So today I tried my hand at being a smug vegan* and made kale chips. I have some friends who sing the praises of kale chips, so I wanted to see what the fuss was about. They’re pretty inexpensive (especially if you omit the nutritional yeast) to make, and they’re very delicious — and quite healthy! I wouldn’t say they’re exactly Lays with ranch dip, but they’re pretty darn good. They are a bit time-consuming to make, so make sure you give yourself an hour or so to make them the first time, that way you can fiddle around with your baking time and ingredient amounts.
This recipe is from the Vegan Junk Food cookbook, but I didn’t exactly follow it… my cooking style is typically of the “add shit until it tastes good” variety. I don’t like coloring inside the lines, okay? DON’T STIFLE MY CREATIVITY. Even if it leads to really bad roasted potatoes. But I digress…
What You’ll Need:
- A bunch of kale (I got a bunch from Walmart for $.98 USD)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste… this amount will definitely be biting to those who are sensitive to spice)
How To Do It:
- Preheat your oven to 350°. Break the kale into pieces. Don’t make them too small, because they do shrink up when baking. Put them in a colander and rinse with cool water (unless you don’t mind a bit of dirt).
- Put kale in a bowl, then drizzle the olive oil over it. If you don’t have a bowl big enough to hold all the kale, do half and only use a tablespoon of oil. Admittedly, I didn’t even measure the oil, just kind of drizzled it in there. Toss the kale in the oil with your hands. You can use less oil if you take the time to “massage” the oil into the leaves, rather than trying to coat them. I find massaging the leaves makes better chips than those drenched with oil.
- Sprinkle in the salt and cayenne pepper and toss again, making sure all the leaves are coated. This is really to taste. I like salt, a lot. So I sprinkle in. A lot. You can experiment with your amount of salt and cayenne by making small batches of chips with different amounts.
- Dump in the nutritional yeast (fondly referred to as “nooch”). Toss again until leaves are coated. I add more than called for because this shit is delicious. Nutritional yeast can be found at your local health food store or fancy-pants grocer. You can also buy it online if you can’t find it locally, or in bulk for a pretty good price. It really adds a lovely cheesy sort of flavor, but you can certainly omit it if it’s out of your price range. For a cheaper — but not vegan — alternative, try grated parmesan.
- Lay your kale out on a cookie sheet. You can put the pieces pretty close together, because they do shrink up a good bit when baking, but don’t layer them, or else they won’t crisp up.
- This is the tricky part: the baking. The recipe says to bake them on one side for 10 minutes, flip, and then bake for another 10 minutes. I found that this resulted in very, very burnt and quite un-tasty kale chips. I found 7 minutes on each side works best for me, but your mileage may vary, based on how hot your oven is, the material of your cookie sheet, etc.
And voila! You have kale chips! I apologize for not having a step-by-step picture tutorial, but I didn’t think to blog about it until after I was happily munching along on my kale chips. Maybe next time I make them I’ll update the entry.
*I do not believe all vegans are smug. Just the ones who think lentils and kale is all we need to save the poor.
This amount is for the entire batch of kale chips. I’d say they make 4-6 servings, though. Also, this is estimating about 5 cups (volume) of torn kale. You can get more accurate nutritional information for your batch by weighing your kale first, then entering the recipe into a nutritional calculator (I like SparkPeople’s).
Total Fat: 33.2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 2,496 mg
Total Carbs: 66.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 29.1 g
Protein: 45.9 g