Kale Chips

Ingredients – Version 1:

  • 4 leaves kale
  • Nonstick spray (or olive oil in a spray container)
  • ½ tsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp onion powder

Ingredients – Version 2:

  • 4 leaves kale
  • Nonstick spray (or olive oil in a spray container)
  • ¼ or ½ tsp salt (depending on your preference)

Instructions – Method 1:

  • Preheat the oven to 175 degrees (F).
  • Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.
  • Remove the main stem from the kale leaves (do this by tearing each half of each leaf away from the stem).
  • Tear the leaves into “smallish” pieces (like the size of a potato chip).
  • Put half of the kale leaves into one large bowl; put the remaining leaves into a second large bowl.
  • Generously spray both sets of kale leaves with the nonstick spray (or olive oil – your choice).  Sprinkle the appropriate seasoning(s) on each set of leaves.  Mix the leaves well (preferably with your hands) to ensure the oil and seasonings are evenly distributed among all of the leaves.
  • Place the leaves in a single layer on the baking sheets.  Bake for 1 hour, or until the leaves are crisp.  When done, remove the chips from the oven and enjoy immediately, or store in a sealed container.

Instructions – Method 2:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
  • Follow the same directions as provided in Method 1, only this time, bake the kale for 20-30 minutes, or until the leaves are crisp.  Again, when the leaves are done remove them from the oven, and either enjoy them immediately, or store them in a sealed container.

Serving quantities vary; it all depends on how much kale you chose to make, and what you consider to be “one serving” of chips.  :)

Since the serving size will vary from person to person, I can’t really post accurate nutritional information.  However, I will provide the nutritional information for raw kale; from there, just assess how much oil you added, and then you’ll have an idea as to the nutrition of your specific chips.

Nutritional information for 1 ounce of raw kale: 14 calories, 0 g fat,
3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 1 g protein.  (On average, one full leaf of kale is around 1 ounce.)

This is raw kale - so that you know what to look for in the grocery store. (Honestly, some people have never seen raw kale before.)

This is the first batch of seasoned-but-not-yet-baked kale.

Here are all four chip varieties. From the top-left, moving clockwise: 175/nutritional yeast; 175/salt; 350/salt; 350/nutritional yeast.

The ratings:
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Low (Med-Low if you want to use nutritional yeast)
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Very, Very Low
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): Really Low
Time Cost (recipe preparation): Medium-to-High, depending on the method you use
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Super-Duper Low
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): 4.01

The Bottom Line: Will I make this recipe again?

For the past few weeks, I’ve experienced a slight desire for potato chips.  Now, I am familiar enough with my digestive system to know that if I did eat some potato chips, I would regret it shortly after I finished them.  So the desire hasn’t been overly strong, but more of a “hmm, potato chips sound kinda nice…. Oh well.”

Then last week one of the magazines I have a subscription to arrived in the mail; and as I flipped through the pages, I saw a recipe for kale chips.  Interesting….

I did a quick online search to see if there was a ‘common’ method for making kale chips that I could use as a starting point. (This is what I do with most recipes I attempt: I see what foundational similarities exist among lots of different versions of the recipe [if any], and then I make sure that when I do deviate from a given set of instructions, I retain at least most of the ‘critical’ components.)  With the kale chips, I found something rather interesting: There seemed to be two distinct schools of thought on how to make them.  One group of people favored a “low-and-slow” method of cooking the chips (reminiscent of a food dehydrator), another group thought the best approach was along the lines of “blast-em-fast”.  Both groups promised excellent results.  Who to trust?

The answer:  neither one.  :)  I decided to test them both, and see which one yielded the better product.

In addition to variations in the cooking method, I also found many different possible seasoning options for turning kale into tasty chips.  The most common flavor offering was straight-up oil-and-salt (just like one would make potato chips), but I also did see a few interesting ideas, including cayenne, cumin, garlic, onion, and nutritional yeast.

So.  This is how I arrived at the four different chip varieties I tried.

Now, the results:

First, the methodology: Both methods of baking the kale produced very crispy chips, very similar to a thin-cut potato chip.  I delighted in crunching into each batch of chips – it was a little party for my mouth!  ;)  The kale chips were a little fragile (i.e., I had to be semi-careful in handling them); if I punched my hand into the bowl or bag too forcefully, I would smash some of the chips into tiny pieces – much like the crumbs that exist at the bottom of a bag of potato chips. [No fun.]  So as far as texture was concerned, I really didn’t experience any difference between the two methods.

The other aspect of aesthetics is eye appeal.  In this category, the results between the two methods were quite different.  Method 1 (“low-and-slow”) produced truly beautiful chips: dark green, lovely curly shape, very ‘healthy-looking’.  Very appealing for someone who is eating this food because they want to feel like they are doing something good for their body.  Method 2 (“blast-em-fast”) produced chips that were equal parts green-and-brown: they looked more like traditional potato chips that had been fried in oil.  I think this method of chip preparation would be great for 1) someone who is eating this food because they know it’s better for them than potato chips, but who really would prefer the potato to the kale, and/or 2) for kids whom you are maybe attempting to get to try this snack over some other less-healthy option [since these chips have less green visible and all, kids might like them better… unless the kid likes green food.  Which some kids do.  Children can be so funny.  But I digress…].

Okay, so that’s the methodology.  Now, the taste: Honestly, the taste difference between the two methods is very, very slight.  Blast-em-fast produced a chip that had a slightly more roasted/fried taste to it, but if that morsel weren’t eaten directly next to a low-and-slow chip, I really think a person would struggle to taste a significant difference between the two.  So for me, the question of which method to use really comes down to visual aesthetics, and logistics.  If it’s summertime, I might choose the low-and-slow methods just to try and keep the house cooler; but if I’m pressed for time, I could just as easily choose the blast-em-fast option.  Personally, I love the pure green color over the brown spots, so I will choose the low-and-slow method going forward; but I think either method makes a good product.  It just all depends on what each individual needs, and what each individual likes.

Finally, seasonings: When I make these chips in the future, I will likely either do a very lightly salted chip, or else a very light seasoning of nutritional yeast, and onion powder.  I might also try a cumin/cayenne/paprika version, too, if I’m in the mood for a little Mexican flavor.  Kale is pretty cheap, so I could see myself playing with ‘wacky’ spice combinations, just to see what might be good.

So, there you have it.  Kudos to you if you have read this entire post – sorry to be so long-winded!  I’ll work on brevity for next week.  :)  In the meantime, if you make some kale chips, I’d love to hear what you thought.  And if you tried to feed them to kids, let me know if they actually ate them, and/or if they liked them.  That would be a true test of this recipe….


About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
This entry was posted in kale, nutritional yeast, picture step-by-step, postaweek2011, snack, vegetables, vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Kale Chips

  1. Stef, I love these. :)
    I want some now but they don’t sell kale here in Spain. But I’m gonna look out for it next time I’m in the UK.
    Good job.


    • Stef says:

      Jonathan, they don’t sell kale in Spain? That’s crazy talk!

      The chips really turned out beautifully; in fact, I made another batch this weekend. Yum. :)


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