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Vegan at California Pizza Kitchen

I have categorized this post both under dining out and dual dining because California Pizza Kitchen is a great place for vegans and omnivores to eat in mixed company.

My mom works as a preschool teacher and some of the parents gave her generous gifts this holiday season.  She invited my sister and me to have lunch with her at California Pizza Kitchen, courtesy of a gift card from a parent.  We researched ahead of time and saw that on the menu page of their website, they have a special menu for vegetarians and vegans (I have attached the PDF here: CPK_vegetarian_and_vegan_menu).  Here’s a summary of their offerings:

Pizzas:  Thin crust only with pizza marinara, vegetarian black bean, and spicy marinara sauce only.  Ask for any thin crust pizza with one of those sauces without any meats or cheeses.  The California Veggie is already vegan (with minor modification).

Pastas:  Avoid multigrain penne, tomato basil sauce is the only vegan one that they offer.  Ask for any of the pastas with tomato basil sauce without any meats or cheeses.  Tomato Basil Spaghettini is already vegan (with minor modification).

Salads:  Any salad with fat-free balsamic, lemon herb vinaigrette, or hoisin ginger vinaigrette dressing is vegan as long as you ask for it without any meats or cheeses.  Chinese Chicken (no chicken or wontons), Field Greens (no Dijon balsamic or candied walnuts), Quinoa and Arugula (no cheese or Champagne vinaigrette), and Roasted Veggie (no Dijon balsamic) are already vegan (with minor modifications).

Appetizers and Sides:  The following are the only vegan options… asparagus and arugula salad (no cheese), white corn guacamole and chips, lettuce wraps (ask for only Chinese vegetables), Tuscan hummus (ask for thin crust instead of pita bread).

Soups:  Currently, the only vegan soup is the Dakota smashed pea and barley soup.

Sandwiches:  Currently, there are no vegan options available for sandwiches.

Desserts:  Currently, there are no vegan options available for desserts.

To start, we ordered the white corn guacamole and chips.  I didn’t try the corn guacamole (I believe I may be allergic to avocado), but my mom and sister thought it was good, but a little bland.  The chips were tasty, but it was a very small appetizer for the price.

CPK - guac and chips | A Vegan in Progress

We ordered the California Veggie pizza on thin crust with spicy marinara sauce, although the pizza came out of the kitchen with regular marinara.  It was very tasty.  I don’t usually like thin crust pizzas, but this was a winner and not hard at all.  It comes with “baby broccoli, eggplant, corn, red onions, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, Mozzarella and tomato sauce,” so we asked for no cheese and got the traditionally original crust pizza on thin crust instead.

CPK - veggie pizza | A Vegan in Progress

We also got the Roasted Veggie salad.  The website says it includes, “warm artichoke hearts, asparagus, eggplant, red and yellow peppers, corn and sun-dried tomatoes served over cool Romaine, avocado and housemade Dijon balsamic vinaigrette,” so we ordered it sans Dijon balsamic, with balsamic vinegar instead and the avocado on the side.  This was a really great, light, but flavorful salad.  I would order it again, but I definitely preferred the pizza.  It’s probably what you’re in the mood for if you’re dining at the California Pizza Kitchen anyway.  Please excuse the blurry photo.

CPK - roasted veggie salad | A Vegan in Progress

Overall, CPK offers tasty options for vegans.  While many restaurants just offer meals that are acceptable, these are actually enjoyable.