Monday, February 20, 2012

when all else fails...make kale chips!

Raw Kale Chips

These little babies seem to be popping up in every health/natural/hippy store I walk into, and as delicious as they look, I never feel like its okay to hand seven of my hard earned dollars for some dried up leaves. So, after a bit of googling, I decided to whip some up myself.

Inspired by every recipe on the internet but also no one recipe... I whipped up three different types of these kale chips. Honestly, they were so easy, so tasty, and so healthy, they are a great way to break into the healthy, whole food, raw, vegan, whatever the word is today, world.

Kale Chips:

1 bunch kale
olive oil
Random combinations of the following:
freshly ground pepper
sea salt
nutritional yeast
garlic powder
cayenne pepper
lemon juice

-Thoroughly clean your kale and remove the big sticky stalks in the center.
-Tear the leaves into bite size pieces (keep in mind they will shrink a little [or a lot depending on how you cook them.])
-Coat them with your desired toppings. Pour olive oil on top, a drizzle at a time and toss the kale. **Using your hands works far better than a spoon or fork, and is much more fun - -this way you can make sure all the kale is touched with the oil without pouring globs of it on. Then toss on your desired toppings and mix em around.

The three combinations I made:
1) The first batch I made using just olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Honestly, I found these a bit boring, but if you are in the mood for just straight up kale-ness, these are for you!
2) The second batch I made using olive oil and lemon juice (*perk!: the lemon juice lets you use less oil!). I then tossed with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne. More of less of each to taste. I felt like these got a bit spicier after being cooked/dehydrated, so consider yourself warned!
3) The third batch I made I think were my favorites! I used just olive oil, sea salt, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast. The yeast and the garlic together made a real cheesy, garlicy flavor that made them taste like FAR more than a dried leaf!

Side note: I refuse to give measurements for this recipe because every bundle of kale is differently sized and everyone's taste is a bit different. Feel free to taste as you go, adjusting the seasonings for taste - no one ever died from eating raw kale! (well, don't quote me on that, but I haven't yet anyway!). You'll definitely want to keep tasting the cheezy, garlicky ones, not to adjust, but just to lick your fingers because its so darn tasty!

After they are seasoned to your liking, its time to cook, or not cook - depending on your kitchen appliances. Now, I've made kale chips a few times. The first time I made them was before my lovely bf placed a dehydrator under my Christmas tree.

If you don't have a dehydrator, patience is key! And some spare time to sit around and make sure you don't burn your house/apartment building down.

Spread them out on a cookie sheet and preheat your oven (as low as it will go). Probably around 170 degrees or so. Stick em in the oven and wait. And wait and wait. Probably about 3-4 hours.

If you DO have a dehydrator, lay these babies out on the trays and dehydrate. I set my dehydrator somewhere between 100-104 so that I was sure they were still considered "raw". (Heck! If I'm going to eat dehydrated kale, I'm going to reap EVERY nutritional benefit possible!)

Dehydrate until crunchy. I'd say I left mine in about 20 hours, but I bet they were done after 16 or so. It really will depend on the size of each leaf and how much coating you put on each one. Feel free to take them out before my 16-20 hours if you think they are ready.

How do you know? Think of the Fall, right before it turns to winter...when all the leaves are brown and fallen on the ground, when if you pick one up, you can just crunch it up in your glove!

Sounds appetizing, eh?

Once you have deemed them late-autumn-crunchy, stick em' in an airtight container and store.

Oh, and be sure to bring them to work and crunch on them throughout the day so everyone can give you stranger looks than they normally do for being the crazy girl in the corner eating leaves.

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