Foodie Friday: Baked Kale Chips

Foodie Friday: Baked Kale Chips

I couple of weeks ago I did an interview with Josh Levs from CNN, about the “Huggies thing,” and the image of the bumbling dad in general.

Earlier this week his article went up. I encourage you to go read it, because it’s quite a good roundup of how the stereotype is changing or at the very least being challenged when it raises its head.

It was a great conversation, and thankfully it worked out that both boys napped well for me so we could have an uninterrupted chat. But while we talked I still tried to quietly get a few things done around the house. At one point the beep of the oven and the sound of clattering baking sheets made me feel like I should apologize for the noise, and I explained to him what I was doing.

And so, my favorite part of his article came about:

[Routly is] concerned that boys and men “see the bumbling dad … and think that’s what’s expected of them,” the stay-at-home father of two told me by phone while baking chips for his kids out of kale from his garden.

I’ve been having so, so many people ask me about my kale chips lately, that I’ve decided it’s high time I posted the (ridiculously easy) recipe for making them.

If you’ve never had kale chips, don’t let the odd notion turn you off. The are absolutely delicious, exceptionally healthy (full of antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and calcium), and one of the most incredibly guilt-free “treats” you will ever find. My sons (especially my 3-year old) can’t get enough of them, and we can polish off an entire head of kale as a family in one day fairly easily.

The one downside, particularly with the young kids, is that they can be messy to eat. But honestly . . . what isn’t messy when eaten by a 3-year old?

NOTE: I’ve done these with three different kinds of kale: bagged, pre-cut, pre-washed curly kale from the supermarket; whole leaves (both from the grocery store and a local farmer’s market); and using the kale (a Red Russian variety) mentioned above grown in our family plot at our local community garden. All work quite well, however if you are using the pre-cut bagged kale you will want to make sure you remove any large stem pieces, which hold a lot of moisture and might inhibit your kale getting crispy.

Baked Kale Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch (about 16 leaves) kale
  • 2 tbs. oil (I generally use olive oil, but recently replaced 1/2 with sesame oil to great flavor success)
  • pinch salt, to taste (I like kosher salt, and sea salt would be nice too)
  • Extras? Feel free to experiment. A little red pepper flakes? Some curry powder? The possibilities are almost endless.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. You can do these hotter, but I like a lower temperature to really crisp them up with less risk of burning.
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry kale leaves. Seriously, get these suckers dry. I like to use our salad spinner, which is a great way to let my toddler “help.”
  3. Remove large ribs from leaves with a sharp knife. Discard ribs (or save for vegetable stock).
  4. Tear leaves into roughly “chip-sized” pieces. No need to be precise.
  5. In a large bowl, toss kale pieces with oil and salt.
  6. Lay pieces flat on a baking sheet. I like to do this with a foil or parchment lining, but that’s more to help with cleanup than a necessity. Pieces can touch (they will shrink), but try not to let them overcrowd or overlap too much. For a full head of kale I usually do 2 or 3 batches.
  7. Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes, until crispy. Turning the pan and flipping the chips half way through if possible helps them crisp evenly.
  8. When cool enough (it doesn’t take long), devour.

Yum.

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