Crispy Kale Chips

Ok, I’ll admit. This is a weird one even for me. But it is good, really really good. It has no right to be so good considering how incredibly healthy it is for you. I promise, the picture is misleading. The chips are very crispy and aren’t at all limp or wet.

Those of you who know me know I try to eat healthy. But a health nut I am not. I grew up eating pan fried hot dogs, crappy pizza, hamburger helper, Mc Donalds, etc. My poor mother, who grew up on a healthy Asian diet, was probably pulling her hair out trying to get me to eat healthier. Unfortunately, I was a daddy’s girl so if Papa didn’t eat it, I didn’t either. I wouldn’t even touch a green onion let alone a piece of kale.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve watched multiple family members pass away at very young ages due to obesity related problems. My father’s family is from the Midwest and our diet certainly reflected that heritage. I decided to turn things around about a year after my father died. Now, with knee, ankle and hip problems due to an injury, intense exercise and cardio has become almost a thing of the past for me. Because of this, it has become even more important to find ways to incorporate healthy alternatives to my meat and potatoes cravings.

I tried this recipe on a whim and I’m glad I did. This would have turned even the 8 year old me on to veggies. For those of you fortunate enough to have a food dehydrator packed into the back of a closet somewhere, pull it out and give this a try.

A note about nutritional yeast. It is a form of yeast that has been deactivated, which means it is no longer alive and doesn’t have to be cooked before consumed. It is not a good idea to eat large amounts of baking yeast raw as it can disrupt the balance of microorganisms in your intestines, especially if you are immune compromised, very young, or very old. You don’t have to worry about this with nutritional yeast, it is dead, and all you get is the proteins and nutrients in an easy to digest form.

Nutritional yeast is big with vegans and vegetarians. It adds an umami flavor to things. I’ve been told it goes great in vegetarian gravies, in stews, over popcorn, in vegan mac and cheese, etc. It is packed with protein, and gram for gram has more protein than meat. It is full of vitamins and minerals and is usually fortified with B vitamins. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan. I’m not sure if I’d like it as a cheese substitute, but it works in this recipe to give the crispy veggie chips a wonderful savory flavor. If you dehydrate the chips correctly, they come out very crispy. I can actually see myself reaching for these over potato chips, and that says a lot; kettle chips are my Kriptonite.

Ingredients:
-1 bunch of curly kale – centers removed and then cut into chip sized pieces
-juice of 1 lemon
-2 Tbs olive oil
-1/2 tsp salt
-3 Tbs nutritional yeast

Directions:

1) Wash the kale in a very large bowl or pot filled with clean cold water. Spin it out thoroughly, use a salad spinner if you have it. If you don’t have a spinner, you might need to use a clean towel to pat the leaves dry.

2) Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl. Place the kale into a very large mixing bowl (you may have to work in batches if your bowls are too small). Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the kale and mix by hand. You will want to rub the kale to get the mix covering all leaves. When the kale is close to covered in the oil mixture, sprinkle the nutritional yeast over and complete the mixing until everything is evenly coated.

3) Place the leaves carefully into the food dehydrator, making sure to lay them out as flat as possible. Make sure to not overlap the leaves as this will increase the time you’ll need to dehydrate them. Every hour or two, move the trays around to get the chips evenly dehydrated. Drying time will vary based on your dehydrator. The original recipe says you’ll be done in 2 hours. I have an old dehydrator, it is taking closer to 5 hours on my old beast. My dehydrator has 7 trays, I found that the whole batch fit comfortably into my dehydrator.

3) Enjoy!

Here is a picture of the leaves after they have shrunk down on the tray. See if you can find the spot where there’s a chip missing. I wonder where that one went? hehe 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Crispy Kale Chips

    • I’ve never tried it in a regular oven. I know you don’t need to heavily cook or roast it. I’d start by trying it in an oven set at around 150 and let it cook for about 10-12 hours. Of course, since I’m only guesstimating, check it after about 5 or so just to make sure you’re not burning it. Burnt food is bad. When they’re done correctly they’ll be dried and crispy but not taste “cooked”.

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