The first time I heard about Kale Chips I thought it was some kind of joke: a recipe concocted by The Onion magazine as something a hairy hippie might serve as an appetizer to go with a glass of patchouli-carrot juice.

Don’t get me wrong. I like kale as much as anyone. I’ve actually got at least two varieties growing in my backyard garden. We steam it, we stir fry it, we throw it into our soup pot. Its nutritional properties are formidable, its uses are manifold, but I had no idea.

Then my wife presented a bowl of dark green, crispy kale chips. In three minutes or less the entire bowl had been devoured, inhaled actually. (They’re pretty light.) Yep. That good. And it was a big bowl, too. No kidding. But it gets better because — guess what? —  the preparation could not be simpler.

Here’s how it’s done. You can make it more complicated if you want, but all you really need are two bundles of kale, a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a little salt. A dash of nutritional yeast helps too.

· Begin by separating out the fibrous spines of the kale, either by hand or with a knife, and set them aside for your compost.

· You’ll probably want to rinse your kale too, but just be careful to dry the leaves very thoroughly. If it goes into the oven wet, it will cook rather than dehydrate.

· Then cut the leaves into large bite-sized pieces. (Remember they will shrink down during the dehydration.)

· Now throw this heap of kale bits into a large mixing bowl, and add 2 tablespoons (1 Tbsp per kale bunch) of high quality olive oil. (I get mine from SLO Grown Produce.)

· Go ahead and add a couple pinches each of salt and nutritional yeast, and stir thoroughly. You might not think you’ve got enough oil, but once you’ve mixed the leaves, you’ll see that two tablespoons is really enough.

· Now spread the leaves evenly, don’t crowd them, on a couple of baking sheets. (see photo above) It’s probably going to cover about four baking sheets all together. Place them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 300º, and pull them out when they’re thoroughly dried — thin and crispy.

· That’s it… serve and enjoy!

One last thing, you might want to brush afterwards, before going into public, because those crispy flakes of kale have a tendency to stick all over your teeth.

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