You might’ve noticed that kale, along with quinoa, sriracha, and sea salt caramel everything, is one of those trends that everyone seems to love these days. I’m pretty sure most of us, myself included, didn’t know what kale was until a few years ago, but now, all of the cool kids are eating it (or at least wearing it on their sweatshirts after Queen Bey started the KALE sweatshirt trend a couple of years ago with those YALE lookalike sweatshirts).
Kale’s popular for good reason, as it’s been called one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and the “king of greens.” One cup of raw kale has 206% of your daily recommended Vitamin A, 684% of your needed Vitamin K, and 134% of your recommended daily Vitamin C, plus lots of other vitamins and minerals. Each cup also has 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, with just 33 calories (source). If you want to learn everything there is to know about this leafy green, check out this awesome article.
With the kale I received in my mystery produce box, I decided to make kale & lentil soup and kale chips. First up: kale chips! I’ve heard people describe these as tasting just like potato chips and while I wouldn’t go that far, I think they ARE a delicious and super healthy snack! Plus, you can feel great about eating a giant bowl of these crispy kale chips. Be forewarned: you will feel like you’re eating crunchy leaves. Because you are. But they’re delicious crunchy leaves, nonetheless.
A few tips for making crispy kale chips (no soggy or burnt chips allowed!):
1. Wash and dry the kale leaves well. Water left on the leaves will “steam” them during baking and lead to soggy chips. I use a salad spinner to remove most of the water, and then I pat the leaves completely dry with a clean paper towel.
2. Remove the thick, woody stems in the center of the leaves because those stay tough even after baking. I grab the base of the stem with one hand and push along the stem to quickly and easily separate the leaves from the stem.
3. Spread the leaves into a single layer on the baking sheet for even baking. To achieve maximum crispiness, I try to resist the temptation to overcrowd the pan, even if it means using two baking sheets or baking two separate batches.
4. Watch the kale chips closely near the end of their baking time. Since they’re so thin, they can go from perfectly crispy to totally burnt within a couple of minutes.