California Pizza Kitchen Low Carb Options for the Keto Diet
Ever wonder where people got the crazy idea to stick things like pineapple chunks or duck sauceon a pizza? You can thank Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, for popularizing unusual toppings.
Following her lead, chef Ed LaDou was whipping up crazy pizzas at Wolfgang Puck’s famous Spago restaurant in the mid-1980s when California Pizza Kitchen’s co-founders Larry Flax and Rick Rosenfeld asked LaDou to help them develop a menu. He agreed and the restaurant was off and running. California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) now has over 300 restaurants in 200+ cities around the world. To date, they have served over 15 million pizzas.
Two of the top California-style flavors — BBQ chicken and Thai — were invented at CPK. They’ve become so popular that at this point it’s hard to call them unusual. But if you want something truly unique, you can hop on a plane and get eel pizza in Japan and pork belly pizza in China.
All of this may be interesting trivia, but pizza probably isn’t on your menu so much anymore, now that you’re doing great with the keto diet. But in the event you’re not in charge of picking the restaurant, never fear, pizza is only 1/3 of CPK’s menu and plenty of it is keto-compatible. If you’re still feeling iffy about eating here, maybe a tug at your philanthropic soul will help: CPK has a partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation called Round It Up. You can opt to round up your bill to the next dollar to make a donation to the charity. Just a few months after beginning the program in 2015, CPK had already raised over $250,000 for Make-A-Wish.
Back to brass tacks. California Pizza Kitchen lists its nutrition info online, but it is not customizable, meaning you can’t get exact macro counts on modified orders. Read on for your best bets.
Keto-Friendly Appetizers and Small Plates at California Pizza Kitchen
No exact macros available for modified items.
- Petite Wedge Salad (4 net carbs) Bleu cheese dressing, bacon, egg and tomatoes are all keto-delish. (26g fat, 6g protein)
- Asparagus + Arugula Salad (5 net carbs) A great way to get fiber and greens. (17g fat, 4g protein)
- Charred Shishito Peppers (6 net carbs) A little high on carbs for an appy, but it would be perfect to share. (21g fat, 4g protein)
Low Carb Power Bowls at California Pizza Kitchen
Most of the ingredients in the bowls are good for keto. Just ask to leave out the grains and legumes (rice, corn, faro, quinoa, beans) and you’ll get some good fiber and micronutrients. No exact carb counts available for modified orders.
Salads at California Pizza Kitchen for Ketogenic Dieters
Salads are always a great way to add fiber and micronutrients to your diet.
- California Cobb, half (6 net carbs) Bacon, egg, cheese, greens, a keto staple. (37g fat, 26g protein)
- Italian Chopped, half (9 net carbs) Turkey, salami, mozzarella and tomatoes are all fine. Ask to leave off the garbanzo beans to bring down your carb count. (41g fat, 24g protein)
- Roasted Veggie, half (19 net carbs) This count includes all the listed ingredients, but if you ask to hold the corn and pick a low-carb dressing (listed below) to replace the sugary dijon vinaigrette (7 net carbs), you can cut the carbs down significantly. (27g fat, 7g protein)
Keto-Compatible Salad Add-Ons at California Pizza Kitchen
- Grilled Shrimp (0 net carbs, 8g fat, 12g protein)
- Sautéed Salmon (0 net carbs, 8g fat, 12g protein)
- Grilled Chicken Breast (1 net carb, 12g fat, 35g protein)
- Fresh Avocado (1 net carb, 10g fat, 1g protein)
- Fresh Beets (3 net carbs, 0g fat, 1g protein)
Low Carb Dressings at California Pizza Kitchen
Salad dressing is one of those things you have to pay careful attention to when you’re counting carbs. Counts are for a half salad, so remember to double if you order a full portion.
- Poblano Ranch (1 net carb, 12g fat, 1g protein)
- Herb Ranch (1 net carb, 19g fat, 1g protein)
- Bleu Cheese (1 net carb, 24g fat, 3g protein)
- Mustard Herb Vinaigrette (1 net carb, 29g fat, 1g protein)
Keto-Friendly Mains at California Pizza Kitchen
There’s lots more than just pizza on the menu at CPK. No carb counts available for modified orders.
- Hearth-Roasted Halibut – Farro is a grain like wheat, so that’s out (it also contains gluten for anyone with allergies), but see if they won’t put a little extra asparagus on your plate instead.
- Cedar Plank Salmon – The corn succotash is a no-go; ask for a different veggie like asparagus or broccoli.
- Roasted Garlic Chicken + Seasonal Vegetables – See if they’ll give you extra veggies to replace the potatoes.
- Fire-Grilled Ribeye– Pass on the potatoes and request more arugula salad.
- WBC – The West Coast Burger, no bun – Always a keto winner, ask to leave off those carb-y caramelized onions and ketchup.
Pizza at California Pizza Kitchen for the Ketogenic Diet
It would be like ignoring the elephant in the room if we didn’t talk about pizza at a place like this. You can always pick the toppings off a pie. Your basics of cheese, meat, and veggies are going to be keto-compatible for the most part. Use common sense and pass on things that taste sweet (fruit, caramelized onions, sauces like teriyaki or bbq, etc.). CPK does offer a cauliflower crust option. It’s a little carb-y (13 net carbs per slice), but if this is a special occasion, it shouldn’t wreck your keto.
Low Carb Pizza Add-On Toppings at California Pizza Kitchen
All counts listed are per slice. Each pizza contains 6 slices.
- Goat Cheese (0 net carbs, 1g fat, 1g protein)
- White Truffle Oil (0 net carbs, 1g fat, 0g protein)
- Chicken (0 net carbs, 1.5g fat, 4g protein)
- Lime Chicken (0 net carbs, 1.5g fat, 3g protein)
- Bacon (0 net carbs, 1g fat, 1g protein)
What to Drink at California Pizza Kitchen on a Low Carb Diet
Water, San Pellegrino, coffee (hot or iced; unsweetened), tea, (hot or iced; unsweetened), or diet soda if you can’t resist. CPK also serves alcohol. A glass of red wine will run you about 5 net carbs and a light beer will be about the same.
Keto eaters can eat just about anywhere and still have success with the diet. Remember that fast food is high in calories and often lacking in nutrition and should not make up a significant portion of any healthy diet.