Homemade Kale Chips From The Oven – No Dehydrator!

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Everyone loves Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale, but it can be an expensive habit. And since at the moment, I have more kale in my garden than I know what to do with, I thought, there must be a way to make leafy kale chips myself.

MaryJane’s Farm magazine had a comprehensive how-to in the June 2013 issue, but alas, it involved a food dehydrator (dessicator.) The search for an oven method led me to Dreena Burton’s Plant Powered Kitchen, where she gives excellent directions for oven-made crispy kale chips, as well as a nice recipe for a flavor coating based on tahini, tamari and maple syrup. Yum!

No Dehydrator Necessary, Just Use Your Oven

Dreena gives detailed directions for the cooking technique, but the gist of it is:

1. The kale must be spun or blotted very dry.

2. Hand mush the flavoring mixture with the kale leaves to coat them.

3. Line the baking trays with parchment.

4. Cook the kale on the lowest heat your oven offers (my oven calls it “Warm”) for about an hour.

5. Then turn the oven off, and alternate 15-20 minutes off with 15-20minutes on until the chips are dried.

And, I would add these tips:

6. Encourage even, faster drying by hand turning the chips a few times.

7. If they’re not quite done by bedtime, turn the oven off and leave them overnight;  they’ll be done in the morning.

Prepare to spend the evening nursing your kale chips along. The rewards are well worth it, though!

OK, The Fun Part:  Toppings!

I have what seems to be a unique, shortcut approach to flavor toppings for kale chips.

I start with any kind of vegetable or chip dip, or salad dressing, as long as it ends up the consistency of pesto in order to stick to the kale.

In fact, kale chip coating is a great way to use up the last bits of salsa, marinades, dressings and condiments that are sitting around in the fridge!

My only rule is, I like to have cream, sour cream, or soft or hard cheese involved to give the chips some body.

Here are 3 simple recipes:

Leftover Salsa Kale Chip Coating:

1 bunch of fresh kale

1/2 cup mango habanero salsa

1/2 tsp. butter

1/2 T. ground flax

1-2 T. heavy cream

fresh ground sea salt

Blend the salsa and flax in a food processor until no longer chunky. Then cook the mixture down in a saucepan with the butter over med-low heat until thickened to almost peanut butter consistency (stir frequently.) Meanwhile, rinse and shred the kale into chip-sized chunks. Spin or blot until perfectly dry. Add heavy cream to the thickened salsa until it’s the consistency of pesto. In a large mixing bowl, work the shredded kale and the salsa mixture with your hands until the kale is well-coated.

Easy Veggie Dip Kale Chip Coating:

Have some leftover veggie dip, like the spinach / artichoke / parmesan I had in my fridge? No further mixing necessary. Just grab a glob and mix with your kale. You probably don’t need any extra salt for this version.

Salad Dressing Kale Chip Coating:

For this, I started with some homemade olive oil / red wine vinegar dressing with a touch of mustard and garlic. Throw in some flax and finely ground walnuts to thicken, and a tablespoon on finely processed cranberries for fun. Cook in a saucepan over low with a bit of crumbled blue cheese until it’s a good consistency for coating the kale. Grind some sea salt over the kale before drying in the oven.

Whatever coating you create, arrange coated chips on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake according to Dreena’s instructions. Voila!

But don’t forsake Brad, his chips are still the best. I can’t get mine quite as green and meaty as his are!

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