Thursday, April 5, 2012

I have an unholy love for kale chips.  It's on par with my unholy love for really great French fries, but fortunately it's a lot healthier.

Out of all the people I've shared kale chips that I've made with, every single one of them had the same reaction (in order):

*  Askance look at the weird green things in the container.
*  Fearfully taking a piece, usually one of the smaller ones.
*  With a "let's get this over with" look on their face, in the mouth it goes.
*  Pause.  Chew.
*  Eyes grow wide.
*  Chew with more enthusiasm.
*  Say, "This is really good!!"

Followed by me smirking, saying "I told you!"

Converted.  Every time.

Through trial and error, I learned that making kale chips on a lower temp for a bit longer time is much tastier and less stressful!

Most recipes you see online say to bake the chips at about 325F or 350F.  The problem with that is that the flavour suffers in my opinion by baking on that high a temperature, and also there is a very narrow margin for error--there are only a few minutes between done and overdone.  And overdone kale chips aren't very tasty.

The best way, if you do it in a conventional oven, is to turn the temperature way down.  For most that's 150F, and if that's true for your oven too, then the cooking time is about 1 hour.

If you have a dehydrator that's even better.  If you can't change the temperature, just keep an eye on the chips--they'll be done when they're completely dry and crunchy.

My two favourite kale chip recipes (for now anyway!) are:

Krispy Kale Chips With Nutritional Yeast

Any kind of kale will do.


Raw kale
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Nutritional yeast

1.  Wash kale leaves, and trim the middle stalk out. 

2.  You can leave the leaves that size, or you can make them bite-sized.  Keep in mind that the kale will shrink by about 50%, so keep that in mind when you chop/rip them.

3.  Place the kale leaves in a large bowl.  Pour on some extra-virgin olive oil, and massage into kale leaves.  You want to use just enough to very lightly cover all the leaves and make the other ingredients stick.

4.  Add sea salt and nutritional yeast to taste.  Massage into kale leaves, until all are covered.  Feel free to use as much nutritional yeast as you like--it's very low-cal and very good for you!

5.  Spread on a cookie sheet if using an oven, or on a dehydrator tray if going that way.

6.  The kale chips are ready when they're completely dry and crispy. 

If you are going to put them in a zip loc bag or container, make sure the chips are totally cool before doing so, otherwise they'll go soggy.

Cool Ranch Krispy Kale Chips

This one you need a dehydrator for.  You can use an oven as above, but it will take significantly longer to dry--about 24 hours--which is a lot of hydro!  Food dehydrators use significantly less hydro, which is nice. : )  Plus, in a dehydrator you can make other things at the same time (no need to adjust the temperature, just the time), if your dehydrator is big enough, thus saving even more hydro!


1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 4 hours (or more if you can't get to them at 4 hours)
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Smoked paprika (regular sweet paprika is OK if you can't find smoked)
Lime juice
Nutritional yeast

Prepare the kale leaves as above, up to and including #2.

All seasonings to taste, but make sure that you taste as you go, 'cause once they're in, they're in!

1.  Drain cashews, and put in blender.  You can make more by doubling the recipe if you need more for the amount of kale you have.
2.  Blend cashews with just enough water to allow the blender to do its thing.  If you over-do it, don't fret, it will just mean that the chips will take longer to dry.
4.  Once you have a nice cream, add the remaining ingredients.  Add smaller amounts of everything, taste (stop the blender to do it!!), and add more to your taste. 
5.  Place the kale leaves in a big bowl.  Pour cream over top, and massage thoroughly into leaves.  Yes, it will be goopy.  But in this case goop is good!  The cream, when it dries, gives the chips this thoroughly unbelievable taste and texture.  They're SO CRUNCHY!!  They kind of have the texture of Doritoes (from what I remember!) but even better because they're not flat, so they're even crunchier.  Seriously.  No seriously!!

I challenge you to try and NOT love kale chips.  There are so many combinations I've heard of but haven't tried yet--BBQ, curry, salt and vinegar...  Mmmmm...  I think I have a craving coming on!!