When my mother used to tear kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and bake them with olive oil and salt in a hot oven until just browning and slightly crispy I should have known she was on the cutting edge of yet another trend. While our family savored the simple yet oh so tasty and nutritious treat that allowed us to eek out just a few more minutes of eating-together time, the food trend mavens were cooking up a health snack trend to be reckoned with.
When I started seeing kale chip recipes in magazines on food blogs I was happily reminded of what I thought was my mother’s hidden gem. When I started seeing 6oz packages of it for sale at Whole Foods and Rainbow Acres for $11, I was just resentful that I hadn’t exploited the idea 15 years ago. Yes, now kale chips are the hottest fad in healthy (vegan and gluten-free) snacking. I cannot claim to be the first to get on board, but I am finally getting around to making my own, which, I will admit, will become a regular addition to my snacking repertoire. Thanks to Missy for introducing me to nutritional yeast, you are always an inspiration in flavors, especially secretly healthy ones.
I started out with a few nacho kale chip recipes, trying to figure out what was what, but by the third time I was so tired of making such a mess of my food processor and honestly, found the cashew (or almond, I tried both, stick with cashew) paste version a little heavy. Now my go-to flavoring is MUCH simpler and I think much more flavorful.
For the Seasoning
Combine in a small bowl:
1/3-1/2c nutritional yeast
½ tsp cayenne
a few good sprinkles of dried garlic or garlic salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
a bit more salt than you think you should have. Start with ½ tsp, mix well and test again, you should be able to taste the salt (if you’re using garlic salt just keep an eye on the saltiness).
mix seasonings well, everything together should noticeably change the color of the nutritional yeast when you started, but specific measurements are definitely to your preferred taste.
For the Chips
In a large bowl toss:
1 bunch kale, torn in pieces with tough stalks removed
with some olive oil to coat.
Liberally sprinkle the cheesy mixture over the leaves, use your fingers to make sure to get the flavor in all the leaves. Toss a bit, then sprinkle some more until well coated.
Spread on a large cookie sheet (give the leaves some room!) and bake slowly, in a 300°f for about 12-15 minutes. After about 10 minutes pull the tray out, toss the leaves and check for brownness, you want to stop just as some of the smaller leaves are browning for maximum crispiness without burning.
The image below is from one of my test runs with the cashew paste version of the nacho sauce. The dressing is much heavier but this recipe should look pretty much the same with the orange of the nutritional yeast and density of the leaves on the tray.