We’ve all felt it. That nagging sense of regret that comes with eating a bit too much junk food and far too few veggies. We know we should get our greens, but why is it so hard to do sometimes? Those crispy, salty potato chips stare us down, begging us to indulge, until finally we cave. Then, adding insult to injury, they leave us with a stomach ache that serves as an unpleasant reminder of our indiscretion.
Now don’t get me wrong, indulgence has its place, and I fully believe that food should be both nourishing and enjoyable. But isn’t it easy to get in a rut of poor eating habits? That’s where I’ve been lately. It started with food aversions at the beginning of my pregnancy, but in the last few months it has become more about comfort and pleasure. It’s true that a salad still doesn’t sound all that good to me right now, but with a little creativity, I’m realizing I can make better choices even with my current limitations.
Enter roasted kale chips. These puppies deliver the best of both worlds. Salt craving? Satisfied. Crunch? They deliver. Not only are they delicious, but every time I make them I am giddy inside knowing I’m absorbing their goldmine of antioxidants as well as a heaping portion of vitamins A, K, and C. And if that wasn’t enough, kale is also a good source of calcium and iron. What’s not to love here?
Roasted kale chips are a lot more nutritious than a bag of Lay’s, but trust me, they are just as addicting.
- 1 bunch kale
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Start by removing the thick stems from each leaf, and tearing the leaves into bite size pieces. Rinse the kale in a bath of cold water to remove dirt and take it for a ride in a salad spinner. Too much moisture will result in a soggy chip, so be sure to get out as much moisture as you (reasonably) can.
- Once dry, toss the kale leaves in a large bowl with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Start conservatively, and then add more as needed. You want enough to coat the leaves, but you don’t want them to be oversaturated. Next, spread them out in a single layer on a couple of parchment-lined, rimmed metal cookie sheets.
- This is the fun part. Sprinkle the kale generously with kosher salt (chips are supposed to be salty, right?) and a couple cranks of freshly ground black pepper.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges start to brown. I usually set my kitchen timer for 8 minutes, and then watch them like a hawk after that. It doesn’t take much to take these kale chips from perfectly crisp to burnt and crumbly.
- These are scrumptious straight off the pan, but I also love them with a side of ketchup. The tangy sweetness of the ketchup is the perfect counterbalance to the salty chip. Delicious!
Tips and Tidbits:
- Any kind of kale will do, but I prefer the curly variety. It makes for such a light texture and the twisted edges become a beautiful golden brown. Lacinato kale (sometimes called dinosaur kale) also works well and has a milder flavor.
- Parchment paper – is that the same as wax paper? Not quite. While there are some differences in the actual construction of the papers, what matters here is the coating. Wax paper is coated in a paraffin wax that will smoke when exposed to high temperatures (the only safe oven application is using it to line the bottom of a cake pan so that all the paper is covered by the batter). Parchment paper, on the other hand, has a silicone coating and is typically safe up to 420 degrees. It’s a pretty fool proof way to keep food from sticking to the pan, whether roasting kale, potatoes, or some other produce.
- A rimmed baking stone will work instead of a parchment-lined metal baking sheet when roasting vegetables, but in my experience, the results aren’t as favorable. While the food doesn’t stick, it also doesn’t crisp up quite as nicely. More and more, I’m transitioning to using my baking stones just for breads and pizzas.
- In addition to the salt and pepper, you could opt to add flavorings such as paprika powder, granulated garlic, or a finely grated hard cheese like Parmesan or Romano. You could even add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor without the dairy.