Oh, kale… how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
1. In soup.
2. In salad (especially the one from Whole Foods)
4. As chips.
Okay, so I’ve only actually tried kale four ways so far, but I’m young. I’ve got time. And you better believe I’ll keep trying kale because it’s easily my favorite green. It lacks the bitter bite of collards or mustard greens, and unlike spinach, which releases its juices when cooked, kale soaks up whatever is around it – lemon juice, olive oil, the taste and aroma of freshly minced garlic (for instance) – taking on those flavor notes and adding them to this hearty, leafy green.
Kale chips are nothing new to the rest of the Interwebs, but they were new to me. I bought a big bag of kale the other day, and when plans were made for two of my friends to come over for dinner, I knew it was time to try out kale chips. After all, even when I saute kale, I love it when it cooks just a little too long and starts to crisp up. Now I could do it intentionally!
People on various recipe websites said that kale chips were a great, crunchy, healthy alternative to potato chips. Okay. They crisp up, but not that much. I’m not going to lie: these are still very much leafy greens, even as chips. But they get a delightful crisp to them that is more reminiscent of popcorn (both in texture and flavor) than potato chips.
1 bunch of curly kale (the curls crisp up really nicely)
Drizzle of olive oil (about a teaspoon or so)
Teaspoon kosher salt
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the kale leaves away from the stems and either cut or tear them into bite-sized (perhaps chip-sized) pieces. Wash them and make sure they’re thoroughly dried. (I put them through the salad spinner and then laid them out on paper towels for about a half hour to air dry.)
Transfer the kale to the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Drizzle with about a teaspoon of olive oil; you don’t want to drench them, so use a light touch, and you can always add more if necessary. Sprinkle with kosher salt as well.
Using your hands, toss the kale with the olive oil, making sure the top and bottom of each leaf is smeared with olive oil. Arrange kale leaves in a single layer. If you really love salt (like I do), you can sprinkle just a touch more salt over the chips. Remember, a lighter touch. This is supposed to be somewhat healthy.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, turning kale leaves over halfway through the baking time. When they’re browned a bit, airy, and crisped up, they’re done. Transfer to a plate and enjoy!
I served these kale chips with grilled chicken wings, watermelon slices, and banana chocolate chip cookies for dessert. It’s a great side dish in summer or winter, so get your greens on and enjoy the superiority that comes with eating healthy-ish.