My daughter doesn’t go see movies that are over hyped. One too many billboards (which living in LA happens a lot) and she is over it before the premier. That is the way I am with food fads, mostly. Certainly it was the case with kale chips. I hear people talking about them everywhere and how they are so addicting, blah, blah, blah. I thought I had tried them and remembered not liking them at all. Turns out I had them confused with those seaweed chips, I’m not a fan of seaweed in any form.
Kale has more protein than beef, more calcium than milk, iron, a bunch of vitamins, including vitamin K, which I guess isn’t in too many foods, and a slew of other reasons this is something I should eat. Since I wasn’t going to spend eight bucks on a small bag I figured I would try to make them. I googled several different recipes and went for it. Basically you put them in the oven with a bit of olive oil and salt & bake, ok I can do that.
I’ve made these a few times now and I have to say kale chips are ridiculously addicting. Seriously they are like crack. My first time making them I can’t even say I liked them (overcooked) but I literally ate an entire batch in one night. Like I said I googled a few different recipes and really the only thing that varies is the temp and cooking time. My apt has a tiny, cheap, old gas stove that runs hot which is why I cook them on lower heat. Through trial and error heres my best recipe/advice for kale chips.
First of all, this falls in the category of ‘these are so easy to make, why waste money and fill the landfills with packing’. You also don’t need to buy your kale in a plastic bag at the grocery store, or put in in a produce bag. It comes in a bunch with a twist tie keeping it together (I will rant on the waste of produce bags in a later post). Buy organic and local if possible.
Nutritional Yeast or other seasoning (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Start by washing your kale, I wash with the stems on. Break out your salad spinner, the kale has to be very dry before you put it in the oven otherwise it won’t get crispy.
Cut the leafs from the stem and cut into bit size pieces. I find it easier to use my kitchen scissors to remove from the stems. Make sure you cut into uniform pieces so they cook evenly. Between raw and crispy in a very awkward chewy kale chip, you don’t want that.
Dry with your salad spinner or if you don’t have one use whatever method you usually dry your lettuce with. Cheesecloth or paper towels (100 % recycled naturally) and your colander will do. Just be sure to dry thoroughly.
Prepare a non-reactive baking sheet. This is one of those things that depend on your kitchen. What has worked best for me is to line my baking sheet with wax paper and spray with olive oil. I use the If You Care brand for wax paper, foil etc.
Spread the kale in a single layer on your prepared pan. you may have to make in batches. It does shrink a lot when it cooks. Generously season with salt and any other seasonings you prefer. I like the Braggs Nutritional Yeast for even more healthy goodness. Drizzle with a couple tablespoons worth of olive oil. Don’t worry if you don’t cover every piece with the oil, it all works out I promise. I have tried both tossing with oil & seasoning in a bowl and just adding seasoning and drizzling the oil when it’s on the pan. I prefer the pan method, too much oil makes them soggy.
Pop them in the oven and let them bake for about 15-20 minutes. About halfway through take them out and use a spatchula to gently loosen/toss them (you can’t really turn them). Take them out when they are crispy, watch them because they burn easily.
This is my first batch and they were slightly over cooked. I put them in a bowl and ate half of them like it was popcorn. Now I expected them to have the shape or similar taste to potato chips since ‘chips’ is in the name. They don’t. They are crispy and a snack food and you don’t stop eating them like potato chips which is where the similarity is.
It’s recommended that you serve these immediately. I store what I don’t eat in mason jars. I can’t say how long they would be good that way since they are like crack and usually don’t last more than a few days.
A side note about my salad spinner. It’s not the greenest thing to buy all kinds of kitchen gadgets and even worse buying plastic. I happened to snag mine at a clothing swap so I didn’t go out and buy it, I saved it from the landfill. Plus, I don’t buy my lettuce prewashed and sold in large plastic tubs, that trend has just got to stop! Occasionally when the only organic option is in those packages I will buy them, but only the ones made from recycled plastic bottles or some sort of eco packaging other than just being recyclable. I love my salad spinner a lot, and it’s totally fun to use, if you are easily amused like I apparently am.