What to Eat At California Pizza Kitchen: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

California pizza kitchen

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California Pizza Kitchen, often abbreviated as CPK, is a casual dining restaurant chain that specializes in California-style pizza and more. This California-style pizza offers the best of New York and Italian styles of pizza with a local twist. Typically, California-style is a single-serve thin crust pizza with toppings inspired by California cuisine, such as avocado, artichoke hearts, and goat cheese. This style of pizza also tends to be vegetarian-friendly.

If you are looking for a creative way to eat a classic comfort food with a healthier twist, you will be pleasantly surprised by the California Pizza Kitchen menu. Since the menu is extensive, and offers filling meals for less than $20, there is likely a nutritious option for everyone.

What Experts Say

CPK offers a wide variety of nutritious options, including vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. Opt to customize your order if you have allergies or specific dietary needs. Half orders are also available for those people looking to eat smaller portions or combine food options. Some of the menu options can be very high in sodium so if you are dining here frequently, refine your menu search on-line by clicking the box that says lower sodium.

—Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN

Navigating the Menu

The California Pizza Kitchen menu may vary slightly depending on your location. For an accurate representation of what the restaurant has to offer, visit your local California Pizza Kitchen or view the menu online by choosing the location closest to you.

The menu consists of the following main categories: Pizzas, Salads, Appetizers, Small Plates and California Flatbreads, Soups, Power Bowls, Main Plates, Pastas, Certified Gluten-Free Pizzas, Sandwiches, CPKids, and Desserts.

To view the nutrition facts for each menu item, refer to the California Pizza Kitchen nutrition chart. California Pizza Kitchen uses an interactive online menu to filter out common dietary allergies like gluten, peanuts, dairy, shellfish, soy, and more. While the restaurant makes every attempt to offer allergy-friendly menu items to guests with dietary restrictions, it can’t guarantee that a menu item will be completely free of allergens due to potential cross contamination. 

The menu can also be personalized for vegan, vegetarian, low-calorie, and low-sodium diets. For more information on the restaurant’s meatless offerings, refer to the California Pizza Kitchen vegetarian and vegan menu guide.

What to Order & Avoid at California Pizza Kitchen
 Most Nutritious Options Least Nutritious Options
Wild Mushroom Original Hand-Tossed Pizza (Pizzas) Spicy Milano Crispy Thin Crust Pizza (Pizzas)
Roasted Veggie Half Salad with Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (Salads) Thai Crunch Full Salad with Lime Cilantro Dressing (Salads)
Sticky Asian Cauliflower (Appetizers) Avocado Club Egg Rolls (Appetizers)
Petite Wedge (Small Plates) California Olive Oil with Mediterranean Herbs - 4 fl oz (Small Plates)
Dakota Smashed Pea + Barley Soup Cup (Soups) Baked Potato Bowl (Soups)
Banh Mi Bowl (Power Bowls) Santa Fe Bowl (Power Bowls)
Cedar Plank Salmon (Main Plates) West Coast Burger “The WCB” (Main Plates)
Shrimp Scampi Zucchini (Pastas) Jambalaya Linguini Fini (Pastas)
Gluten-Free Traditional Cheese Pizza (Certified Gluten-Free Pizzas) Gluten-Free Mushroom Pepperoni Sausage Pizza (Certified Gluten-Free Pizzas)
Grilled Veggie Half Sandwich (Sandwiches) Oven-Roasted Turkey and Brie Sandwich (Sandwiches)
Grilled Chicken Breast with Broccoli and Fresh Fruit (CPKids) Curly Mac N’ Cheese (CPKids)
Salted Caramel Pudding (Desserts) Butter Cake (Desserts)

Most Nutritious Option

If you’re looking for the healthiest meal at California Pizza Kitchen, the roasted veggie salad’s nutritional profile makes it the best choice. For something with more protein, the cedar plank salmon is also a nutritious option.

Pizzas

California Pizza Kitchen offers a variety of pizzas, some of which are vegetarian-friendly or gluten-free. Some pizzas can be modified to accommodate vegan diets. Though pizza is not widely considered as part of a nutritious diet, pizza is the perfect example of enjoying a variety of foods in moderation.

✓ Wild Mushroom Original Hand-Tossed Pizza

Pizza counts as a vegetable serving if it has mushrooms on top, right? If you are craving pizza, ordering a pie with veggie toppings is a great way to indulge while making a more nourishing menu selection.

