Kale and Swiss chard have been the most exuberant and productive growers in our garden this year, so I’ve had to get creative with how I serve them. Green smoothies and green juice are a great way to imbibe mass quantities of greens. Our latest favorite is to throw a couple bunches of grapes (stems and all) from our back fence, three or four peaches from our tree, and two LARGE fistfuls of kale into the blender with some water and blend it all up! It’s bright green and so refreshing. But when I want to celebrate the flavor and character of the kale itself, I do something even simpler. Kale chips are our go-to side dish for most any dinner. They’re easy, tasty and WAY more nutritious than regular chips!
Below is the basic recipe, your starting point. But from there you can go crazy! We like Italian seasonings and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on ours. I’m thinking about mixing in some nutritional yeast with the salt before sprinkling it on (about a 1:2 ratio of yeast to salt). We love nutritional yeast on popcorn, and I’m guessing it would be tasty on kale chips too. I bet you could even crinkle up kale chips and mix them with popcorn! Yum! Any savory spice blend would probably be delicious: taco seasoning, mesquite blend, lemon pepper… Have you tried them yet? Here are a few tips below the recipe, to make sure they come out just right.
- 1 head kale washed and thoroughly dried
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
- Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.
- Gather a TON! Trust me, greens always cook up to be less than you think. With kale chips, it’s less dramatic than steaming greens, but still, you’ll want more. And they disappear fast!
- Strip the leaves from the ribs (the stem that extends all the way up) and don’t leave ANY rib! Basically anything thicker than the thin leafy part isn’t going to cook up and be crunchy, so make sure you get it all out. No one likes soggy chips.
- Pat them dry, and even let them air dry a bit. You don’t want any excess water in there making it so they don’t crisp up.
- Mix the oil in with your hands. You don’t need a lot of oil, but you have a lot of surface area to cover. I find that the best way is to just drizzle the oil on, then get in there with my hands and mix it all around until they’re all shiny and covered with olive oil. You can sprinkle the salt and spices on and toss it with a spoon though, otherwise the spices tend to stick to your hands, and that’s not where you want them.
- Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT overcook the kale chips! This is very easy to do because they stay nice and green and look like they’re not cooked. But what you don’t want is to start seeing the edge of the chips turn brown. This lends sort of a bitter taste to them. If you think they’re almost done, take one out and taste it. It should be light and crispy. Sometimes I take the tray out, remove all the crispy ones and put a few back in that need a little more time.
Photo Credit: La Kitchenette (they have a yummy sesame kale chip recipe too!)