Dried Kale Chips: A Healthier Option For Snacks


Kale

One vegetable that became more popular in recent years because of its nutritional value is kale. Almost all enthusiasts you know will mention it as part of their daily diet.

In this article, we will feature kale and share with you how to make dried kale chips which can be a good substitute for your usual commercially available snack chips.

What is Kale?

Kale is also called leaf cabbage because they do not form a head as other cabbages do. The colors range from light green to green, to dark green and violet-green, to violet-brown.  Kale is also considered related more to the wild cabbages rather than the domesticated varieties.

Its origins can be traced back from 2,000 B.C. in the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor. Kale is widely grown in Croatia and has reached the United States sometime in the 19th century. However, it became a popular edible in the 1990s when its nutritional value was discovered.

Nutritional Value

Raw kale is 84% water, 9% carbohydrates, 4% protein, and 1% fat. A 100-gram serving provides 49 calories and is packed with vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese.

It is also a good source of thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin E and several dietary minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. No wonder people are calling it a “superfood”.

Dried Kale Chips

There are commercially available flavored kale chips that have become a substitute for potato chips. However, it’s easy to dry kale at home using a food dehydrator.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch kale (any variety will do
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

NOTE: Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that is sold commercially as a food product in the form of flakes or yellow powder. It is popular with vegans and vegetarians and may be used as an ingredient in recipes, as a condiment, or as a cheese substitute like as a topping for popcorn.

Procedure:

  • Remove the leaves from the stalks and tough midribs
  • Wash the kale leaves and dry them well using paper towels or salad spinner
  • Tear the leaves in large chip-size pieces and place them in a large bowl. Bear in mind that the leaves will shrink upon drying.
  • Toss the leaves together with the olive oil and salt until leaves are well-coated.
  • You may add the nutritional yeast or cayenne pepper for extra flavor, especially if you prefer something spicy or a little bit cheesy.
  • Spread the leaves on the dehydrator trays in single layers. It is alright if the leaves touch each other but they shouldn’t overlap or crowd too much.
  • Dry the kale leaves at 145°F for 1 hour.
  • Then reduce the heat to 115°F and dry for another 3 to 4 hours until dry and crispy.
  • Store dried kale chips in airtight containers.
kale leaves

Variations You Could Try

Aside from adding nutritional yeast or cayenne pepper for flavor, you might like to try these variations:

Cashew, Kale, and Tomatoes

  • Soak to rehydrate 15 grams of dried tomatoes and ½ cup raw cashew nuts in separate bowls for 1 hour.
  • Drain the water but save ½ cup water from the soaked tomatoes.
  • In a food processor or blender, combine 2 large garlic cloves, rehydrated tomatoes, soaked cashew nuts, water from soaked tomatoes, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, and ¼ teaspoon salt until smooth.
  • Pour on to the prepared kale leaves in a large bowl and toss until kale leaves are evenly coated with the sauce.
  • Place leaves on dehydrating trays and dry for 2 to 4 hours at 135°F until crispy.

RELATED ARTICLE: To-ma-to or To-mah-to? It’s Still Dried Tomatoes to Me

Asian-inspired

In a blender or food processor, combine:

  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ⅛ cup onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1½ tablespoons miso paste
  • ½ tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • ⅛ teaspoon turmeric

Mix until smooth. Then pour on to the prepared leaves in a large bowl and toss until kale leaves are evenly coated with the sauce. Place kale leaves on dehydrating trays and dry for 2 to 4 hours at 135°F until crispy.

Cinnamon Sugar

  • In a blender or food processor, slowly add ⅓ cup of water to ½ cup raw sunflower seeds, ⅛ cup sugar, and ½ tablespoon cinnamon until smooth.
  • Pour on to the prepared kale leaves in a large bowl and toss until kale leaves are evenly coated with the sauce.
  • Place the leaves on dehydrating trays and dry for 2 to 4 hours at 135°F until crispy.

Final Thoughts

Kale has so many varieties that can allow you to bring all kinds of subtle new flavors to your recipes. And if your kale chips lose their crunch, you can re-crisp them in the dehydrator at 110°F for an hour. Enjoy your snacks!

For more ideas, check out these amazing paleo recipes!

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