Aren’t snack foods made from good-for-you ingredients the best? Like kale chips!
The first time I tried kale chips, it was love at first bite. Savory, salty, crunchy…yum! But the thing I wasn’t in love with was the price tag, especially for frequent snacking (keep in mind we have four hungry children to feed, three of which are boys).
So I turned to my own kitchen to try and re-create the ideal snacking experience.
Here are few things I’ve learned along the way:
- The key to a good kale chip is the seasoning. Since kale is strongly flavored itself, if you’re too light with the seasonings, you have a chip that tastes just like dried kale. Not to exciting.
- It’s also essential to get the moisture balance right. Too little and it’s hard to coat the kale, too much and they’re on the soggy side and take forever to dry out.
- Ideally, kale chips are best made with a food dehydrator. But if you lack one of those, as I do, setting your oven at it’s lowest setting – usually about 200 degrees F – is an excellent runner up.
- Unless you plan on eating your kale chips on the spot, you’ll want to be sure all the kale is completely dried out before storing them in an airtight container. Just a little bit of moisture and the chips loose their crispiness and become chewy. If this happens to you – and it has to me many times – trying popping them back in a 200 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes to dry them out again.
Pack these in ziplock bags if you’re traveling. Not only do they add zero weight to your luggage, but it can help you get your superfood fix if you’re not sure what snacking options you’ll have access to on the road. I brought these on a road trip with me this summer and will probably plan to do the same when I head to the Dominican Republic in February on a mission trip.
Last thing…if you’re new to vegan “cheese,” be prepared that it will not taste like the cheese you’ve been used to…if you go in expecting that, you’ll be disappointed every time. Or you’ll need to buy manufactured vegan cheeses. I’ve learned that the idea is try an approximate the flavors and textures of familiar foods and appreciate the plant-based version for what it is…healthier, lighter and fuel your body can use.
Savory, salty, crunchy, snack-y, yummy! That about sums up these cheesy kale chips that can be made in your oven or with a food dehydrator.
- 1/2 large bunch kale
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp salt
- dashes freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F
Prepare kale by rinsing, patting completely dry then removing the stems. Chop into large pieces that are approximately 2" square. Add to a large mixing bowl.
In a food processor or blender, add remaining ingredients except the water and blend until the cashews are very finely chopped - almost powdery. Add just enough water to create a thick paste (too much water = soggy chips). Massage the mixture into the kale until all the leaves are completely covered.
Spread the kale in a single layer on a large baking sheet. For best results, make sure each kale leaf is spread out. Sprinkle on additional seasonings to taste.
Put into the oven for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan. Bake for another 15 minutes and remove any completely dried chips. Place remaining chips back in the over for another 10 minutes or until all the chips are completely dried.
While the chips are best enjoyed immediately for ultimate crispiness, they can be stored in an airtight jar after cooling completely. If they're too soft and you have to have them crispy, pop them in a 200 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes.
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- Click here for my favorite food processor
- I found Trader Joe’s has the best price for cashews.
- Nutritional yeast can be found in most health food stores or here. I get mine from the bulk section at Whole Foods.