Saturday, June 15, 2013

**New & Improved** Kale Chips

The past few years, our garden has seen quite the overabundance of kale. So much so, that I have become quite creative in what I do with this power green. Personally, I love to munch on it raw (and oddly enough, so does the two-year-old of the house!) But I have also dabbled in making kale chips. Very simply, I would rip the kale into bite size pieces, put them on a baking sheet, spray with olive oil and season as desired (usually with garlic powder and a pinch of salt). Fairly strong in kale flavor, and rather fragile -- these chips were pretty decent, and they were well-received by family and friends. 

However, a few months ago, I decided to give the kale chips from the health food store a try. I was expecting to taste something similar to what I have been making out of my own kitchen. Boy, was I in for a surprise! They were thick and crunchy, and so full of flavor and zing. They were completely dairy free and raw to boot. Better than any potato chip I had ever tasted. 

I have been hooked ever since. But staying in line with my Zero Processed Food Diet (and to save some moola -- these chips are $7.00 for a single serve bag!), I decided it was time to learn how to make this tastier version myself. Here's what I have figured out: kale, upon baking or dehydrating, will disintegrate to almost nothing. It will dry out to the fragile state to which I had been so accustomed. To counteract this, it must be coated in something that will hold it's body, even after the kale has been dried. Many recipes will call for a nut-based paste in which the kale is dredged, and then dehydrated (or cooked way way low in the oven) for several hours. This is a time consuming process, but it really is worth it in the end. I have experimented with a lower fat, lower calorie version, replacing half of the nuts with garbanzo beans and reducing the amount of olive oil. But below is the original recipe that I had arrived at through all my research:

Kale Chips

(makes enough for about half a bunch of kale)

3/4 cup soaked cashews (soak for at least 1 hour)
1/2 red bell pepper
2 cloves carlic
2 tablespoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 lemon, juice of

- Use a dehydrator or use your oven at the lowest temperature 
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
- Tear kale off stems into bite size pieces (don't use stems)
- Blend all the "Paste" ingredients in blender until very smooth
- Dredge kale pieces in mixture until fully covered 
(the paste consistency should be loose enough to just be able to run off a spoon. if it's too thick thin with Bragg's or lemon juice)
- Bake or dehydrate until crisp and completely dried out
the dehydrator will take at least over night, my oven at 200 takes approx. 3 hours

Mama's helper, tearing the kale into pieces

The finished paste

Coated kale ready for the oven!

Finished product!