California Pizza Kitchen offers several vegetarian-friendly pizzas that have vegetable-heavy toppings: California veggie, and wild mushroom. The wild mushroom pizza is made with the original hand-tossed crust. Each single-serve pizza contains six slices.

Each slice of the wild mushroom pizza contains 170 calories, 6g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 22g carbohydrates, 7g protein, and 380mg sodium. Toppings include cremini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms. 

Spicy Milano Crispy Thin Crust Pizza

You would think that thin crust pizza would have fewer calories and carbohydrates, but the opposite is true. California Pizza Kitchen’s thin crust pizzas tend to be higher in calories, sodium, cholesterol, and fat. While there are only five pizzas that are made with the crispy thin crust, the pizzas can be personalized by adding or removing toppings.

If you are trying to watch your sodium and cholesterol intake, it is probably best to avoid the spicy Milano pizza. Each slice contains 240 calories, 11g fat, 5g saturated fat, 23g carbohydrates, 12g protein, and 550mg sodium. With 40mg cholesterol per slice, the levels add up quickly. 

Like the hand-tossed crust pizzas, the crispy thin crust pizzas have six slices each. If you have your heart set on a thin crust pizza, split up the six slices into two or more meals or opt for a pizza with more veggies.

Salads

For people looking for the most nutritious item on the menu, the salad section tends to be a go-to choice. Salad can be a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals when dining out. Just be aware that toppings and salad dressings add extra calories, fat, and sodium.

✓ Roasted Veggie Half Salad with Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

The most nutritious salad at California Pizza Kitchen on the entire menu is the roasted veggie salad served with dijon balsamic vinaigrette dressing. You can choose between two salad sizes—half or full—depending on your appetite. 

A half order of the roasted veggie salad contains 360 calories, 27g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 29g carbohydrates, 7g protein, and 610mg sodium. This menu item is rich in vegetables like artichoke hearts, asparagus, eggplant, bell peppers, corn, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and avocado.

✗ Thai Crunch Full Salad with Lime Cilantro Dressing

California Pizza Kitchen’s full-size Thai crunch salad exemplifies how the calories add up quickly depending on what type of salad you order. It is full of nutritious ingredients like veggies, chicken, and cilantro. However, it also contains calorically dense ingredients like wontons, rice sticks, and Thai peanut salad dressing.

The full-size order of this salad contains 1,180 calories, 73g fat, 9g saturated fat, 88g carbohydrates, 55g protein, and 1,710mg sodium. If this salad is one you can’t pass up, order the half-size to satisfy your craving or share with the table to cut back on calories and sodium.

Appetizers

When dining out with friends and family, sharing appetizers is a great way to snack while waiting for your main meal.

Some appetizers are likely better than others in terms of nutrition profile, so be mindful. At California Pizza Kitchen, the vegetable-based appetizers are more likely to be more nutrient-dense and lower in fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

✓ Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a popular vegetable in the appetizer category. It is often used to replace carbohydrate-rich foods like rice as well as animal proteins like chicken. At California Pizza Kitchen, the spicy buffalo cauliflower is an appetizer that resembles buffalo chicken wings with a vegetarian-friendly twist.

An order of the spicy buffalo cauliflower contains 600 calories, 44g fat, 14g saturated fat, 43g carbohydrates, 10g protein, 1,700mg sodium. It is also a decent source of fiber with 5g per serving. If you’re looking for a meaty appetizer, the Szechwan chicken dumplings are another nutritious option in this category.

✗ Avocado Club Egg Rolls

An order of the avocado club egg rolls contains 1,240 calories, 82g fat, 21g saturated fat, 62g carbohydrates, 63g protein, and 1,960mg sodium. If you want something with a similar flavor profile and with less sodium, fat, and calories, the lettuce wraps with Chinese vegetables are a great option to consider.

Small Plates and California Flatbreads

One of California Pizza Kitchen’s most popular menu items is their selection of flatbreads. This menu category also contains small salads, baguettes, and an olive oil mixture for dipping. 

✓ Petite Wedge

The petite wedge is made with the following simple ingredients: romaine lettuce, blue cheese dressing, bacon, egg, and tomatoes. Each serving contains just 270 calories, 26g fat, 6g saturated fat, 5g carbohydrates, 6g protein, and 350mg sodium.

