Monday, November 21, 2011

Super Quick & Easy Kale Chips

As the holidays (and massive feasting) are right around the corner, I thought I'd share a snack that is not only guilt-free, but is actually good for you. Homemade kale chips are easy to make, free of preservatives, better than store-bought chips (even the healthy alternatives), and did I mention easy to make? But before I get to the recipe, just a little bit of background info.

What is kale?
Kale is a type of cooking greens that belongs to the cabbage family. It has long ruffled leaves that range from lavender to chartreuse. It has a mild cabbage-like taste and texture. Kale is available year-round but is more widely available and most flavorful during the winter months. Choose kale that has smaller, deeper colored leaves, without any holes. You can store kale in the refrigerator for 5 days; the longer you store kale, the more bitter it tastes.

What are it's health benefits?
Kale is an excellent source of antioxidants such as Vitamins A and C and beta-carotene. Although antioxidants have been shown in the laboratory to protect cell damage and slow cancer development, their actual cancer-fighting properties in humans are less clear. Despite this, kale is a vegetable that is rich in nutrients and perfect for a healthy diet.

Olive oil
Sea salt (or seasoning of choice)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line bottom of baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with olive oil.
3. Tear kale leaf from stem and into desired size.
4. Rinse and dry kale - I usually use a salad spinner for this step.
5. Spread kale evenly onto foil so that there is only 1 layer.
6. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
7. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until leaves begin to brown. I usually bake it for 12 minutes.

The kale will shrink during baking so play around with your preferred size. Also, make sure you watch your time so it doesn't get burned, they are quite bitter when burnt. I've tried parmesan cheese and garlic salt as seasonings but prefer plain old sea salt. The kale chips taste better when it is slightly under seasoned, so do experiment with flavoring.  The chips are best eaten right out of the oven, they are so crisp and practically melt in your mouth. They do get a little chewy, but still crispy, the longer they sit.

Kale chips usually don't last the day in our house. Do you eat kale? What is your favorite kale recipe?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Cancer Institute

Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are solely mine.