Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baked Kale "Chips"

I've heard a lot about kale "chips" lately. It seems to be one of the trendy new health foods to be eating these days. I'll admit my interest was piqued when I heard that this was a healthy, tasty alternative to potato chips. I am a savory snacker. I prefer a crunchy, salty snack to a sweet one anyday. But I was never moved to go out and buy kale and try this recipe.

Then Fresh Picks delivered kale to me TWO weeks in a row. I had two large bags of it in my frige and no thought as to how I would incorporate it into meals. I figured I would finally give these "chips" a go . . . and if they sucked, the remaining kale would become compost. (I hate how wasteful that sounds, but I'd rather compost it than let it rot in my produce drawer.)

So I googled a bunch of recipes and they all pretty much said the same thing: tear into small pieces, toss with olive oil and seasonings and bake at a low temp. And that's what I did. So how did they turn out? Well, they smelled awesome when they were cooking, which is always a plus. They were a savory treat with some texture to them. It's a tasty way to eat kale and incorporate more greens into your diet. But as far as a substitute for chips? No way! As the kale bakes, it gets papery thin. There is no satisfying CRUNCH when you bite into them, and for me, that's why I love chips so much. (Hence the quotation marks around chips in this post.)

Here's the bottom line: I'll definitely make these again with the kale I have in my frige. And if FP sends me more kale, I'll keep making these. But I wouldn't go out and buy kale just to make these again. Hope that helps!

Baked Kale "Chips"

4 cups kale leaves
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

1. Using a small paring knife, cut the "ribs" out of the kale leaves.  Basically, you don't want the big stem running down the middle--you just want the leafy part.

2. Rinse leaves and allow to dry, using a salad spinner, collander or just lay them out on paper towels.

3. Toss all the leaves into a large plastic baggie with the olive oil. Shake to coat the leaves, then kind of "massage" the oil into the leaves.

4. Dump the leaves out onto a baking sheet, making sure they are in a single layer--they won't crisp up right if they are stacked. You can bunch them in tight, just keep them single layer.

5. Sprinkle with the spices and seasonings.

Note: As for baking temps and times, the recipes I found varied quite a bit. Here's what I did (with good results):

6. Bake at 275* for 20 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, stir and flip the "chips" and bake for 10 more minutes.  At the end of 20 minutes, stir and flip one more time, then turn off the oven and leave the "chips" in there for 5 more minutes.

Makes 3-4 servings; Enjoy!

Note: I have a pasta spoon  which worked really well in stirring and flipping the hot chips.

What I really like about this recipe is that there is room for variation. I saw a lot of combinations of seasonings online that produce different flavors of chips. Since we have 2-3 meals worth of kale left, I'm looking forward to trying different flavors of "chips."

Bon Appetit!
The Food Whore

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