Snack Time: Spicy Kale Chips

If you read the title of this post and said, “What!? Kale chips?” Your not alone.  You might think that the words kale and chips never, ever, belong in the same sentence.  You might even be wondering just what the heck kale is.

Kale is a curly green leafy vegetable that is a member of the cabbage family.  Like spinach and other greens, kale is a very nutrient dense food.  Wait! Don’t say “yuck!” just yet! Hear me out.    I first heard of kale about a year ago, I was skeptical, but I like spinach so I eventually gave it try.  I even wrote an article on Impact Dash about it, where I combined it with bow tie pasta and added some cayenne pepper for heat.  This recipe had me pretty convinced that kale isn’t all that bad, and with a bit of spice, it’s actually pretty good!  So don’t rule it out just yet!

A few months after writing the article for Impact Dash, I started seeing a trend gaining momentum in the food blog world, Kale Chips.  I was intrigued.  My first thoughts were, “what!?”  How do you turn a leafy green into a chip? Does it actually taste good?”  I figured I’d give it a go, all these well known bloggers who turn out great looking food on a daily basis can’t be wrong, right?! So, picked out some more kale at the store, brought it home, washed it, and let it dry.   I tore the kale into small pieces, massaged with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, put them in the oven, and walked away.

Walking away was a huge mistake.  When I returned to the oven about 20 minutes later and removed  the pan, all I had were some black/brown tiny crispy things that no longer resembled kale, but certainly didn’t look like chips either.  I munched on a few that weren’t burnt quite as bad, and swore that I would never make these again.

Except I did.

I’m not sure what propelled me to buy kale at the store the other day.  I’m not really sure what made me want to make kale chips again, but I’m thrilled at how they turned out!  I’m very pleased I gave them a second chance!

I started the same way, by washing and drying the kale.  A salad spinner works wonders for the drying process, but laying the leaves out on paper towels for about an hour (or until dry) in a warm kitchen works okay too.  Once the leaves are dry, trim off the thick ribs and tear into large pieces.  Notice I said large not small?  This was the first mistake I made the last time around.  The kale pieces are going to shrink drastically once you put them in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Place the dry kale pieces in a large bowl and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on them.  You don’t need much, a tablespoon or two is fine.  Use your hands to massage or rub the oil into the leaves.  This is the fun part! If you have kids, let them do this!  Speaking of kids, this recipe is great for involving them  in the cooking process and promoting veggie consumption.

Spread out the oiled kale onto a dry baking sheet.  Don’t overlap pieces.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and little black pepper.   Here is where you can get creative with toppings.  I bet fresh parmesan cheese would be good!  I decided to go the spicy route again, and added a little cumin, chili powder, and onion powder.  Not much, no more than 1/4 tsp.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and don’t walk away! The kale will cook for about 15 minutes, but use your judgement.  Every 5 minutes I took a peak and turned the leaves over.  I’m not really sure if turning them made a difference, but it made me feel better! The chips are done when they just start to turn a little brown and are nice and crispy.   Place carefully in a bowl and eat immediately.  I’ve heard some people store them in a brown paper bag, but I haven’t tried this yet.  I’m afraid they would get soggy.  Plus, they are so addicting anyway, there is a slim chance I would have any to save!

Eat as many as you want, we’re talking about kale here!  I’m not about to stop anyone from eating too many kale chips!  So let me know what you think! Have you made these before?  What other flavoring do you think would be good?  Do you think I’ve completely lost is, and have somehow convinced myself that kale taste good?

And just for fun, watch Woody on Cheers as he tries ‘Veggie Boy” a veggie drink full of kale!  And if you have this reaction to kale chips let me know, we can try hypnosis! :)

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4 thoughts on “Snack Time: Spicy Kale Chips

  1. I too have recently become addicted to kale chips. I have wondered how they would be the following day because i would love to share with friends, but they never last till the next day so friends have to be at my place while they are cooking if they want to partake.

    I haven’t experimented too much with seasonings. Just sea salt is great, but I also really like parmesan cheese. I have discovered that its better to put the grated cheese on earlier in the cooking process while the kale is still moist. Chipotle powder and sea salt is also great!

    I am wondering how much of kales nutrition is lost in the baking process. I know it is pretty guilt-free, but am I kidding myself thinking that its healthy?

  2. I just saw Giada make them on one of her cooking shows. I tried them last week…and I am totally addicted. I haven’t tried a seasoning…just a little sea salt, but they are so delicious and guilt-free! Great write-up! I came across this after typing in “Is it possible to eat too many Kale Chips”.

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