So, this is the conversation that went down in the kitchen when I pulled these out of the oven:
husband: What the hell are those?
me: Kale chips. They’re good – cheese flavored.
husband: (takes one and eats it) Whoa. Those are good. Weird.
me: Told you so. (and we proceeded to eat the entire pan while we watched t.v.)
I can certainly appreciate his skepticism. I’ve seen these at the store, but never bought them because I thought they looked weird. Plus, I wonder how they can keep the kale crunchy and fresh. Nonetheless, when I saw a Wholefoods recipe that called for a yummy, nutritious paste that would create a cheese flavor I thought, what the heck? Let’s try it.
And I’m glad I did. These taste amazing, especially hot out of the oven. They are crispy and very, very flavorful. Plus, because the “chip” is actually a kale leaf, they are filling but feel light on the tummy, as opposed to a cracker or actual potato chip. You might even get your kids to partake, if they can get over the leafy look. I certainly would have never expected my meat and potato man to be snacking on kale chips. 🙂
Recipe notes: You can use any variety of kale – I used a purple curly kale, although it lost most of its color in the oven. Look for big, hearty leafs with few holes or blemishes. You can store in an airtight container on the counter for a few days. But … I found my chips definitely started to lose their “crunch” after the first day. I’d suggest baking them when you want to eat them because they are amazing fresh out of the oven!
Also, you may have to visit a Wholefoods, or other local health food store, where you can find bulk ingredients like raw cashews and nutritional yeast. They are sometimes difficult to find at a normal grocer. Roasted red peppers you can usually find in glass jars near the pickle section in your grocer.
If you don’t want the “cheezy” paste, you can always follow the basic recipe and season with olive oil and S/P instead. But, oh, the coating is so yummy!
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 bunches kale, washed, stems removed, and torn into large pieces
- 1/3 cup unsweetened soy, almond, or rice milk (or water) (I used almond)
- 1 cup chopped roasted red peppers
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp. onion granules
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Dash of salt
Soak cashews in enough water to cover for a couple of hours. Drain.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
In a blender or food processor, combine cashews, milk, peppers, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion, lemon juice, and salt. Process until a smooth paste forms. Pour into a large bowl.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Take your kale pieces and dip into the bowl with the cashew coating, lightly coating each piece. It doesn’t have to be perfect – just get a nice, clumpy coating. Spread the coated kale pieces out on the parchment lined sheets in a single layer. Take care not to touch or stack the pieces, so they all dry and bake evenly.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until crispy, gently turning each piece over halfway through cooking. Remove from sheets and repeat with remaining kale leaves if necessary. I was able to fit all of my kale chips on 2 large baking sheets, but depending on how big your bunches of kale are, you may need to bake two batches.
Serves: 8 (for snacking)
Recipe source: Wholefoods Market
Time: ~ 1 hour (plus, more for additional batches)