Kale, kale, kale, kale… 2015 was the Year of Kale. What’s the big deal, anyway? Well, as it turns out, kale has a ton of stuff going for it. First off, kale is heartier than most greens, leaving you more satisfied, feeling like you’ve actually just eaten something of some substance, unlike, say, a bowl of iceberg lettuce. Secondly, it’s packed with nutritional greatness! Talk about super-food; kale has more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk, and over 600% of the R.D.A. of vitamin K. It’s a great source of fiber, anti-oxidants, and many other minerals most folks simply don’t get enough of. It even has alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), the omega-3 fatty acid that’s essential for brain health! One of the only downsides to kale is that it tends to be one of the “dirty” veggies (vegetables with the most pesticides), therefore it’s best to buy organic or grow your own. There are tons of ways to prepare kale in salads and soups, but one of the most popular and trendy ways is in chip form. Kale chips are super easy to make and are so customizable, you’re sure to find a flavor, or three, you love. I found them surprisingly addictive and quite satisfying.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 bunch kale (2-3 cups of torn leaves)
2-3 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
Optional flavorings are only limited to your taste and pantry. I’ve used parmesan cheese for this recipe, but try lemon pepper, cayenne, garlic, thyme, cumin, chili powder… I could go on and on.
Start by preheating the oven to 350. Then, you need to trim, wash, and most importantly, completely dry the kale. First, cut out the thick center stem and tear or cut the leaves into 2-3 inch pieces. Then give them a good rinse in cold water and shake them dry (or use a salad spinner if you have one). Lay the pieces out in a single layer on a soft tea-towel. Fold the towel over and gently pat and scrunch the leaves to get them as dry as possible.
Put the leaves in a large bowl and drizzle the oil over them. You want the leaves to be as evenly coated as you can get them, so massage the oil into them with your hands, being sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.
Next, sprinkle on the salt and pepper, as well as any other flavorings you’ve chosen (to your taste). Again, use your hands to massage the seasonings onto the leaves evenly.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or silicone mat, and lay the “chips” out flat, again in a single layer (you might need multiple pans, or to make two batches). Bake for 8-12 minutes, watching carefully because they’re easily burnt at the end. When they feel crispy and mostly dry, remove them from the oven and let them sit, continuing to bake a little, on the sheet for a couple minutes. Then, they’re ready to enjoy!