Kale ChipsPosted: 9 September 2011
Lately it seems like the blogosphere, rather, the foodie blogosphere, has been buzzing with Kale chips. A food which, up until a few months ago I had never even heard of, are suddenly everywhere. Partly thanks to organic, locovore movements, partly thanks to the popularity of health food blogs and partly because kale is cheap, abundant and easily found, this snack food has taken off.
After reading several bloggers talk about them I decided it was well worth it to give them a try. Even more so because a giant bunch of kale is a dollar at the Farmer’s Market. What was stopping me? I had heard tale that these monstrous leaves, when roasted, would become as crunchy as a potato chip and would actually ‘crunch’ in your mouth. I was doubtful but resolved to give them a try.
There are three kinds of kale that you can generally find at any grocery store or market. Kale is the dark green, and purple leaves that look like thick, curly lettuce. Dinosaur kale is a flat leaf variety that’s also delicious. Kale can be eaten raw but some people find the taste a bit too strong when it’s raw. The leaves can also be a bit tough to chew. Luckily when roasted they crunch up and the flavor mellows out quite a bit. Another awesome feature about kale is that a very little seasoning goes a very, very long way. Just a tiny sprinkle of garlic salt will give you an intense flavor. If you’re not into that kind of thing, you might want to roast your kale sans seasoning the first time.
Kale chips are super easy to make but you do have to take some individual time with each leaf. After you clean the leaves, spin them dry or roll them up in a kitchen towel to remove excess water. Rip each leaf into pieces, keeping in mind that they will shrink quite a bit when baked. Most importantly, rip out the main ‘stem’ completely. This piece of thick fibrous material does not crisp up well and at best is a rubbery chunk to work through. Doesn’t sound appealing does it? Rip it out.
Kale chips are super easy and super delicious. They are, however, extremely crumbly so never eat them with a low cut top or without a toothbrush nearby. The crumbs are a force to be reckoned with. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative for a crunchy snack addiction, look no further. I could eat these things every day and be happy.
One large bunch of kale, washed and de-stemmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt or other seasoning
Heat your oven to 350.
Rip the washed kale into pieces no bigger than your palm. Place the leaves into a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and seasoning of your choice. You can use other seasonings, like Mrs. Dash’s Chipotle blend or Chinese 5-Spice to mix up your flavors. Go with your favorites but start small, the flavor will intensify in the oven!
I use a giant Tupperware bowl with a lid to mix the kale with the oil and seasoning as it’s easiest to just pop the lid on and shake like crazy to mix. Alternatively, you can mix the kale with your hands, like you would mix the meat for a meatloaf or hand knead dough in a bowl.
Once coated place the kale on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. For the crispiest kale try to place the kale in an even, thin layer. This can mean a lot of cooking time and a lot of batches on trays. Although in the pictures here I placed each leaf individually that simply isn’t efficient. Two layers of kale should still roast and crisp properly for you and will make the process much quicker.
Bake them for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown. If you’re not sure if they’re done, take them out and let them cool. If they’re still a bit soggy, toss them and stick them back in the oven. They’re done when they’re not burnt, but have definitive crunch. Store like you would potato chips.