Last year, I complained to a friend that I would like to eat more leafy green vegetables, like kale, and I'd surely do so if they weren't virtually inedible.
Despite its many health benefits, I wasn't a fan of kale.
Impossible to cook or chew into submission and cheerfully green no matter what you do to it — I had pretty much decided kale was permanently off my menu. But then I heard about kale chips. People kept telling me how much their kids loved them so, not to be outdone by a pack of preschoolers, I decided it was time to belly up to the kitchen counter and try my hand at kale chips.
My husband has always been a healthy eater so, in our kitchen, buried in a cupboard somewhere, was a food dehydrator. This is a bonus. If you have a dehydrator, by all means use it. (if not, your kale chips will still be delicious if they're done in a very low oven.)
A dehydrator will dry the kale without your having to pay any attention to it and even better than that, dehydrated kale chips are considered raw food — a whole other subset of healthy eating. You can get really smug about your kale chips if they're dehydrated. When I started out, I figured that would be about all I got out of the exercise. Boy, was I in for a shock.
If you like the seaweed on the outside of sushi, you'll like kale chips, in fact, sushi's harder to develop the taste for than kale chips. They melt in your mouth and they taste, mostly, of whatever it is you put on them before you dry them out.
The preschoolers are right, kale chips are yummy. They're healthy, low-cal, low fat and high in every nutrient you can think of. They taste great, they're full of fiber, they have a satisfying crunch and if you like cheese puffs, there's a kale chip you'll love. Just think, the next time you want to sit down with nothing but a bowl of chips for dinner, you could actually be doing your body a favor. What could be better?
Here are two ways to make kale chips. When you've done it once, you'll quickly think up your own.
"Cheesy" Vegan Kale Chips
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) — available in the natural foods section of your grocery store or at your local food co-op.
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast — available at health food stores or the food co-op.
3 tablespoons soy sauce — I use kikoman or organic shoyu. It's important to use a light soy that is authentically made, the stuff made by American companies is too thick and syrupy, it won't work.
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Put all of these ingredients in the bottom of a big bowl. Then wash a bunch of kale and strip the leafy part off the stalks. Tear these into chip-sized pieces. Dump them into the bowl with your mixture in the bottom. Wearing rubber gloves, massage the dressing into the kale. Kale is sturdy. Really work the stuff in. Pretend you're kneading bread and massage the leaves until you've reduced the size of your kale pile by about half.
Arrange the dressed leaves on a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake in a very low oven (200 degrees maximum) for 3 hours or until your chips are crispy.
If you're using a dehydrator, arrange these on the dehydrator trays and set the dial to "vegetable" leave it overnight or all day while you're at work.
Plain Kale Chips
2/3 cup olive oil
1/8 - 1/4 cup salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Large bunch of kale
Follow the instructions above but substitute this mixture for the "cheesy" dressing.
See? Easy. Eat your vegetables. Make your Mom happy.
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