KALE CHIPS

With the deadly back-to-back combo of Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, Presidents’ Day, & Mardi Gras, you might have overdone it the last few days.  Fear not—I have vegetables for you.  Vegetables you’ll actually WANT to eat.

The season of Lent begins in earnest at the exact moment Mardi Gras (known to the church-going as Shrove Tuesday) ends.  While an abstemious season might not sound so appealing, the Episcopalian schoolgirl in me appreciates the opportunity to reflect and scale back.  Blame it on the way I was raised, but I actually look forward to giving something up for Lent.

In the past, I’ve done without chocolate, meat, desserts, Diet Coke, and gossip.  This year, I’m saying goodbye to alcohol for forty days—so long, margaritas, au revoir glasses of red wine, bye-bye beer.

What I appreciate about this discipline is that it forces some thoughtfulness into my daily life.  During Lent, I have to work around the commitment I’ve made; I have to remind myself why I made the commitment in the first place.

For the past few months, Jill and I have been consciously working to integrate many more servings of vegetables into our regular diet.  Seriously, when you look at the recommended amount of green (or purple) things one is supposed to eat in any given day, it’s kind of shocking.  Shocking how rarely I meet those guidelines, that is.


Until kale chips came into my life.  You’ve probably read about or at least seen these guys dancing around lots of blogs in the last few months, and I had, too, but somehow it took my stubborn self entirely too long to try them.  I pray you won’t make the same mistake.

These damn things are so good they even passed the muster of my “fry everything!” Louisiana-in-laws.  In the words of my friend John, “You just can’t understand how KALE could taste this good.”  It’s true.  These chips are now a regular in my kitchen, and whether I’m serving them to company or just for me and Jill, they disappear quickly.  I know you won’t believe me until you try it yourself, but you can get the crunch & salt factor of potato chips without having to fry anything and with the satisfaction of, well, eating a vegetable.

Whether you’re giving up an indulgence for Lent, or are just tired of salad, I urge you to give these pretty kale chips a whirl.  Just don’t blame me if they leave you dumbfounded.

KALE CHIPS

This basic recipe calls only for salt, but you’re certainly welcome to add other seasonings—garlic powder, Creole seasoning, pepper—but they lack nothing as-is.

Prepping the kale takes a little work, but once you’ve done that, the chips are incredibly simple to make.  If your grocery store sells pre-washed & bagged kale, feel free to cheat!  I usually prep two bunches at once, storing the washed and dried leaves from one bunch in a Ziploc bag for future use.

ingredients:

1-2 bunches kale*
olive oil
salt

oven: 400˚
pan: baking sheets

Cut or tear the kale leaf off of the middle rib, then cut or tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.  Rinse the kale thoroughly in a sink full of cold water, then transfer into a colander to drain.

If you have a salad spinner, employ it here.  If not, proceed straight to towel-stacking, which goes something like this:

On a clean kitchen counter, spread out a very absorbent kitchen towel.  Line it with some paper towels.  Top the paper towels with a few handfuls of kale leaves, distributed evenly into one layer.  Place more paper towels on top of the kale, then another kitchen towel on top of all that.  Repeat.  Stack until the kale’s all hidden away, then press down lightly on the towel stack.  Let the kale sit for 5-10 minutes.

[My method may seem extreme, and yes, it’s a little time-consuming, but having very dry kale leaves makes a big difference when it comes to getting your chips crunchy.  Patience, grasshopper.]

Unwrap the kale and shake it into a big bowl (unless you’re reserving some of it for future use).  Drizzle a few tablespoons of oil over the kale, then toss to coat.  You don’t want to drown it, just barely cover each piece.

Spread the kale out onto two baking sheets—if you’re cooking two bunches at once, you’ll need to work in batches.  Salt the kale just before you slide it into the oven.

Bake for10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the kale pieces have become crinkly and any remaining moisture has left the leaves.  Serve warm.

Due to the inconsistency of ovens, please watch your kale closely!  You might want to try the chips first on lower heat, to prevent burning.

*I’ve used both flat (Tuscan) and curly kale, but prefer the latter.

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15 responses to “KALE CHIPS

  1. So exciting! I LOVE kale. And thanks for answering my question! :)

    Another question, though: do you observe the Western Catholic tradition of breaking the Lenten fast every Sunday?

  2. This stuff is so CRAZY good – I can’t believe it. I never would have dreamed kale could be this good, so good that it rivals POTATO CHIPS!!!

  3. i made kale chips as part of our superbowl party spread. people were dubious at first, but then they couldn’t get enough! i need to try the purple kind…

  4. That pink kale sure does look like you pulled it from the bottom of the sea. How gorgeous is that color — wow! I’ve been hearing so much buzz about kale chips. I definitely have to try making them.

  5. I just made kale chips for the first time this weekend. They are delicious! I’m jealous though – my farmers market didn’t have PURPLE kale! Looks beautiful!

  6. I usually julienne my kale and saute it in olive oil and garlic until is very wilted.
    Never thought of making it this way. Will be sure to try. Do you use sea salt or regular one? I assume it is baked in a single layer right?

    By the way, have you tried potato chips in the microwave? Slice potato very thin, spritz with olive oil and salt, put in the microwave on parchment paper on single layer. Cook it a minute or 2 at a time until it starts to brown. It is great! I have made it with sweet potatoes too.

  7. This looks fabulous! I will be sure to try it.

    • Lauren (the first)–I haven’t in the past–often I find it easier to just give up the stuff “cold turkey.” but I might consider it this year :)

      Lauren (the second)–ooh, what a good idea to put these out for the Super Bowl! It’s hard not to down handfuls of crunchy things while watching televised sports, but at least these are a much healthier choice.

      Carolyn–nice to “meet” you & thanks for visiting. I hope you will try kale chips–they do live up to the hype!

      Arugulove–thanks for stopping by & taking the time to comment. I found the purple kale and just had to buy it, too pretty not to.

      Annie–I love kale prepared the way you described. I also like it Asian-style with sesame oil & ginger. For this recipe, I have used both sea salt and table salt, but I prefer the texture of sea salt if you have it on hand. And yes, you want to make sure that the leaves are in a single layer so they don’t crowd each other.

      As for your microwave potato chip idea, that sounds dangerous! But I will certainly give it a try, especially with sweet potatoes–I love SP fries.

      Jen–Hi and I hope that you will try them & enjoy them. They’ve quickly become a favorite in my house (as Jill’s comment attests).

  8. I’ve actually been making this too. It happened sort of by accident… I had some sliced calabasa squash and chinese eggplant tossed in olive oil, s+p, that I was baking, and 10 minutes before time I just drizzled some purple kale with olive oil and dusted it with salt and was a big fan of the crunchy texture and savory taste.

  9. I’ve just done my weekly shopping, but will definitely add kale to my list next week. Can’t wait to try them!

  10. I’ve tried making these, and they turned out so bitter and gross! I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. wrong kind of kale? Someone suggested blanching the kale to take away the bitterness too. Please help, I’m dying to make these ‘chips’ :)

  11. dinnerwithjulie

    SO true! Kale chips have changed my life! I ate an entire bunch, turned into chips, for lunch yesterday all by myself. It’s my new favourite way to get my greens! like your method of drying them first!

  12. Count me in the “meaning to try this forever” club. I think this is the kick I need off the procrastination shelf. Thanks!

  13. Hi I just wanted to leave a comment to say that I enjoy your blog.

    Looking at the number of comments, I see others feel the same way! Congratulations on a very popular site.

  14. Pingback: What is this food???

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