I’m hangry as I write. So hanger, in its inimitably hostile way, is going to put an interesting spin on today’s topic, which is kale. When seasoned and baked, the leaves of kale (also known as borecole) are transformed into a delicious, healthy alternative to salty, greasy, fat-fried potato chips. Granted, who doesn’t love strapping on a feedbag full of BBQ kettle chips? I do. Intensely. That’s why I need to take a moment to remind myself of the important differences between Bad Chips and Nice Chips:
The choice is a no-brainer, isn’t it? Assuming that this comparative view has, in the very least, convinced you to give kale a chance, here’s the best way to make your own chips:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash several leaves.
- Drying the leaves well is critical – the drier they are, the crispier the chips will be. If you have the time, sandwich the kale between paper towels and leave them on your kitchen counter for 2-3 hours. If you don’t have time, try to dry these wrinkly, rippled leaves as thoroughly as possible.
- Cut the leaves off the stem as shown below, and cut the large leaves down to pieces that are about the size of your palm. (Don’t throw out little scrap-pieces! Save them and mix them into a stir-fry.)
- Put the leaves into a large bowl. Spray them with a little bit of non-stick cooking spray (about 4 sprays). The spray is a nice alternative to using oil as it has fewer calories and it’s not heavy like oil, which can make your chips soggy.
- Sprinkle a light dusting of salt and garlic powder on the leaves. (Optional additions: Crushed red pepper, chili powder or cumin.) Like the spray, be sure to use the spices sparingly because they will intensify as the kale cooks. It’s easy to over-season kale chips – they will shrink as they cook, so use a light amount of the flavoring.
- Spray one or two cookie sheets (depending on how much kale you prepared) with non-stick cooking spray. Place the leaf pieces in a single layer, barely touching each other, to ensure that they’re evenly cooked.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until you see the kale just start to turn brown, and then remove them immediately. Check your chips for crispiness, and keep in mind that they will get crispier as they cool down.
The key with kale chips is to remove them from the oven at precisely the right moment – it’s too easy to burn these little, ugly darlings.
Here’s the best part of the kale story: eat all you want. For those of us who recoil at the mere suggestion of “moderation,” kale chips are a godsend. These chips are actually good for you. And they won’t chip away at your self-esteem or try to seduce other ladies with glossy packaging and fancy flavors. Bon appétit!