✗ California Olive Oil with Mediterranean Herbs

Bread served with butter or oil is a common menu item at restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen. The restaurant chain offers sourdough baguettes and California olive oil with Mediterranean herbs as part of its small plates category. This pairing tends to be high in calories, fat, carbohydrates, and sodium.

A 4-ounce order of the California olive oil with Mediterranean herbs contains 920 calories, 106g fat, 15g saturated fat, 1g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 330mg sodium. Each full sourdough baguette contains 1,820 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 373g carbohydrates, 56g protein, and 4,320mg sodium.

Soups

Soup can be an excellent source of fiber since it is usually made with vegetables. Since it is served in small portions, it tends to be an option that is lower in calories than many other menu items.  

California Pizza Kitchen offers four types of soup: baked potato, Dakota smashed pea and barley, Sedona tortilla, and tomato basil bisque. While California Pizza Kitchen’s soup menu is small, it offers some low-calorie options for guests.

However, soup can be high in sodium, so keep that in mind when choosing between a bowl or a cup.

✓ Dakota Smashed Pea and Barley Soup

The Dakota smashed pea and barley soup is a creamy blend of vegetarian ingredients like barley, carrots, onions, herbs, and scallions. Each cup of this soup contains 170 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 33g carbohydrates, 11g protein, and 650mg sodium.

If offered the choice of soup for a side or appetizer, the Dakota smashed pea and barley soup has the fewest calories and sodium. It is also the only soup that is free of fat.

✗ Baked Potato Soup

A plain baked potato is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and other nutrients. While potatoes themselves are nutritious root vegetables, the baked potato soup at California Pizza Kitchen is likely not a suitable choice for guests looking to watch their sodium intake.

A bowl of the baked potato soup contains 590 calories, 39g fat, 18g saturated fat, 37g carbohydrates, 20g protein, and 1,510mg sodium. Vegans and vegetarians should note that this soup is made with applewood smoked bacon, so it is not a meatless menu item.

Power Bowls

Power bowls at any restaurant can be a nutritious menu item. They are usually made with a variety of grains, vegetables, protein sources, and other healthy toppings.

An advantage of ordering one of California Pizza Kitchen’s power bowls is that they are easy to personalize. Simply add or remove toppings and dressings as you see fit.

✓ Banh Mi Bowl

The Banh Mi bowl consists of quinoa, kale, cilantro, mint, grilled chicken, radish, avocado, cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, scallions, serrano peppers, and sesame seeds. It is topped with a housemade chili-lime vinaigrette. 

Each bowl contains 540 calories, 33g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 40g carbohydrates, 28g protein, and 770mg sodium. If you are looking for a menu item that is large in quantity yet lower in calories, this Asian-inspired dish is a filling and nutrient-dense choice.

✗ Santa Fe Bowl

While the Santa Fe bowl has several nutritious ingredients, such as farro, spinach, black beans, and red cabbage, it is made with a high-sodium ranch dressing. Each bowl contains 670 calories, 38g fat, 5g saturated fat, 54g carbohydrates, 35g protein, and 1,160mg sodium. 

To make this power bowl lower in sodium, order the housemade poblano ranch dressing on the side. Another option to cut back on calories and sodium is to order without dressing if you enjoy salads that way.

Main Plates

If you don’t plan on ordering pizza, you may find your entrée of choice in this menu category. The main plates are centered around animal protein like salmon, chicken, and beef, so this is not a suitable option for vegans and vegetarians.

✓ Cedar Plank Salmon

One nutritious option you can usually find on most restaurant menus is grilled chicken or salmon with a side of veggies or rice.

If you’re looking for something similar on the California Pizza Kitchen menu, the cedar plank salmon may pique your interest. It contains 650 calories, 34g fat, 8g saturated fat, 35g carbohydrates, 52g protein, and 640mg sodium. This entrée is served with white corn and spinach succotash for a hearty meal.

✗ West Coast Burger “The WCB”

You might not expect burgers on California Pizza Kitchen’s menu, but they do offer the popular West Coast Burger “The WCB” for meat lovers. Like burgers tend to be, this choice is high in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and carbs.

Served with crispy potatoes, this meal contains 1,980 calories, 136g fat, 37g saturated fat, 124g carbohydrates, 60g protein, and 3,520mg sodium. It also contains 205mg cholesterol.

Pastas

Pizza and pasta go hand-in-hand, and California Pizza Kitchen doesn’t disappoint with its Italian-inspired offerings. While this menu category likely isn’t an option for those following a gluten-free diet, it can be a source of nutrients for people following other diets.

