The goal? A brand-new seasonal dressing. Creamy yet vegan. Bold but subtly tangy. Crowd-pleasing with no added sugar.

So how did we decide Red Pepper Chickpea was the answer?That story begins with CAVA’s Culinary Development Lead, Reed Armstrong, who grew up on bagels layered with lox and capers.

Ultimately, it was that briney, tangy flavor of his childhood that inspired our new fall dressing.

But the vetting process for a new CAVA flavor takes more than inspiration.

It starts with pitching ideas to CAVA’s Culinary Research + Development committee. And the best ideas get further scrutinized from business and operations perspectives.CAVA Fall Seasonal Menu Red Pepper Chickpea DressingThen comes testing. Lots and lots of testing. Reed experimented with flavors like the brine from our pickles and olives. But he finally came back to that childhood favorite – capers – for a more complex flavor.

From there, Reed led taste testing of a few recipe options.

“It’s really important to try the new flavor in the context of the CAVA bowl, so everyone on the committee builds their own bowl and talks about each recipe individually.”

Last but not least, the winning recipe gets translated to scale for all of our restaurants. And it winds up on your meals throughout the fall season.

For Reed, the end of this process is really just the beginning. Red Pepper Chickpea comes to life – and he’s back to dreaming, testing, and tweaking new flavors for the next season.CAVA Fall Seasonal Menu Red Pepper Chickpea Dressing


It’s the moment of truth.

You’re building your bowl and the dressing can tie it all together. When is Red Pepper Chickpea the right move?

For your best pairing, pick one of these proteins:

  • Grilled Chicken
  • Grilled Meatballs
  • Roasted Veggies

“The acidity from the capers and mustard cuts through the richness of the proteins and adds an extra dimension to the veggies.”

Now, it’s your turn. What will you create?