I am not vegan, but I love earthy, healthy food and exotic ingredients and flavors, so vegan food is right up my alley. One of my favorite places to eat is the Garden Grill in Pawtucket. I've never had anything there I didn't love. During my last visit, it wasn't my meal... but instead what they gave me as sample while i waited for my meal that stuck with me.
Kale chips. Salty, crunchy and potato-chippy. Leave it to a vegan restaurant to come up with a clever way to turn kale into snack food. I figured they were dehydrated, or deep fried and never thought to make it at home. I love kale, so I'll eat it simply braised, or tossed in soup. My 3 year old will eat a few pieces raw, but not cooked. I bet he'd love these!
Since then, I've heard several discussions about people making kale chips at home. I looked up a couple of recipes online and learned it was just kale tossed in oil and salt and baked. Thats it. No dehydration, and no deep frying. YES! I can make these I thought! And so, today, I did.
First step is removing the tough stem from the leaves. I just cut the leaves off the stem with kitchen shears. The stems are a little tough and bitter. Make sure the leaves are completely dry or the moisture will prevent them from crisping up.
Next, toss them with oil and seasoning. I used walnut oil because I like the nutty flavor and its super healthy, but you can also olive oil. I used sea salt but I think next time I am going to experiment with chili powder, wasabi powder or garlic powder.
Then spread them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. I used convection, so I did mine at 325. You want them dry and crisp...a tiny bit brown, but if you overdo it, they'll turn bitter. I pulled them out before I could detect any real color. Here they are before:
They are incredibly crispy, airy and delicate. To me, they taste VERY much like potato chips. If you aren't a greens person, don't freak. They don't taste much like kale...its mostly a toasted, salty flavor that comes through. Don't think your kid will eat them??? Give it a try--I think you'd be surprised. Elijah couldn't get enough of them. This is the real test of success:
These took about 10 minutes to make, and the whole head of organic kale cost me $1.55 at Wholefoods, so they are not only easy, but nutritious and inexpensive.
This has me thinking....maybe I'll grow Kale in the garden this year!!!