✓ Shrimp Scampi Zucchini

Anyone looking for a meal that is lower in calories and carbs yet provides a moderate amount of protein will be impressed with the shrimp scampi zucchini. It is a fettuccine pasta dish that replaces some of the pasta noodles with zucchini ribbons.

The meal provides 480 calories, 26g fat, 11g saturated fat, 30g carbohydrates, 27g protein, 1,030mg sodium.

✗ Jambalaya Linguini Fini

Made with four types of meat—chicken, shrimp, sausage, and ham—the jambalaya linguini fini is high in cholesterol with 255mg per serving. This is not ideal for low-cholesterol diets such as the DASH diet.

The entire meal contains 1,230 calories, 71g fat, 19g saturated fat, 94g carbohydrates, 57g protein, and 2,340mg sodium. If you’re looking for a hearty pasta dish, the bolognese spaghetti is a lighter option.

Certified Gluten-Free Pizzas

Dedicated gluten-free menus and increased gluten-free options are increasing in popularity among chain restaurants. California Pizza Kitchen is the perfect restaurant for pizza lovers who do not consume gluten. While the gluten-free crust is made with fiber-rich cauliflower, it is also made with cheese and egg whites.

The gluten-free pizza selection at California Pizza Kitchen is suitable for vegetarians but not vegans.

✓ Gluten-Free Traditional Cheese Pizza

California Pizza Kitchen offers gluten-free pizza options in its regular and kids menu. In both cases, the gluten-free traditional cheese pizza contains the fewest calories and least amount of cholesterol, sodium, and carbohydrates. Each pie has six slices with each slice providing 180 calories, 8g fat, 5g saturated fat, 15g carbohydrates, 9g protein, 350mg sodium.

✗ Gluten-Free Mushroom Pepperoni Sausage

Each slice of the gluten-free mushroom pepperoni sausage contains 200 calories, 10g fat, 5g saturated fat, 15g carbohydrates, 9g protein, and 460mg sodium. If you're craving meat on your pizza, choose the gluten-free pepperoni pizza, which delivers 180 calories, 9g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 15g carbohydrates, 8g protein, 420mg sodium.

Sandwiches

If you visit the restaurant during lunchtime, California PIzza Kitchen offers four different sandwiches: California club with chicken, California club with turkey, grilled veggie, and oven-roasted turkey and brie.

All sandwiches can be ordered half-size or full-size. For a nutritious meal that is balanced, opt for half a sandwich with a side of soup or salad.

✓ Grilled Veggie Half Sandwich

You can’t go wrong with a veggie sandwich. The half-size grilled veggie sandwich is made with bell peppers, mushrooms, baby greens, tomatoes, cheese, and sun-dried tomato aioli. It is vegetarian-friendly and offers 310 calories, 15g fat, 6g fat, 34g carbohydrates, 9g protein, and 500mg sodium.

✗ Oven-Roasted Turkey and Brie Sandwich

Consider ordering half-size sandwiches, as they can still be quite filling and satisfying. The full-size oven-roasted turkey and brie sandwich contains 810 calories, 35g fat, 14g saturated fat, 78g carbohydrates, 46g protein, and 2,170mg sodium. This does not include any sides.

CPKids

Like most restaurant chains, California Pizza Kitchen has a dedicated menu for children. The chain also offers several gluten-free pizzas for kids.

✓ Grilled Chicken Breast

The CPKids menu offers a grilled chicken breast that provides 220 calories, 10g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 1g carbohydrates, 30g protein, and 640mg sodium. Served with baby broccoli and fresh fruit for a balanced meal.

✗ Curly Mac N’ Cheese

If you let your child choose their meal at California Pizza Kitchen, they will likely choose the curly mac n’ cheese. This classic comfort food is a favorite among young children. Consider adding a side of vegetables, fruit, or meat to make it a well-rounded meal.

A plate of the kids Mac N’ Cheese contains 820 calories, 53g fat, 28g saturated fat, 66g carbohydrates, 21g protein, and 760mg sodium.

Desserts

California Pizza Kitchen has several sweet treats to choose from, including pie, cheesecake, cake, and pudding. While these are all high in calories and sugar, enjoying dessert guilt free can be part of a balanced lifestyle and improved relationship with food.

