Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kale Chips Redux

Lacinato kale chips baked to perfection.
The other day at the Northwest Food Hub, a new vendor stood proudly next to his baskets of organic kale chips.  Well, who can resist a kale chip?  One taste, and my mom and I experienced eyebrow-raising awareness that something about these kale chips was different.

I purchased a bag of the chips, and indeed, a perusal of the label showed that this creative chef, of Amerawcan Bistro, had used these ingredients:"Organic kale, organic yellow miso, organic garlic powder, organic onion powder, nutritional yeast."  Most notable was a missing ingredient:  oil.

One problem with kale chips I've made has been the greasy film they leave on one's fingers.  And oil oxidizes pretty quickly, leading to rancidity.  I thought oil was crucial to keep the seasonings on the chips.  But these new chips were liberally coated with seasonings that appeared to adhere just fine.  Closer inspection showed that the seasonings adhered in a somewhat droplet-like fashion, so I decided the seasonings were applied to wet kale leaves, and the moisture evaporated during baking but left the seasonings securely fastened to the kale. 

All these conclusions and prognostications proved correct.  So herewith a new and improved kale chip recipe.  As a general rule, I eschew soy in all its forms, and thus did not use miso; instead, I added some salt.

The only remaining problem with kale chips is their tendency to leave diminuitive pieces of kale in one's teeth, which can be a problem at social gatherings.  Does this mean kale chips should only be eaten when one is alone?  No!  Eat them with other kale chip afficianadoes, and all will be well.


2 bunches lacinato kale or curly kale

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (from the health food store)
1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder

Mix the seasonings thoroughly in an empty spice bottle with shaker holes. 

Hold the kale firmly in its bunch form and slash off the bottom few inches of stem ... to just below where the leaves start.  Cut the thick stems from the center of each leaf.  With lacinato kale, this will give you long, thin chips.  With curly kale, your chips will be stubbier.

Rinse the trimmed kale pieces thoughly, with at least two changes of water.  Do not dry the kale leaves.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place wet kale leaves in a single layer (they can be very close together, but not overlapping) on two Silpat-lined baking sheets.  Sprinkle seasonings liberally over the kale.  You don't have to use all the seasonings, but the more you use, the tastier the chips will be.  Don't worry about puddles of water/seasonings on the kale.  It will dry in the oven.

Place baking sheets on two racks placed as near the middle of the oven as possible.  Bake for 15 minutes, then switch pan positions and bake 15 minutes more.  When most of the kale pieces are crispy (some may still be a tiny bit damp), turn oven off and let the pans sit in the oven for a while until all the chips are crispy.

Lacinato kale will take less time to bake and crisp than curly kale.


  1. nice detective work! okay, i'm going to try this technique sans oil next time...hate that greasy film! :/

  2. Now, if we could just solve the green teeth problem ...

  3. I make mine pretty much the same way; rinse, salt, and bake in my convection oven on silpat. I have some seasoning called Arizona Dreaming by Penzeys that is fab. If I use any oil, it's just a light spray using my Misto filled with olive oil. It just gives a very light mist. Usually forego that.

  4. I have heard about Arizona Dreaming on Nom Nom Paleo. The possibilities for flavors on these chips are endless. I just read on The Domestic Man that you can make lettuce chips, too!