Thursday, May 12, 2016

recipe experiment: kale chips

When kale became all the rage, I couldn't figure out what was so special about it.  I'm not a vegetable lover anyway, but I read how kale could be tough and somewhat bitter and  I thought, "Why would someone want to eat that??"  (But I think that about most vegetables...)  Then came kale chips and I thought the same thing:  "Kale in the form of chips? How could these possibly be good??"

Last month I took a ride to Trader Joe's and saw kale chips on the shelf.  I decided to buy a bag; my trainer mentioned that they're very low in calories and I could eat a ton of them if I wanted to.  Obviously, the thought of being able to eat a large quantity without adding a ton of calories appealed to me and I decided to by some. I believe it was $3.99 for a small bag, which was two servings. They were flavored with tahini and chili powder, and they were pretty good.  Not like potato chips, for sure. But I wish I'd known that they leave a ton of green flecks in your teeth.  I ate some in the car and lucky for me I had a bottle of water so I could rinse.

I then decided I wanted to try making them on my own.  I heard they're very easy to make.  I did the usual Google search, but it was obvious that all I really needed was to remove the stems and tough ribs of the kale, work in some olive oil, add whatever seasonings I wanted, and then bake them until crispy.  It looked super easy.

I walked into the grocery store thinking the kale would cost me five or six bucks a pound, or that they wouldn't have it.  Probably because it gets so much hype, and it's an item I tend to associate with Whole Foods, which is an expensive store for most things.  But no.  I strolled into the local store and found it right away.  And it wasn't sad-looking like some vegetables can sometimes be at the regular grocery store. was only .99 a pound!  I grabbed two bunches, which filled one of those plastic veggie bags, and it only cost me .63!  I didn't even have a full pound.

So, the process was super easy. The only snag I ran into was that I didn't have a big enough bowl to mix all the kale at once, so I divided it into two batches.  I added garlic powder, chili powder, and kosher salt. I baked them in two batches, since they have to be in a single layer on the cookie sheet. They were done in about 15 minutes or so.  The recipe I followed said 12 minutes, but I don't have a salad spinner to dry the kale, so it took a little longer.

Freshly washed, stems removed, and torn into pieces.

All seasoned and ready to go!

Before baking.

After baking.

Ready to eat!  Very crispy...and salty due to pilot error.

As you can see, I started out with a good amount of kale, and then it cooked down to about a large cereal bowl-full of chips.  It's like spinach in that way.

These tasted good; however, I over salted them.  If your recipe says 1/4 teaspoon of salt, believe it and follow it.  Don't just toss more in because you think 1/4 teaspoon won't be enough.  Once that salt is baked in, it isn't coming off so you're stuck with salty chips.

Here's the recipe, just in case you want to try them yourself.  You can really use any seasonings you want to use. Just keep in mind that they will be concentrated once baked, so don't go overboard.  Less is more in this case.

My recipe contains:  87 calories, 4g fat, 10g carbs, 5g protein, 3g sugar per serving.

Kale Chips
Makes 4 servings


1 pound kale, stems and tough ribs removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. Place kale in a large bowl, drizzle with oil and toss. Add chili power, garlic powder and salt and toss again. 
  3. Arrange kale on the prepared baking sheets in single layer.  Bake until crispy and the edges just begin to brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. 
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets. 
  5. Transfer to a bowl and eat!

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