These kale chips are a total can’t-stop-eating-them snack. Fortunately, when you can’t stop eating tons of dark leafy greens, you’re probably OK.
Chips are my ultimate weakness. I find candy weird, I don’t like super-sweet things, and you can only eat so much dark chocolate before you overload. But that “betcha can’t eat just one” slogan resonates with me painfully when it comes to chips.
The kicker: my favourite chips of all time were always sour cream and onion, followed closely by anything that involved powdered cheese. So developing a dairy allergy and cutting out refined vegetable oils definitely put a dent in my ability to chow down on my go-to snack. Really, it was a good thing (reading that ingredient label always makes me cringe), but sometimes I really want some cheesy chips. Luckily, there’s nutritional yeast in the world—an inactive form of yeast that tastes cheesy and is full of B vitamins, protein and fibre.
The first few times I made kale chips, I was thoroughly disappointed. I was expecting crunchy, flavourful bites, but they would either end up burnt, slightly soggy, or both. After some trial and error, I uncovered a few secrets that got me to a very happy place.
Not only do you get a satisfying snack with these babies, but you can very easily get in a few servings of dark leafy greens. Given that you should be getting 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, most of them should be veggies, and a significant portion of those should be leafy greens, these kale chips are basically magical. Why? Dark leafy greens are truly nutrient powerhouses, with tons of vitamins and minerals, fibre, phytonutrients, and chlorophyll. Details here.
On that note, definitely eat your leafy greens in large quantities, but please try to buy them organic whenever possible. I don’t buy everything organic, as it can get expensive, but leaves are one food where I’m always diligent about doing so. They have a large surface area for pesticides to stick to and they can be difficult to wash off, since they’re delicate and there’s no peel to protect them.
This recipe can be altered by adding or changing any of the seasonings (beyond the oil and salt, which are pretty important). I encourage you to experiment with your own seasonings, but remember that the kale will shrink a lot in the oven, and whatever flavourings you sprinkle in will become twice as strong, so a pre-baking taste test won’t help much. Be extra-careful with things like salt and spicy seasoning.
Here are my top tips:
- Wash and dry your kale really well. If it’s wet, it will steam instead of baking. Thus, soggy kale chips—the worst.
- Keep the temperature low. You might be tempted to crank it for faster crisping, but you’ll end up with burnt-to-a-crisp chips, which isn’t exactly the kind of “seasoning” we’re going for.
- Tear the kale into large pieces. It really shrinks down, so if you rip them too small, you end up with crumbs.
- Spread out the kale on the baking sheet in a single layer. If they are piled up, they won’t dry out and get crispy.
- Don’t make them when you are home alone if you are planning to share them. I did that today. They are almost gone. I’m still home alone.
Vegan cheesy garlic kale chips
- 1 bunch organic curly kale
- 1½ Tb extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 Tb nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp granulated garlic
- Pinch cayenne optional
- Preheat oven to 300°F and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. If you only have one baking sheet, just do two batches. They need to cool anyway.
- Remove the kale from the stems. You can do this by grabbing the stem and pushing away with the other hand on the leaves. Then, rip into large pieces.
- Wash and dry very well with a salad spinner.
- In a large wide bowl, drizzle the olive oil over the kale pieces and massage until the leaves are thoroughly coated in a thin layer of oil.
- Sprinkle in the salt, nutritional yeast, and granulated garlic. I recommend adding half the seasoning, tossing it with your hands, adding the rest, and tossing again. This ensures it gets spread evenly instead of clumping.
- Add the cayenne afterwards and toss gently with a spoon (or just by shaking the bowl). I do this last so I don’t have the rub my hands in the cayenne and avoid the inevitable hot-pepper-in-the-eye debacle.
- Spread out the kale onto the prepared baking sheets in a single layer.
- Bake 12 minutes. Turn the baking sheet around (no need to flip anything) and let it bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the kale is thoroughly crisped and there are no soggy bits.
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