Easy Summer Entertaining Menu: A Cava Inspired Dinner

 

One of my favorite places to grab a quick lunch in DC is Cava, a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant that’s kind of like Chipotle but with pita and hummus instead of tortillas and guacamole. I often pick up their harissa, crazy feta, and hummus from Whole Foods for an easy dinner, but one day I started thinking…couldn’t I make this stuff at home? So, I did a little googling of recipes for some inspiration, and got to creating my own interpretations of their Mediterranean classics. The best part about these recipes? They make for a fresh, simple dinner that’s perfect for entertaining.

THE EASIEST SUMMER DINNER

When I’m entertaining in the summer, I’m all about easy recipes that require minimal cooking. Putting together a Mediterranean platter definitely fits the bill. A few dips, throw some kabobs and pita on the grill, and you’re done. Plus, it’s interactive for the guests and it’s a more leisurely dining experience than serving an entree, which I think is ideal for a slow summer evening.

The two recipes I’m going to share with you today are for a harissa dip and crazy feta. Typically, I’ll serve these with store bought hummus (I have to draw the line on homemade somewhere!), roasted garlic, a super easy diced cucumber, tomato, and onion salad, maybe some shaved parmesan – just whatever I happen to have on hand, really. Then, I’ll add in a protein, steak or chicken, though you could also do tofu, grill it, and throw some pita brushed with olive oil for a couple minutes just as the meat finishes. Serve it all family style and enjoy!

 

CAVA INSPIRED HARISSA

1 15 oz. can tomato paste

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup crushed red pepper

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

1/2 tbsp salt

1/2 tbsp black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a food processor (I used my Nutri-bullet and it worked fine!). Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil. Keep the leftovers on hand to use on sandwiches, tacos, everything!

 

 

CAVA-INSPIRED CRAZY FETA

8 oz. crumbled feta

2 jalapenos, seeds in, minced finely

1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Duke’s, of course)

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tbsp lemon juice

Drizzle of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together (I just did it by hand – I don’t think you need to use a food processor). Feel free to add in other ingredients like garlic or basil, depending on what you have on hand and what sounds good. Serve and enjoy!

 

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