I've been seeing recipes for Crispy Kale, or Kale Chips, all over the internet, and in several of my cookbooks. I thought they might be a good substitute for my favorite vegan junk food, those wonderful-awful sea salt and black pepper potato chips. I call them "crack chips." Needless to say, I try to stay away from them.
Yesterday the stars aligned, I had a fridge fill of kale, a little bit of time on my hands, and cookbook that practically opened itself to the Crispy Kale page while I was looking for something else. I really prefer to eat most of my vegetables raw, but these make a great snack, and might be a good way to get something green into some of your picky eaters. This recipe comes from The 30 Minute Vegan, by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray, on page 86. I changed it only a little bit, to make it easier to mix the seasonings in with the kale.
Crispy Kale Snacks
one bunch curly kale
1 or 2 large baking pans
oven - preheat to 350º
large mixing bowl
Start with a nice big bunch of washed and dried curly kale. My trick for drying greens after a good soak in the sink is to place them in a small mesh laundry bag, and go outside and spin them around and around, about ten swings with each arm. It works like a giant salad spinner, but takes up zero storage space, and also loosens up my shoulders nicely. I just hang the empty bag on a hook on the side of the fridge to dry. We came up with this when we had the pizza shop in Seattle. We'd have pounds of fresh basil to dry at a time, and kept breaking regular salad spinners. The bag worked great, and we entertained passersby with our arm swinging and water flinging in the parking lot.
Back to the Crispy Kale. Preheat the oven to 350º. Tear the cleaned kale off the stems, into smallish pieces (think large potato chips, because they shrink a lot), and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. You can pack it pretty tight, but will probably need two baking sheets. The first time through, I recommend doing two batches, so you can get the timing right. I cooked my first batch for 15 minutes, and it was overdone. 14 minutes the second time through was perfect.
Slide the pan into the oven, and bake for 12-15 minutes. The kale should be lightly crispy, like perfect fall leaves on the sidewalk, but not too dry or they just turn to dust when you touch them. You want them crispy and green, not grey.
|These are a bit overdone.|
Now place the kale in a large mixing bowl and gently toss with your hands, to mix in the seasonings. That's it. Start snacking. These are tastier than you might think, and while they're not "crack chips," they're certainly better for us than greasy potato chips. I ate a whole bowl full while I decided if I liked them. I guess I do!