Bake Better Kale Chips

>> Thursday, January 30, 2014

We make kale chips about once a week. Over the years, we've certainly refined our process quite a bit. The very first batches we made were either too crispy and burner or too soggy and limp. As with any cooking method, mastery takes time, but GOOD NEWS! I have a few shortcuts to share if you're scrambling.

Here are 5 ways to make better kale chips -- tonight!

// Use Tuscan (Dinosaur) Kale

I had never even heard of different varieties of kale. Silly me, but I thought the packaged stuff was pretty much it. Enter our CSA share, and we were up to our elbows in thick, hearty Dinosaur Kale. We first made chips using this variety back in 2012, and we've been hooked ever since!

// Dry Leaves Well

A big mistake I made for the longest time was rinsing off my kale and not drying it properly. Water plus heat equals steam. And steam doesn't exactly crisp kale chips to the desired texture and crunch. After rinsing and chopping kale, I always press a clean tea towel onto the batch before adding my oil and spices. I get those suckers as dry as possible.

// Massage That Oil 

I used to be more of a drizzle and toss kind of gal, but now I get down and dirty with my olive oil. After drying kale leaves, I use around 1-2 tablespoons of oil and spend a good minute rubbing it onto the leaves and into all the little crevices, making sure to get everything well coated. More oil means more flavor and crisp.

// Use More Toppings

After that, it's time to go to flavor country. For us, this usually means salt, pepper, and a scoop of nutritional yeast. But adding more exotic spices, like curry, smoked paprika or other flavor enhancers like soy sauce, or lemon juice or zest surely kicks this up a notch.

// Crank the Heat

Oven temperature surely have an impact on the initial shock, and therefore, crunch, the kale gets in the oven. I actually crank mine all the way to 400 degrees (20 minutes) for a near-burnt result, but whatever temperature you use from 350 to 400, make sure to check on your kale every 10 minutes and stir around to get all areas baked evenly.

If you've never made kale chips -- now's the time to start. If you're looking for an excellent food to fuel your exercise, kale has lots of nutritional benefits to boast.

Here's the first recipe I ever made and the best recipe I follow to this day.

Have any tips to share of your own?

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