✓ Salted Caramel Pudding

If you’re looking for the dessert at California Pizza Kitchen with the fewest calories, it is the Salted Caramel Pudding. Each serving has 530 calories, 33g fat, 19g saturated fat, 55g carbohydrates, 5g protein, and 300mg sodium.

✗ Butter Cake

Like the name implies, the butter cake is exactly that—buttery. As such, it contains 1,090 calories, 66g fat, 41g saturated fat, 122g carbohydrates, 7g protein, and 620mg sodium.

Diet-Specific Options

California Pizza Kitchen offers choices for gluten-free, vegetarian, low-carb, and diabetes-friendly diets, but could improve its low-fat, vegan, low-sodium, and low-FODMAP menu items.

Gluten-Free

  • Gluten-Free Traditional Cheese Pizza
  • Gluten-Free Margarita Pizza
  • Fire-Grilled Ribeye
  • Cedar Plank Salmon
  • Banh Mi Bowl

With a dedicated gluten-free menu, California Pizza Kitchen offers many options for those who follow a gluten-free diet. Choose the cedar plank salmon for a healthy option, or the gluten-free traditional cheese pizza if you're craving the chain's signature pizza option.

Low-Carb

  • Asparagus and Arugula Salad
  • California Olive Oil with Mediterranean Herbs
  • Shrimp Scampi Zucchini

While CPK's offerings of pizza, pasta, and sandwiches aren't inherently low-carb, there are a few menu options that offer fewer carbs than their counterparts. For a healthy option, choose the shrimp scampi zucchini, which contains 30g carbohydrates.

Low-FODMAP

  • Cedar Plank Salmon
  • Fire-Grilled Ribeye
  • Grilled Chicken Breast

Stick to a low-FODMAP diet by ordering the grilled chicken breast from the CPKids menu. The full meal includes chicken and steamed broccoli.

Diabetes-Friendly

  • Asparagus and Arugula Salad
  • Banh Mi Bowl
  • Grilled Veggie Sandwich

With quinoa, kale, grilled chicken, avocado, and more vegetables, the Banh Mi bowl is a great diabetes-friendly option.

Low-Fat

  • Dakota Smashed Pea and Barley Soup
  • Sedona Tortilla Soup
  • Szechwan Chicken Dumplings

Create your own low-fat meal by ordering from the soup and small plates menu. Opt for the Dakota smashed pea and barley soup (0g fat) and the Szechwan chicken dumplings (8g fat) for a total of 8g fat.

Low-Sodium

  • Asparagus and Arugula Salad
  • Half Caesar Salad
  • Cedar Plank Salmon

To keep your sodium intake low and to enjoy a full meal, choose CPK's cedar plank salmon. It delivers 640mg in a full serving.

Vegetarian

  • Wild Mushroom Pizza
  • Roasted Veggie Salad
  • Grilled Veggie Sandwich
  • Spicy Asian Cauliflower
  • California Veggie Pizza

CPK's pizza menu features multiple vegetarian options. The California veggie pizza features eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, corn, onions, broccoli, and cheese.

Vegan

  • Guacamole and Chips
  • Lettuce Wraps (request with only Chinese vegetables)
  • Mediterranean Side Salad (omit Feta cheese and Mustard Herb Vinaigrette)
  • California Veggie Pizza (omit cheese)
  • Tomato Basil Spaghetti

To stick to a vegan diet at CPK, you'll need to customize parts of a dish. For pizza, order the California veggie pizza but ask for no cheese. If you're craving pasta, the tomato basil spaghetti can be a hearty vegan option.

Food Allergies and Safety

California Pizza Kitchen has several allergen-friendly menu items, but it does not claim to be free of dietary allergens. If you have serious allergies, you should be cautious when dining out.

While California Pizza Kitchen offers certified gluten-free pizzas, its other menu items that claim to be free of gluten-containing ingredients are not certified. The restaurant can’t guarantee that cross contamination will not occur in its kitchens.

People with allergies to eggs, fish, dairy, soy, and wheat should be especially cautious when eating at California Pizza Kitchen since these ingredients are used in many of its dishes. For more information, refer to the California Pizza Kitchen allergen information chart.

A Word From Verywell

Special occasions are a great reason to enjoy eating at a restaurant for your loved ones, but it doesn’t have to be a time of celebration to enjoy foods you love. When practicing moderation, you can enjoy your favorite meal at California Pizza Kitchen without a second thought.

When in doubt, go with what sounds like it will be the most satisfying, while honoring your personal health goals.

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