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Monday, October 24, 2011

Healthy Snack - Crunchy Kale Chips

From Thrifty Mama's Survival Garden Bonanza

Baked Kale Chips

I finally found a way I'll eat kale!  Yay!  Don't know about the kids or hubby yet, since everyone was sleeping by the time I made them, but who cares!  More for me if they don't!

Our family had our first experience with kale last year, when I was given a lot of it as part of my share in a community garden we were working in.  My family did not like it.  The only way I found that they would eat it was to slip a little into the stir fry vegetables for chicken teriyaki. 

Yesterday, the broccoli lady, a woman from a local Freecycle group that gave me some herb plants in the spring and has now given me excess produce from her garden twice, gave me more kale.  It wasn't a lot, since I confessed that I hadn't had much luck getting the kids and hubby to eat it, but I'd said before that I never refuse free produce, so I felt like I had to take at least some. 

I'd heard of kale chips last year, but was kind of scared to try them, since how could that possibly be good so I put it off and put it off until the kale that was still in the fridge shamefully went bad.  This time, the day I got it, I made me some kale chips.  I admit, I was pleasantly surprised.  They aren't my favorite food, but they are something I definitely would be interested in having again, to the point that I'm considering on growing some next year.  I've long loved how hearty the plant is, perfect for Michigan gardening, and how nutritious it is, so here's my chance to use it!

My biggest issue with the kale chips I made was that they were pretty bland, so next time I might try these seasoned kale chips instead, but the Parmesan cheese ones I made would be worth repeating as well.  They definitely have a satisfying crunch, but are healthy enough for guilt-free late night snacking.
Kale chips before being baked (the ones on the left were seasoned with sea salt and Parmesan.  The ones on the right just with sea salt).  They aren't as cute coming out, when they are more brownish and dry looking.
Baked Kale Chips

olive oil cooking spray
sea salt, Parmesan cheese, or any other seasoning you want

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Thoroughly wash kale (seriously.  Those icky green cabbage caterpillars like this stuff too, so you don't want extra protein creeping in, literally, like that!).  Tear small pieces, about the size of a smallish potato chip, of kale off the thick center rib.  Pat dry with a towel.  Arrange pieces on a baking sheet.  Lightly spray with olive oil cooking spray.  Move pieces around to ensure even coating of oil.  Sprinkle with desired seasonings.  Bake 10-20 minutes or until dry and crispy, flipping chips every 5-10 minutes to prevent sticking and to watch for doneness.

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