Easy Dehydrator Kale Chips

 Easy Kale Chips by Liz Brindley

"Kale," Illustration by Liz Brindley, 2019

Easy Kale Chips

Are you ever at a loss for what to do with a bunch of kale? Maybe you're tired of salads and are looking for more creative ways to use this curly green veggie? Welcome: Kale Chips. 

These are such a delicious snack and also make a tasty crispy topping on a bowl of rice, beans, and sauteed veggies.

Not to mention, they're super simple and a crowd favorite! 

Easy Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • A bunch of kale (literally a bunch as in one bunch from your local Farmers' Market or grocery store or as in a whole lotta kale from your garden)
  • Olive or melted coconut oil
  • Nutritional Yeast (aka: nooch) and Red Chile Powder (optional, though recommended. You can also use whatever dried seasonings you'd like here: black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, etc. Be creative and choose your toppings based on the flavors you love!)
  • Sea Salt
  • An oven or a dehydrator

Process:

1) If you are using an oven, preheat to 225 degrees F.

2) If you are using a dehydrator, hold off on it for a moment.

3) Start by rinsing and drying your kale. Then de-stem each leaf (seriously. My partner and I made a batch at 11 PM one night and skipped this step. The result was like eating tiny, crispy kale corn on the cobs. Not what you want). The best way to do de-stem with ease is to hold the leaf from the bottom of the stem. Then take your pointer finger and thumb where the leaf meets the stem and move those two fingers down the length of the stem to strip the leafy part off. Then compost the stem (they're really tough and don't cook well).

4) Hardest part is over! Now it's time to massage the kale. (Yes, kale is a little high-maintenance, but hey, who doesn't love a massage?)

To massage the kale, place all of the leaves in a bowl.

Pour some of the olive or liquid coconut oil over the top of the kale. Pour less than you think you need because you can always add more. You don't want your leaves to be drowning in oil.

Then sprinkle on your seasonings. I always eyeball this: a generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast, a dash of red chile powder for kick, and a few pinches of sea salt. 

Using both hands, begin to massage the oil and seasoning into the leaves, just like giving a shoulder rub or kneading a block of clay. You'll start to feel the leaves loosen up and become less tough. They will turn darker in color, as well. If you need more oil, just pour a little more on and keep massaging until the leaves are softer and more relaxed.

If you are using an oven:

5) If you are using an oven, spread your kale leaves in a single layer onto baking sheets. If you stack the leaves on top of each other, they won't crisp up as well, so be sure to lay out in a single layer. 

6) Bake for 15 minutes. Then rotate the pans and toss the kale a bit in each pan to get an even dryness for each leaf. Bake for 5 or 10 more minutes until the kale is crispy and a bit brown. (Don't let it burn near the end! When it starts to crisp up it can quickly burn instead).

7) Once done, remove from oven and let cool. Eat immediately or store covered for 2-3 days.

If you are using a dehydrator:

8) If you are using a dehydrator, spread your kale leaves in a single layer onto each rack of the dehydrator. If you stack the leaves on top of each other, they won't crisp up as well, so be sure to lay out in a single layer. 

9) Set your dehydrator based on heat or time, depending on your model and how long you want them to dry out. I often set it at a high heat for an overnight drying session, or at a medium heat when I'm going to be out of the house all day.

10) Check your dehydrator once you wake up or when you're back from work. Once the chips are crispy to your liking, munch immediately or store covered for 2-3 days!

Love this veggie? Check out the Prints & Plants veggie-inspired greeting card selection here.

Details for the oven portion of this recipe come from Minimalist Baker.

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