Recipe: Hail to the Kale Crisps

Kale Crisps RecipeRecipe:  Kale Crisps

Last week, in my local grocery store, a smallish crowd had gathered around a table with free samples. Of course, I had to see what that was all about.  Turned out to be dark greenish crisps made of kale, and sprinkled with hot and spicy stuff.

That sounded good, so I reached for the potato-chip-sized-bag to throw in my cart. But the price stopped me.  $7.99.  Were they kidding?  When a bag of potato chips costs less than two bucks, could I justify spending eight for snacks?

I don’t think so.  I don’t buy potato chips, why should I buy the pricey kale?  Well, kale is healthy for one.  Kale is one of the superfoods: loaded with vitamin C, beta carotene, iron, manganese, calcium and potassium.

Kale, along with the other brassicas (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli) helps the liver to neutralize potential carcinogens.  What’s not to love?

Yes, I love kale braised, and tossed into winter soups, sautéed with sweet onions and garlic, but who knew it could be a snack? So, no I wasn’t willing to pay nearly eight bucks for 8 ounces of the dried crisps, but I did find a recipe to make it at home.  Here ya go.

Hail to the Kale Crisps

Makes about 8 cups

1 large bunch kale (substitute collards, spinach or other sturdy dark leafy greens)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice + grated zest of ½ lemon

¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

¼ teaspoon (or to taste) cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 300˚F. with two racks in place in the middle and bottom positions.

Cut stem from the kale, then cut the leaves in half, and then cut into 2-3-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl with oil, lemon juice and zest, and parmesan.  Season with cayenne and salt.

Arrange leaves on 2 cookie sheets covered with parchment paper, single layer, (OK if leaves overlap a bit). Bake about 15-18 minutes, or until crisp.  Check and remove the first ones to crisp, using tongs to move them to a parchment covered surface. Continue to bake until all crisps are – well – crisp.

Cool to room temperature then store in zip locks or cookie tins, up to a week.   Yum.

1 cup Kale crisps yields about 80 calories, 6 grams fat, 3.5 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams sugars, .25 gram protein, 3 grams salt

Check this nutritional readout against a bag of potato chips.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised.