• vegan chain dining: california pizza kitchen

    December 15th, 2010quarrygirlcalifornia pizza kitchen, LA restaurants

    i think it’s great when huge chain restaurants make the effort to have vegan-friendly items on their menu, and that’s exactly what california pizza kitchen has done. we checked out cpk at the beverly center recently, and i’m happy to report that it was super easy to order a ton of animal-free food, and everything we ate was delicious.

    i can imagine that for people who live in some parts of the country, cpk is a godsend…not every city is like los angeles, with a vegan restaurant on every corner. cpk has hundreds of locations all over the country, and they’ve clearly posted their vegetarian and vegan information online for everyone to see. i love that they’ve done that! it saves all the guesswork of quizzing the waiters and/or emailing the corporate office.

    tuscan hummus (substitute thin crust for pizza-pita bread): tuscan white beans pureed with sesame, garlic, lemon and spices. garnished with fresh roma tomatoes, basil and garlic. served with warm pita bread. $6.49

    we started with an order of the tuscan hummus, which can be made vegan by subbing thin crust dough for the pizza-pita bread. cpk has three dough options: regular, whole wheat, and thin…and only the thin crust is vegan. the menu doesn’t list the thin crust as a choice for the hummus appetizer, but when we explained that’s what we wanted, our waitress was very accommodating.

    anyways, the hummus tasted great! a rich smooth blend of white beans, sesame, garlic, and spices served with chopped tomatoes, basil and garlic. it went down perfectly with the crispy thin crust pita, kinda like eating hummus and crackers.

    dakota smashed pea and barley soup: hearty vegetarian split pea with barley, carrots, onions, and savory herbs. garnished with green onions. $5.99

    next up, we got a bowl of smashed pea and barley soup, which ended up being my favorite part of the meal. i know it may sound boring, but i’m really turning into a soup person…and this stuff was so good. it was hearty and comforting yet tasted pretty healthy. although we ordered a bowl, the staff at cpk were nice enough to put it in 2 cups so we could easily share. how sweet.

    for our main course, we ordered two pizzas to share. the pizzas at cpk are relatively small, and ordering them on the thin crust with no cheese makes them less filling…yet since we ordered 2 appetizers to start with, we still had plenty of leftovers.

    Wild mushroom pizza on thin crust with spicy marinara sauce and no cheese. $13.49

    first up we got the “wild mushroom pizza” with the following modifications: thin crust instead of regular, spicy marinara sauce instead of pesto, and no cheese. what was left was a cracker-thin pie covered in spicy sauce, topped with a mix of cremini, shiitake, portobello and white mushrooms, and garnished with parsley. it was delicious! i don’t know how they cook or marinate the mushrooms at cpk, but they were really full of flavor. the spicy marinara was great as well, just a small kick of heat but not enough to overwhelm the rest of the pizza.

    vegan japanese eggplant: (thin crust with no cheese) baby broccoli, grilled japanese eggplant, roasted corn, sliced red onions, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and tomoto sauce. $13.49

    next up, we got the japanese eggplant pizza on thin crust with no cheese. this was a beautiful pie covered in loads of vegetables including baby broccoli, grilled japanese eggplant, roasted corn, red onions, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes. it was so colorful and bursting with loads of different flavors. i loved it! if you went to cpk and could only get one vegan pizza, this is the one i’d recommend.

    overall, the vegan offerings at cpk are pretty solid. for such a big chain, they’ve really taken the time to make sure we have some good options, and i think that’s a huge step in the right direction. this would be a great place to dine with omnivores, or grab a quick bite when you are on the road. the prices are reasonable, and the food is really fresh and tasty. i know i’ll be back to cpk!

    check out cpk’s website for locations. they’re everywhere!

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15 responses to “vegan chain dining: california pizza kitchen” RSS icon

  • I like CPK’s cheeseless pizzas – but man…if they had Daiya ….GAME OVER. Surprised they haven’t taken that leap yet.

  • I was once told by a CPK employee (in Long Beach, Calif.) that the smashed pea soup had cream in it. So I stopped eating it. You mean to tell me that I’ve been missing out on this delicious soup for years now because of a confused server? Boo me. Now let’s get me some of that soup.

  • I love the japanese eggplant pizza. I add avacado for a little creaminess, so good

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    My parents and siblings go to the Pasadena location all the time, I had no idea anything vegan was even available. Good to know!!

  • You always come through with the good and timely info QG! I am in Colorado Springs visiting my omni fam for the holidays and dining out is always a ‘thing’.
    I will look for a CPK now! Happy Holidays!!

  • I absolutely love their hummus and pea and barley soup. I’ve gotten so many responses from different CPKs on whether the pita was vegan or not, though. Once I got vegan, once I got that it had eggs and dairy in it, once it had honey in it and finally I got it was vegan again. So I never know what to believe. Hopefully they’re right about the thin crust!

  • supposedly they make the pita bread out of the pizza crust. the normal crust contains dairy, the wheat one contains honey, and the thin crust is vegan. i wish they’d take the stupid honey out of their wheat crust!!

  • Aw crap…I saw their vegan list 6 or 7 years ago – and regular pizza crust & penne was OK …they must have changed. Crap. Well, thanks for the updated list!

  • Just went to the Glendale location last week. And don’t forget, after having your hummus appetizer followed by a vegan japanese eggplant pizza, make sure that it’s paired with a strawberry lemonade!


  • Sorry to see that cpk STILL offers no gluten-free vegan entrees. We are so fortunate, though, to live close to a number of fine restaurants that DO. : )

  • One of my favorite vegan items at CPK is the Thai crunch salad. If you sub in avocado for the chicken, it’s divine. It comes with two kinds of dressing: lime cilantro and peanut, and I ask for just the peanut dressing (which is awesome by itself).

  • Next time I’m out West I’ll enjoy a CPK vegan pie. I love the mushroom one but have not been able to eat it in years.

    Thanks for this info!!

  • OMG, GRILLED VEGETABLE SALAD. Not usually a salad person, but trust me, it fills you up.

  • I was looking at the CPK webpage about their pizzas: http://www.cpk.com/menu/pizzas/

    On the left side of that page there are links to additional info, including “Vegetarian Information” which is a link to a pdf with “Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten-Free Information”

    Here is a direct link to that pdf:

  • I’m a vegan from SF but am in Long Beach for a business trip. I’m freaking starving and there’s a CPK across the street. Yay! Thanks so much.

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