If you know me, you probably already know that I am OBSESSED with kale chips. For months now I've been making several batches of kale chips a week and experimenting with different types of kale and different flavors for the chips. Every week, I pick up a bunch or two of kale at the local farmer's market. I've completely stopped buying potato chips and other snack foods. Kale is where it's at! Yum! My newest favorite flavor is Tahini BBQ kale chips (see the recipe below), but I wanted to share some tips before I get to the recipes.
I knew that you could make kale chips in a food dehydrator, but I haven't really experimented much with that because fifteen minutes in the oven is way faster than overnight in the food dehydrator. Plus, any time I've had leftover kale chips, which ain't often, they've turned soggy and wilted overnight. I've tried storing them in a sealed container and uncovered on the countertop, and it didn't matter, they were gross the next day. Until now...
You wanna know the trick to storing kale chips? Keep them cold! I keep them in a snap-top plastic container in the refrigerator. Perfection. I don't know if they keep longer than a day, because none of mine have made it that long, but I can tell you that they are just as crunchy and delicious the next day when refrigerated overnight. Hurray!
Next tip? I have discovered that kale chips made in the food dehydrator taste way better than those done in the oven! Big surprise! I still recommend the oven method if you want a quick snack, but if you are planning ahead, the dehydrator is the way to go. My dehydrator is a Snackmaster Express, which has a temperature dial on the top. I dry the kale chips spread out in a single layer (usually 3 or 4 trays) for 1 hours at 135 degrees F, then 2 - 3 hours at 115 degrees F. The kale chips don't seem to shrink as much and don't turn brown. They are crazy good.
Here are two kale chips recipes for you to try. Please note that all measurements are approximations, since I never measure, just eyeball it. You should start with 1/2 bunch (approximately 3 large leaves of curly kale) with the center stems removed. Rip the leaves into 2 inch pieces. (Note: any type of kale works for kale chips. I like the curly because it holds the flavor best, but in terms of taste, they all taste the same to me.)
In a large bowl, add the ingredients (below) and mix to coat with your hands. You could use a spoon, I guess, but it's best if you get in there and mix it with your hands. You'll be able to feel when all the leaves are coated. I usually use one hand to mix and hold the bowl steady with the other. This way, too, I have a clean hand to turn on the faucet when I'm finished. Once you've added your ingredients, either follow the food dehydrator instructions above or spread out in a single layer on two baking pans (sprayed with cooking spray if not non-stick) and bake at 400 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from the oven when the kale starts to brown. Burnt kale chips = not nearly as yummy as unburnt ones.
Traditional Kale Chips
1 T. olive oil
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 t. sea salt
1/8 cup nutritional yeast (no nooch? try parmesan cheese... yum!)
Tahini BBQ Kale Chips
1/4 c tahini
1/4 c. BBQ sauce (I used a smoky Kansas-style)
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 t. smoked salt
1 t. sesame oil
I don't pre-mix the ingredients. I just throw the ripped kale pieces in a big bowl and put the ingredients on top. They get mixed will I moosh everything around with my hand. So, so good.