Friday, December 02, 2011

Kale Chips

I often get asked how to make kale chips, which are basically kale massaged with olive oil and baked until crispy. They are a healthy snack for 'I want something salty and crunchy' moments, but they do have a down side.

Making kale chips is an activity with a low reward to effort ratio. Like any challenging assignment, there is always a moment half way through where you wonder what you got yourself into and whether you can be bothered seeing it through. Then the chips are ready, you eat them in one minute and stare at the empty plate wondering what you just did with the last hour of your life. The things we do for the love of salty snacks. I only make them when I'm in the mood for an activity which requires patience and concentration.  Here is how to make kale chips.  

Buy seeds and grow your kale (or buy some pre-grown and go directly to the washing stage).

Harvest your kale from the garden or the shop, break it into more or less 'bite sized' pieces and give it the wash/spin dry, just in case there are bugs on there (natural hazard of organic food - there is a sign up in the organic shop which informs 'no charge for slugs').
Massage olive oil into the kale until all the leaves are shiny.
Turn on the oven to about this place - round knob on the left. As you can see, the numbers on my oven disappeared long ago. I really should get a new one, but I'm .. my grandmothers granddaughter (don't throw it out unless it blew up in flames or grew legs and ran away). It's probably about 120.

Lay the kale leaves out on oven trays. I use one open rack near the top of the oven and one sitting on aluminium foil near the bottom of the oven. This prevents oil dripping on the bottom element and causing a kale chip fire.

The ones on the bottom rack have been sprinkled with finely grated sheepsmilk pecorino. 
I am devoted to this brand, Blue River.
Check constantly. It works best if you turn the chips or they can curl around the bars. If they are too hot, they will turn brown and you'll have to start again. They should end up dark green, shiny and very crisp. Taste testing is a good idea (but also a way to diminish the final yield). 

As the chips are ready transfer the finished ones to a bowl, sprinkle them with salt and put more raw ones on the trays in the oven. Be careful. It's easy to just munch them as they become ready, leading to an anticlimactic net result.
Here are the ones with pecorino on them. These ones are maybe a tad overdone. They still tasted great though.
Eat a bowl (say 70g raw kale) of these and you will get 635% of the RDI for Vitamin K, 75% of the RDI for Vitamin A,  30% of the RDI for magnesium and 23% of the RDI for copper. Kale is also naturally high in vitamin C, but this may be destroyed by the cooking process.  It also has small amounts of all B vitamins except B12 which is only found in animal foods. 

Of course, if you skip the washing process, you may end up with B12 enhanced kale chips. Now there's a thought.... 


Today I spent a gut-wrenching two hours installing Disqus as the new comment module for Sanaworld, so please check it out and let me know if it's an improvement. I say 'gut-wrenching' because I messed it up and deleted all comments on the blog, from the entire blog history.  Luckily Disqus have a system which caters for people that skip the recommended step of backing up the blog before making changes, and the comments were not lost forever.

So, please, give it a go! Let me know how YOU like your kale chips.  Have you made them? Do you like them, or they just too much pain for not enough gain? Or does the whole idea sound like something only hippies would eat?


  1. I LOVE kale chips and find that they're incredibly easy to make- I just coat the leaves in oil, spices and nutritional yeast and bake for 15 minutes, shaking the pan once during cooking. They always come out fab!

  2. Your way sounds far easier. I kind of tried that, but they stuck to the pan and I spent ages peeling them off. Shaking the pan didn't dislodge them. I suppose you have some sort of non-stick ninja skills?

  3. Hmmm... I always line my baking sheet with foil and make sure it gets coated with a little oil from the kale. There are many recipes for kale chips but I'm far too lazy to bother with anything that requires dehydration and/or babysitting. This works well for me. Fave spice combo: cayenne, sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, chipotle chile powder and olive oil. :D Have you seen how expensive kale chips are in the stores? Like $6 for three chips.

  4. You can't even buy them here. I have not seen them in any store. I can't imagine they would hold up well in a bag though.. kind of fragile? They would probably be a bag of kale dust by the time I got them home: I'm not really 'gentle' on my groceries.

  5. Honora10:22 pm

    Hi Sara I have a dehydrator with several trays. Have you tried this kind of dehydrating for kale? I'd love to give it a crack but if you've already tried this and found the oven/pan method is better than I won't try it out. Naturalised silverbeet picked from near the sea might be good but not around the Christchurch estuary right now. That silverbeet is often quite tough and textured and I imagine it would have a bit of iodine in its tissues from the "salt-laden sea air".

  6. Hi Honora, thanks for dropping by my little blog. I am re-thinking hard about a dehydrator. I used to have one, but there were too issues: 1) it takes forever and 2) bench space. I was using mine for dried fruit, but I imagine that it would work much better for kale. You should try it! I've got silverbeet and will give it a try when the kale dies back - at the moment the kale is going crazy and I'm barely keeping up with it. A good situation to have, for sure. I hear you the estuary situation.. kind of stinky out there right now... maybe a better idea just to add seaweed to the compost. :D

  7. Honora9:43 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement, Sara. I put myself number 3 on the waiting list for Terry Wahl's book. I think the other 2 ahead of me posted on Julianne's blog!

  8. Anonymous6:45 am

    Hi, I don't think you say what temperature the oven should be at for these kale chips, nor how long I should expect them to take. Can you reveal these crucial secrets please? I just have an oven, not a dehydrator.
    Cheers. Afifah

    1. Hi! The temperature is quite low. I estimate about 100-120F (so, 40-50C). Of course you can cook them hotter, but just check very frequently. It's a very inexact science. Good luck!


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