Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that greens are good for you. You also probably know that kale tops the charts when it comes to nutrients-per-bite. But, for all that nutrition knowledge, the real eat-your-greens revolution is taking place in home ovens across the country… Yep, I’m talking about kale chips! The crispy, salty, totally addictive snack has moved out of the “hippie food” category and gone mainstream. If you haven’t yet tried making your own kale chips, you are missing out! And if you have made your own kale chips, why not punch them up a bit? This vegan raw recipe for Basic Cheesy Kale Chips has been perfected from countless attempts to create the crunch of the best bagged kale chips at Whole Foods without throwing down $7.99 a bag. Let’s face it, cheesy kale chips are addictive enough to get you hooked at that price, but YIKES!
I had the pleasure of spending this past weekend with my gorgeous nieces Greta and Sofia and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make kale chips with them. Not only is this one of the prettiest greens around, it’s ridiculously healthy for you. Bonus!
The aroma of baked kale is certainly unique and rather pungent. Kale greens are a part of the cruciferous family and although they release a rather sulfur like aroma, the smell is easily forgotten when you bite into their feathery light chips.
Anyways, back to kale chips. I have been making these for about a year now. I have played around with them a lot, and have figured out some tips and tricks that can be helpful to someone who has never made kale chips before.
1. There’s a variety of different kinds of kale. The most common type is curly kale which I used in this recipe. I’ve also used tuscan kale which is more tender and a little less bitter. I actually prefer to use tuscan kale, but it’s not always available.
2. Practice makes perfect. Even though recipes for kale chips are pretty simple, it takes a few tries to get them how you’d like. I’ve tried cooking them at many different temperatures, but have come to a conclusion that their best cooked at lower temperatures for a longer period of time. Cooking them at too high of a temperature causes them to burn easily and results in them being bitter.
3. Bake them in a thin layer. You want the kale chips to bake as evenly as they can, so be sure to place them side by side without overlapping.
4. Bake Low. If you have a food dehydrator, good for you, your chips will be light, RAW and just about perfect. If you are winging it with an oven like me, I found that keeping it on 200 degrees (max 275) will produce delicious caramelized, yet crispy, cheezy kale chips. They won’t be exactly the same as dehydrator chips – but still totally addictive and yummy.
5. Cheesy Goodness. Nutritional yeast comes in flake form. It is a deactivated yeast that is commonly used as a condiment type thing by many vegans and vegetarians. It tastes distinctly… cheesy, but I’m not sure why. You should try it! It’s a complete protein and is high in b-complex vitamins.
6. Nutty Mix. For the base mixture I have tried accenting with a variety of nuts and seeds in my test kitchen. Raw soaked cashews are most common. But I tried walnuts, sunflower seeds and more. All produced good flavor. However, I do admit the raw cashew-infused chips were my favorite.
Note: They will shrink as they bake.
1 bunch of curly kale (or dinosaur kale)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c.. nutritional yeast
sprinkle of salt
sprinkle of pepper
Remove the kale from the stems and break into bite size pieces. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until the kale is evenly coated.Bake in a preheated oven at 200*F for 30-45 minutes. Every oven is different so check them often.
The chips should be crunchy, but not charred. Its a fine line, so watch closely!
Eat and enjoy!
I mentioned earlier how ridiculously healthy kale is.
Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables that I bet most people have a) never heard about or b) never eat.
One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, 1,020% of vitamin K and is reasonably rich in calcium. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Kale is a superstar in the arena of carotenoids and flavonoids, two powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Also, kale provides omega-3 fatty acids that helps regulate the body’s inflammatory process.
Not only do kale’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities work together to prevent and even combat cancer, a healthy diet of kale also provides glucosinolates, which have been shown to prevent colon, breast, bladder, prostate, ovarian cancers, as well as gastric cancer.
So, have I convinced you to eat your kale?