Kale is affordable, extremely nutritious, and when dehydrated, makes an excellent crunchy alternative to potato chips. Dehydrating kale is not difficult, but if done incorrectly the resulting product is not very appetizing. Kale that is not dried well enough before baking or has too much oil is steamed instead of dried, resulting in a soft, slick leaf. Kale that is dried too quickly burns on the edges while remaining tough in the center.
Kale that is dried just right, however, is crisp at first and then a little chewy, making a satisfying snack. I have seen recipes for kale baked at a variety of temperatures, and have had good kale chips baked in a number of ways. In general, however, the longer it takes to dry your kale chips the better luck you will have.
- Spice powder (salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, chili powder, etc.)
- Oil, preferably olive oil
- Salad spinner or paper towels
Rip the leaf from the stem in bite size pieces of approximately the same size and wash them thoroughly with water and a little bit of detergent. Dry the leaves completely. A salad spinner works great, but if you don’t have one gently pat the leaves dry with paper towels. Spread the kale on wire racks, being careful that pieces don’t overlap.
Turn your oven on as low as it will go and put in the kale, leaving the oven door open part way. Watch carefully, and as soon as the chips stop releasing steam remove them. Put the kale into a dry mixing bowl and sprinkle oil over it lightly, tossing regularly, until the pieces are all lightly drizzled but not coated.
Sprinkle salt, pepper, and whatever kind of spice powder you would like to use over the kale chips. I like to use onion powder, and find that I can sprinkle a lot on without it being too much. Adjust to your preferences. Toss the kale thoroughly to coat each piece.
Arrange the pieces on the wire racks and put them in the oven. Leave the door open a little, and check on them every half hour or so. When the side nearer the back becomes noticeably drier, turn the rack around. Touch the chips periodically to see if they have become crisp. When they have, try a few to see if they are dry and seasoned enough. If you would like more seasoning, take them out and sprinkle more seasoning over them.
In my experience, kale chips don’t keep very well. I’d love to hear some suggestions on how to save them for later. If they are kept very dry, you can try re-dehydrating them later, but generally, I find that I eat the whole batch after making them. Enjoy!