California Pizza Kitchen (or CPK, as the cool kids call it) has really been stepping up its vegan food game over the last few years. This is great news since the chain has locations in Asia, South America, Mexico, Australia, and all across the U.S.
CPK offers everything from soups to pizza, pasta, and more—and I’m about to break it aaaaall down for you:
- Lettuce Wraps: Be sure to order these with vegetables only, and get ready for the mouth experience of your life.
- Tuscan Hummus: Get it with whichever pita you want because (woot woot!) they’re both vegan.
- White Corn Guacamole + Chips: It’s as good at it sounds.
- Asparagus + Arugula Salad: Ask your server to hold the Parmesan cheese.
- Charred Shishito Peppers: Order these to add a little more spice to your life.
So, a few weeks back I attended a preview dinner at @californiapizzakitchen (Fashion Valley). Mostly, it was an opportunity to talk vegan with SVP of Culinary Innovation, Brian Sullivan. CPK has long had a detailed vegetarian/vegan guideline and has personally served as an easy option for affordable dinner with omnis–I wanted to find out why. • Now I'm not delusional so I'm not going to say CPK cares about vegans. But after talking with Chef Brian Sullivan he clearly does not look poorly upon us. In fact, he clearly expressed a respect for a WFPB/Forks Over Knifes approach to eating. But, you know, we live in a capitalist society that ties up the ability to pay bills with catering to the hungers of man. • Still, in little acts, the chefs of CPK make eating vegan at their family-friendly chain a easier for those of us who fight, in little acts, the indoctrination of violence in the food system. And so, on that note, here we have Course 1: Charred Shishito Peppers in tamari, garlic and red chili ($7.69). This option is vegan as-is. ______________________________________ #CPKVegan #ShishitoPeppers
- Dakota Smashed Pea + Barley: Don’t let the color deceive you—this soup is fire.
- Shaved Mushroom + Spinach: Just get it without any cheese.
- Quinoa + Arugula: Hold the feta and the champagne vinaigrette.
- Chinese Chicken: Ask for it without chicken (obviously) or wontons.
- Roasted Veggie
Most of CPK’s salads can be easily veganized by holding the meat and cheese and requesting the lemon herb vinaigrette or oil and vinegar.
- Grilled Veggie: Ask for it with no cheese, please.
- Wild Mushroom
- California Veggie
- Roasted Artichoke + Spinach
Note: All CPK’s pizza crusts are vegan! Just be sure to hold meats and cheeses when ordering. I’ll let you in on my best CPK pizza secret: Order the spicy marinara sauce to dip your slices into—that’s vegan, too.
- Banh Mi: Ask for no chicken or chili lime vinaigrette.
- Santa Fe: No chicken or poblano ranch.
- Tomato-Basil Spaghetti: This item isn’t even on the menu, but it’s delicious. (You’re welcome.)
Note: All pasta types are vegan except for the multigrain penne and ravioli. Just be sure to hold any meats and cheeses. Add whatever veggies you like! Remember: CPK has a vegan tomato-basil sauce that’s not on the menu.
Course 7: One of the best vegan dishes at @californiapizzakitchen is not on the menu. And that totally makes sense. Because the Spaghetti Marinara—gummy with golden garlic, sweet with pulpy tomatoes, and smokey from the flambe finish—was created for that most basic reason: because it tastes good. • It is unfiltered simplicity—free from test markets, focus groups, and profit reports. It is a subtle dish that one, untethered from the paradox of plenty, can find satisfaction in. __________________________________ #VeganCPK #CPKVeganHack #VeganPastainSanDiego
Kids’ Menu Options
- Fresh Fruit
- Fusilli Pasta with Olive Oil
- Fusilli Pasta with Tomato Sauce
Keep in mind that menu items can change, so be sure to double-check with your sever before placing your order.
By choosing only vegan items at restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen, you’ll be making a huge difference for animals like cows, pigs, chickens, and others who are routinely abused and slaughtered for food. If you want to do even more to help these animals, take the pledge to go vegan!