Following recent dietary requirements and a constant glut of the superfood-that-we-aren’t-allowed-to-call-a-superfood-anymore Kale recipes, I have had several bashes at making my own kale chips at home. They are pretty simple to do, though you have to pay attention, and make a fine addition to any nibbles plate or weekend sports observation table. If, like me, you are particularly conscious of carbs or added ingredients or processed saturated fats, then they can even come forth as a replacement for the much lamented bag of salsa and mesquite Kettle Chips and side of wasabi pea bites. However, we should establish some clear false news boundaries before we go any further into this discussion.
Kale Chips Are Just Like Other Chips: I’m not going to lie to you, unless you are a big kale fan, kale chips are not going to seamlessly glide in to replace your salted potato based junk snack of choice. You will not eat one and suddenly forget how much you like pretzels and nachos and pitta chips. However if you get your seasonings and crunch levels right, they are a passable and moreish snack that will get you extra food trend points or, at the very least, see you through an evening netflix binge.
Kale Chips Are So Good For You They Are Basically Medicine: Yeah, about that……….Yes, kale is a leafy green so has a nice fibre and iron content, is 4% protein by weight and will offer you up your entire daily Vitamin C requirements from just a 50g serving*. Yay for kale! Yay for eating plants! But when you chip them the cooking process will reduce these nutritional values a bit and you are about to cover them in fat and salt. Yes, olive oil is a friendly poly-whats plant based fat that is arguably better for you than eating say lard or cyanide but it is a fat, and it packs calories accordingly. If you are coeliac and can’t trust mass produced seasoning mixes, then these kale chips might work for you. If you are on a reduced carb intake, these might work for you. If you are a culinary minded vegan who isn’t afraid to stand up to the clean eating backlash then these will most definitely work for you. They will not make you skinny if you eat them for every meal alongside a cheese sandwich with extra mayo and a bourbon chaser (biscuit or bottled).
In which case, why choose them? I am a kale fan in all of its guises and I genuinely really like them, however I also like the fact that an entire bag of kale, chipped as per the below method will set me back 10 weight watchers points at the absolute most. Over the same amount of time/volume/80 minutes of rugby I would go through at least 12 points worth of kettle chips plus whatever I might care to dip them in. Say 16 total points at a very conservative guess. That’s the other thing, you can’t dip these kale chips they would just fall to bits, so no sour cream based calorie downfalls await you there.
Unless you have some kind of incident with your knife rack, it won’t hurt you to try them! And you may very well burn them to cinders on your first attempt because as I failed to listen to my teachers you will fail to hear me when I tell you that you really have to check them every couple of minutes. But live and learn, try some different flavour mixes and spend your extra calories on something a little more indulgent than a family sized bag of cheese and onion.
*thankyou Nutrition Data
Boomboom Kale Chips
Kit- Large mixing bowl, baking sheets, baking/silicon paper.
200g green kale
Extra virgin olive oil
For the spice mix:
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp maldon smoked sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Pinch garam massala
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp maldon sea salt
Very fine zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp maldon sea salt
When choosing your kale look for larger leaves as smaller bits will crisp off and burn very quickly in the oven. Wash it thoroughly then dry as completely as you can either with a salad spinner or by sandwiching it between two clean tea towels and gently pressing.
Pre heat the oven to 160 and cover a baking sheet with greaseproof paper or an oven proof silicon sheet.
You now need to snip the stems out of the kale with either some good kitchen scissors or a very sharp knife because they do not crisp up well- infact they will leave your chips with grim, bitter and overly chewy lumpy bits. No. If you can’t stand the waste keep the stem stumps to bulk up a stew or put them out for the birds. Try to keep the pieces around the same size.
Prep your spice mix as per the above options (or try your own!) but make sure they are well mixed either by using a pestle and mortar or very gently crushing them together with the back of a spoon.
Put your kale into a large mixing bowl and add at first one tablespoon of olive oil and mix gently with your hands to coat all of the leaves evenly- add more as you need to but you shouldn’t have to go over another whole tablespoon. Ideally you will see a uniform green-shiny finish on all leaves and this is the point to stop. Strictly speaking you could use lesser virgin or old strumpet style olive oil but I find the strong taste of extra virgin gives a richer result and compliments the Boomboom spice mix as above. Sprinkle the spices over the kale then again mix in gently by tossing the leaves with your fingers.
Turn the kale out onto the baking sheet and spread out into a single layer- you are better to do two batches than try to pile it up! Put in the middle of your pre heated oven and set a timer for 4 minutes. Yes, 4 minutes. Do not guesstimate it. Do not pop off to check the headlines. Set. The. Timer.
After 4 minutes, take the tray out and mix the kale about a bit. Back in for another 4 minutes, after which you may see the edges of some bits start to darken. If they are black, turn the oven down. Mix them around again and back in the over for 2 minutes at a time, mixing after each stage. When they are done they will be crisp and noticibly darker green, just starting to brown at the very edges.
Leave the tray out on a heat proof surface to cool completely then serve with a glass of wine and a boxset binge. Or scatter them last minute over a salad or pilaf. Stick some in a tupperware box and take them to work if you can’t resist the mid afternoon call to the vending machine (they will keep for a few days in an air tight container).
Variations- you could use red kale easily in this, I find it has a slightly milder flavour but be extra careful with the checking as it is so dark already it is had to see the difference between Done and Decimated. Try your own spice and flavour combinations but try to keep everything as dry as possible- citrus zest rather than jucie, garlic powder rather than fresh crushed, dried chillis rather than fresh etc.