Intolerants On the Go: The Beauty of Homemade Kale Chips
I’ve been running around quite a bit these days, from here to there and back again. Being on the move means that I haven’t had much time to devote to many of the things that deserve more time, which includes rather important things like eating lunch. And when I say lunch I mean a proper this is a salad, paired with a generous bowl of soup and there’s something sweet to my left for the finale kind of affair.
Since finding intolerant-friendly foods on the go (read: gluten free and dairy free) can be a tricky thing (yes, even on the streets of New York), and a person can only eat so many apples during the course of a day, I’ve spent a great deal of time on the weekends making stupid amounts of kale chips. I’m talking amounts that defy reason and make you wonder how on earth I’ll eat them all before they go bad.
Kale, as I’ve come to learn, is a wholly versatile and venerable superfood. It’s the superhero of vegetables and comes in a multitude of shapes and forms. Yes, yes, I’m sure you know all this already. You’ll have to forgive me for hopping onto the kale bandwagon five years too late though. Given that I spent most of that time in Egypt – where kale where really nowhere to be found – I think I ought to be forgiven.
After arriving in the the US I went mad over the kale chips I’d procure in Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and all the other organic grocery stores. While I delighted in the novelty of it all at first, I quickly grew tired of them, largely because of the price, but also because so many brands have all sorts of ingredients that seem to override the whole health component of the kale itself. They were processed, some brands within an inch of their life. I mean, why do I need organic cane sugar on my kale chips? Or two tonnes of powdered garlic? Or whey powder?
It was Mama Intolerant who helped me see how amazing kale chips could be…if you made them yourself. Though a bit time intensive, I actually found the process to be kind of fun. It’s a hands on affair where I get to play with my food, I can produce flavours that cater to my every whim, and my superfood goodness can be packed into Tupperware vats that are transported wherever I go.
What could be better than that?
With all that in mind I’m sharing my kale chip 1-2-3s. Nothing fancy, it’s all rather rudimentary in fact, but given that kale is in full force at the moment (I find it at every farmer’s market I’ve been to in the last month), now is a great time to take advantage of the surplus.
Intolerant-Friendly Homemade Kale Chips
- 2 bushels of kale (frizzy, Russian, broad leafed, etc., though my new-found love is for the purply/green Russian kale as it gets wonderfully crispy)
- 2-4 tablespoons of olive or sesame oil.
- Spices to taste (salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, nutritional yeast)
- Hemp hearts (optional)
- Flax meal (optional)
- Also needed: oven and parchment paper.
1. Set oven on the lowest temperature possible. I usually set mine to 200F and use the convection option as I find it speeds up the whole process. If you don’t have a convection oven, just set your temperature on low.
2. Strip the kale leaves from the stalk (I don’t fancy the stalk as it’s quite bitter and doesn’t bake all that well) and rinse and pat dry to remove any dirt/residue. Place into a large bowl and add 2 tablespoons of olive or sesame oil. Turn over the leaves in your hands and make an attempt to coat every leaf with a thin layer of oil. This step is important in helping the kale get crispy. They don’t need to be drenched with oil, but the leaves shouldn’t be dry either.
3. Once coated, place the leaves on a piece of parchment paper. Try to space them out because if they’re stacked on top of each other they’ll take longer to dry/bake and some might remain soggy, which isn’t all that fun…or tasty.
4. When all the leaves are laid out on your parchment paper start going mad with the seasonings that suit your palate. I often make two batches of chips: one with salt, pepper, cumin (sometimes turmeric) and a pinch of cayenne flakes, while the other rack is sprinkled with salt, a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast and a handful of hemp hearts. The idea of hemp hearts comes from Mama Intolerant and it’s a fantastic one, as the hearts adds a rich nutty flavour to the chips and goes well with the nutritional yeast.
5. Once seasoned, place the trays into the oven and set a timer for 20 minutes. You’ll want to check on the chips to see how they’re progressing at that point and if you find they’re still soft, leave them in for another 10 – 15 minutes. If at that point they still need a bit of time, turn up the oven by 50 degrees or so and check on them at 5 minute intervals until crisp.
Et voilà, a perfectly portable and wildly delicious homemade snack is ready to be devoured. Enjoy!