballs do indeed contain grains, which is an important distinction to make for future inquiries. After that, I asked about their spicy lamb meatballs, which they confirmed do not have the pita bread or any other grains.

 

Bottom line, everything on the above list is good except the grilled meatballs. This will be one of my go-to options on the days I don't feel like cooking. :)

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I would like to add that The Little Beet is also a great option! Everything is gluten free and cooked in olive oil :) I love getting either chicken or salmon, with sides of the roasted kale, broccoli, or string beans! The butternut squash hash + baked sweet potatoes (come with cheese, but you can request them with no cheese) are also awesome if you need a starch! 

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Thank you!! I was just trying to figure out what I could eat out for lunch with coworkers in Chinatown. LOVE Cava and happy to hear they have lots of compliant options.

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57 minutes ago, Julie McD said:

WOW. THANK YOU!! I'm on Day 2 and feeling overwhelmed. As in I can't contemplate dining out options, Cava and Little Beet are both near work/home, etc.

Even though you've read the information here, be aware that you are still responsible for asking about ingredients. Restaurants can change recipes or suppliers, and the original post was several months ago.

Here's a download with some tips for successfully dining out on Whole30: http://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-dining.pdf

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Great info on Cava!! Definitely a Whole30 staple for me too! If I'm ever not sure of ingredients, I'll just skip the dressings and load up on toppings like mint, olives, tomato/cucumber, the cabbage, and a squeeze of lemon juice for the dressing. The toppings are so flavor-packed I feel like I don't need a dressing anyway :)

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I thought I'd provide an update on the Cava conversation since as a mod noted ingredients change from time to time. I reached out to Cava, and am excited to confirm that there are still many options. Please see below!

Thanks for reaching out. At CAVA, we change our menu four times a year to reflect the change in seasons and think eating seasonally is a great way to fuel your life. Our current 2018 Winter menu items includes lots of items that anyone doing Whole30 can enjoy! 
 

  • Base: All of our greens (Supergreens, Arugula, Baby Spinach, Romaine, Splendidgreens)
  • Dip + Spreads: Harissa
  • Proteins: Chicken, Braised Lamb, Braised Beef (available at select locations), Spicy Lamb Meatballs, Seasonal Roasted Vegetables
  • Toppings: Shredded Romaine, Cabbage Slaw, Tomato + Onion, Diced Cucumbers, Tomato + Cucumber, Kalamata Olives, Pickled Banana Peppers, Lemon Wedge, Fresh Mint, and our seasonal Raw Beet + Dill Salad
  • Dressings: Lemon Herb Tahini, Green Harissa, and Spicy Turmeric Tahini (an amazing dressing for these cold months, also on our seasonal menu!)
  • Juices + Teas: Unsweetened Black Tea, and two seasonal drinks: Jasmine Tea and Pineapple Apple Mint


So that you are aware, these ingredients do not contain dairy, grains, legumes (chickpeas) or have any added sweetener. You can also view more on our menu/allergens at: http://cava.com/menu/allergens.

Best of luck on your challenge - thanks to letting CAVA help fuel your life!

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On 1/7/2018 at 2:36 PM, JohannaE said:

I thought I'd provide an update on the Cava conversation since as a mod noted ingredients change from time to time. I reached out to Cava, and am excited to confirm that there are still many options. Please see below!

Thanks for reaching out. At CAVA, we change our menu four times a year to reflect the change in seasons and think eating seasonally is a great way to fuel your life. Our current 2018 Winter menu items includes lots of items that anyone doing Whole30 can enjoy! 
 

  • Base: All of our greens (Supergreens, Arugula, Baby Spinach, Romaine, Splendidgreens)
  • Dip + Spreads: Harissa
  • Proteins: Chicken, Braised Lamb, Braised Beef (available at select locations), Spicy Lamb Meatballs, Seasonal Roasted Vegetables
  • Toppings: Shredded Romaine, Cabbage Slaw, Tomato + Onion, Diced Cucumbers, Tomato + Cucumber, Kalamata Olives, Pickled Banana Peppers, Lemon Wedge, Fresh Mint, and our seasonal Raw Beet + Dill Salad
  • Dressings: Lemon Herb Tahini, Green Harissa, and Spicy Turmeric Tahini (an amazing dressing for these cold months, also on our seasonal menu!)
  • Juices + Teas: Unsweetened Black Tea, and two seasonal drinks: Jasmine Tea and Pineapple Apple Mint


So that you are aware, these ingredients do not contain dairy, grains, legumes (chickpeas) or have any added sweetener. You can also view more on our menu/allergens at: http://cava.com/menu/allergens.

Best of luck on your challenge - thanks to letting CAVA help fuel your life!

This is disappointing -

We want to provide a quick update on our Whole30-friendly menu items. Unfortunately upon further review, our food and beverage team has removed our Winter seasonal Raw Beet + Dill Salad and Spicy Turmeric Tahini dressing from the list. We sincerely apologize for the oversight and appreciate your understanding! If you have any additional questions please let us know.

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Thank you so much for all the Cava info...one of my favorite restaurants pre whole 30. I'm on day 2 and still learning so I appreciate the help!

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I wanted to update this thread. Last night, (May 2018) I went to Cava Mezza on H Street and it was an amazing experience.    I asked the server if she was familiar with Whole30 and she reached over and pulled out a guide and proceeded to tell me which of their items were compliant and which were not.  I was also referencing an older post re: Cava and had added the roasted vegetables  (which i now see wasn't on the latest post) before she told me that they weren't compliant due to sugar in the carrots.  Due to the fact that I'm 10 weeks in to my Whole30 journey, I just picked out the carrots and rocked on.  I got my mixture of greens, braised lamb, cucumber/tomato,  harissa (which is amazing!), the roasted veggies, fresh mint, and a green vinaigrette.    Wonderful!  Check them out.

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Hi @Kimba341 - thanks for the update. Just a note though, we would appreciate if you did not copy and paste the same dialogue across multiple threads. It's against forum rules and makes more work for the volunteers who aim to keep the forum tidy and smoothly flowing. 

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Thought I'd come offer an update from the email I just received RE: Summer 2018 menu :)

 

 

Thanks for reaching out! At CAVA, we change our menu four times a year to reflect the change in seasons and think eating seasonally is a great way to fuel your life. Below lists our CAVA menu items that are Whole30- compliant, including our Summer 2018 menu items!
 

  • Bases: Supergreens, Arugula, Baby Spinach, Romaine, Splendidgreens

  • Dip + Spreads: Harissa

  • Proteins: Braised Lamb, Braised Beef (available at select locations), Spicy Lamb Meatballs, Seasonal Roasted Vegetables

  • Toppings: Shredded Romaine, Cabbage Slaw, Tomato + Onion - Diced, Diced Cucumbers, Tomato + Cucumber, Kalamata Olives, Lemon Wedge, Fresh Mint, Pickled Banana Peppers, White Bean Salad

  • Dressings: Lemon Herb Tahini, Green Harissa

  • Juices + Teas: Unsweetened Black Tea, Jasmine Green Tea

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