Kale chips are one of my all-time favorite healthy homemade snacks. People often say they’re uber healthy cousins to potato chips. I think they’re closer to roasted seaweed, as they’re ultra light and crisp. I make big batches of kale chips whenever I can and keep them handy for round-the-clock snacking.
I was inspired to make an especially large batch last month, when I threw a birthday party for my 7-year-old son at a bounce-house heaven that doesn’t allow any outside food other than “cake, chips, and candy.” Are you kidding me?! So I decided I would find a way to get around it, while still playing by their rules. Kale chips fit the bill perfectly.
Trader Joe’s carries bags of pre-cut curly kale, which work in this recipe, although for best results, you should remove the tough stems. I used Dino kale (also known as Tuscan kale or elephant kale) from the farmers market, specifically so I could call them “dinosaur chips” for the fun factor. I packaged them up in wax paper bags and made adorable Dino Kale Chip labels decorated with a hungry dinosaur. I felt quite proud as I handed these munchies out to a roomful of screaming 1st graders, who gobbled them down without a second thought.
WARNING: These chips will get soggy if stored with bread, so please don’t pack them with a sandwich in your child’s lunchbox. They must be stored separately. I once made the mistake of putting kale chips and a sandwich in the same container, and the chips were limp by lunchtime. Have you ever heard the trick of storing a slice of bread in with cookies to keep them chewy and moist? The same principle works here. Moisture from the bread will migrate to the chips you worked so hard to make, so keep those chips in their own container!
Now the other secret I will share with you is my foolproof method for baking kale. By way of background, I should disclose that I am notorious for burning things. It seems I regularly put something on the stovetop or in the oven, run downstairs to my home office in the basement to get just one urgent thing done, and am jolted back upstairs by a screeching fire alarm alerting me to a charred burnt mess. After too many batches of burnt kale, I stumbled upon a foolproof formula. I let the kale slow-bake in a very low heat oven, and that way there is no chance of burning. You can leave the kale in for an hour, or even 2 hours. It just simply won’t burn if the oven is on very low. After an hour, I usually turn off the oven and let the kale continue crisping in the oven, sometimes even overnight.
If you’d rather try the regular baking method for kale chips, bake at 350° degrees for 10-15 minutes. But take heed: kale chips go from crisp to burnt in a flash, so you really need to keep a timer handy and stand watchful by the oven for the last few minutes.
- 1 (10 oz) bag cut kale, or 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 21 Seasoning Salute or other spice blend, or salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to either 200° degrees (my preferred method) or 350° degrees (traditional method).
- Wash kale and spin dry thoroughly using a salad spinner. Drizzle olive oil over kale and mix/rub with your hands until all kale leaves are lightly coated with oil. Sprinkle with seasoning.
- Place kale chips evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- BAKING METHOD 1 (low heat): Bake for 1 hour or more, stirring once or twice, until kale is crisped. I often leave the kale chips in the oven after turning the heat off, to further crisp.
- BAKING METHOD 2: Bake for 10-15 minutes until kale is crisped, stirring as needed. Watch kale carefully, because it can go from crisp to burnt in a flash.
- Place on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Do NOT pack in the same container with a sandwich, because the bread will make kale chips soggy. Store separately.