The healthiest chips you’ll ever eat!

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In our unending quest for delicious and nutritious food, kale chips have become a go to snack to satisfy those savoury and crunchy urges. We came across store-bought kale chips years ago which are certainly delicious but maybe not as nutritious as we could make at home. Also, they were certainly coming at a much higher price point for what you get. With this season’s bounty of organic home-grown kale, we needed to find a way to use some of it up and get it’s incredible nutrition into our bodies!

Since the end of August we’ve been making kale chips at least weekly and they’ve brought a wonderful new dimension to snack time! They’re very easy to make and it only takes about 15 minutes to do the prep work. Unfortunately they are fairly dish intensive, so washing up afterwards adds a bit more time to the task. Still worth the time for us!

Ingredient choices

There are a number of ingredients in these kale chips. We have cashews and sunflower seeds which are a good source of healthy fats and protein. There’s garlic powder, which I suggest using to your own taste, personally we love the strong flavour and aromatic experience. Same with the sea salt, you can experiment with the right amount there too, with all the other flavours, you may find not much is needed! The other ingredients are kale, olive oil, nutritional yeast and cayenne pepper which we’ll delve into further here.

Kale

Many consider kale to be a ‘superfood’ because of how jam packed it is with nutrients. Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Perhaps one reason it’s so healthy is because of how easy it is to grow, how heat resistant, drought resistant and cold resistant it is! In fact we’re still growing our own kale. Recently, it comfortably survived one night of -6°C and 6 inches of snow! Anything that can survive in these kinds of conditions must have a lot of vitality, life force energy and nutritional power!

kale growing at "the farm"

Now, keep in mind that to make the chips, we’re cooking the kale, which will certainly mute the nutritional power that it has to offer. This article from healthline.com provides a wealth of information about the health benefits of ‘raw’ kale and I’ve drawn upon it to summarize some of the benefits below.

Kale is packed full of powerful antioxidants that have been shown to have heart-protective, blood pressure-lowering, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antidepressant and anti-cancer effects (1 , 2 , 3 ). Kale is also an excellent source of vitamin C providing 134% of the daily recommendation in one cup. It’s also an incredible source of vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting, and offers 684% of the daily recommendation in one cup. One cup also provides beta carotene which the body can turn into 206% of the daily recommendation of vitamin A.

Kale also contains substances called bile acid sequestrants, which can positively affect cholesterol levels and this might lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over time (4 ). Kale also contains numerous cancer fighting substances however many studies (5 , 6 ) have been done in test tubes and animals and the evidence in humans is mixed.

Extra virgin olive oil

There is a great debate at this time over the health benefits of different types of fats. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) however is one fat that most seem to agree is incredibly healthy. Another article from healthlline.com shares some of the many health benefits of EVOO. 73% of the fat in EVOO is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid that reduces inflammation and may have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.  EVOO is also loaded with antioxidants. There’s also evidence to suggest that EVOO may help prevent heart disease and strokes (7 , 8 , 9 ).

Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast used as a food product by many vegans. It’s this that gives these kale chips their ‘cheesy’ flavour! It’s sold in the form of yellow flakes, granules or a powder and can be found in most natural food and bulk food stores.

Nutritional yeast is a ‘complete protein’ which means it gives you all 9 essential amino acids that your body can’t produce (10 ). It’s also full of B vitamins, particularly B12, which is especially important for vegetarians and vegans (10 ). It also contains important trace minerals such as zinc, selenium, manganese and molybdenum (11 ).

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne has been used as a spice and a herbal medicine for thousands of years. It’s also popular and used in many ‘cleansing’ drinks. The active ingredient in cayenne pepper is a compound called capsaicin which may help with: protecting the nervous system, reducing inflammation, treating colds and congestion, relieving pain, managing weight and easing itching (12 ).

Recipe

Serves: 5

Total Time: 15 minutes preparation, 20-35 minutes to cook

Ingredients

  • 5 cups kale leaves (washed, thoroughly dried, stems removed, and torn into bite sized pieces)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive olive (or avocado oil)
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp raw or roasted sunflower seeds
  • 2-6 tbsp nutritional yeast (to taste)
  • ¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper (optional or to taste)
  • 1 tsp garlic granules or powder (or more!)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C)
  2. Add kale to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with oil. Use your hands to completely coat the kale with oil, then set aside.
  3. Add cashews, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper (optional) to a food processor or blender and blend/pulse into a fine meal, scraping down the sides as needed.
  4. Add this mixture to the kale and toss with your hands to distribute, working it into the grooves so it’s thoroughly coated.
  5. Divide the coated kale between 2 large baking sheets and spread into an even layer, making sure the pieces aren’t overlapping to ensure crispiness. You may need to bake them in two batches depending on the size of your baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 20 to 35 minutes, checking as you go, until all the kale feels crispy. If you have a convection oven, use convection to help with the crispiness.
  7. Let cool somewhat before enjoying.
  8. Store in a sealed plastic bag or container and consume within 2-3 days. Kale chips will lose their crispness quickly.

Notes

  • Ingredients and directions adapted from Minimalist Baker and oh she glows .
  • Recipe yields ~ 5 cups.
  • Recipe can be prepared in a dehydrator.
  • Feel free to experiment with a larger batch and more crowded baking sheets. We find with our convection oven all we need is a little more time.
  • Nutritional information is a rough estimate.

Serving: 1 one-cup serving | Calories: 132 calories | Total Fat: 11 grams | Net Carbohydrates: 4 grams | Fiber: 2 grams | Protein: 4 grams

* Nutrition data is approximate and is for informational purposes only.