Basic Baked Kale Chips

lacinato kaleOne of the trendiest and most popular things to do with kale is to transform it into crispy chips for snacking. Though I’m more partial to raw kale salad, kale chips enthusiasts report that once these are out of the oven, they’re instantly devoured by snackers of all ages.

Recipes are all over the place as far as oven temperature. Some are as low as 250º F., while others go for the quick-bake, temperature
of 400º F. Most fall in the middle, between 300º F. and 350º F. I experimented with this quite a bit and found the midrange to work best. Because ovens are often somewhat inaccurate, you might need to experiment to see what works best for you. I happen to like 325º F. Curly green kale works best. There’s no harm in trying lacinato, but the former has the best crispy-crunchy mouth feel. Adapted from Wild About Greens.

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 good-sized bunch (10 to 12 ounces) kale
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Seasonings, as desired (see suggestions in instructions)
  • Salt to taste

Remove kale leaves from the stems and tear into bite-sized pieces—kind of like large potato chips.

Rinse kale and—this is extremely important—let it dry completely. Damp kale will make for soggy chips that don’t bake evenly (I learned this the hard way). Use a salad spinner, or spread on kitchen towels and let it dry as long as need be.

Curly kale in colander

Once the kale is dry, preheat the oven to the desired temperature (as mentioned, 325º F. works best for me).

Transfer kale to a bowl and drizzle in a little olive oil. Massage it evenly into the leaves with your hands. If you’d like, you can add a tiny bit of red or white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar and seasonings at this point. Some to consider using are chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cajun seasoning, or salt-free all purpose seasoning. Don’t use salt at this point, as doing so can make the chips soggy. A delicious flavoring is nutritional yeast which is so compatible with these chips (and makes them a great source of calcium as well as vitamin B-12, so valuable to vegans!).

Spread the kale on one or two parchment-lined baking pans, in a single layer. Bake for 12 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven’s true temperature. Check them from time to time. The chips should be evenly dry and crisp and just barely beginning to brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool until they can be handled. Carefully transfer to a serving bowl.  At this point you can sprinkle in a little salt, but you may not need or want to if you’ve added other tasty seasonings.

Homemade kale chips



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