A trip to Shop’n Kart in Ashland wouldn’t be complete without discovering some new foodstuff. Usually it’s wedged in the middle of an aisle, offered at a sale price courtesy of the store’s purchase of more cases than usual.
This time, it was Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale. The stiff leaves are brighter green than the usual kale chip because, according to the package, they’re neither baked nor fried. They’re dehydrated at temperatures below 115 F to preserve vital enzymes. They’re also seasoned with vegan “cheese,” a combination (judging from the ingredients list) of red bell pepper, cashews, sunflower seeds, lemon juice and nutritional yeast.
For $1.98 for the 2.5-ounce package (that’s actually a lot of dried kale), I thought they were worth a shot. However, I did pause for a minute to consider the kale in my garden that I easily could turn into my own “chips” in the oven.
While I usually braise or stir-fry greens, baked kale is a deliciously healthy way to satisfy the craving for something savory, salty and crunchy. Kale, as mentioned in a recent post about green smoothies, is full of calcium, iron and vitamins A, C and K
And it only takes a few minutes to make kale chips, provided you don’t care about whether you’ve lost a bit of the nutritional value by heating your greens. Enjoy a wide range of flavor profiles by mixing the salt with a pinch of cumin, red-pepper flakes, curry powder or any dried herb or spice.
Shop’n Kart had stocked Brad’s “Vampire Killer,” which lists garlic second-to-last and, quite honestly, isn’t all that garlicky. There’s also “Nasty Hot,” which has jalapeno pepper and cayenne, and builds a bit of a burn after a few pieces.
Here’s how to make your own snack.
1 head kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons vinegar (optional)
Sprinkle of sea salt
Heat oven to 350 F.
Wash the kale leaves and use a towel to blot dry or spin in a salad spinner. Tear or cut leaves free from stems.
If using curly-leaved kale, discard stems and tear kale into potato-chip size pieces. If using lacinato kale (also known as dinosaur kale, black kale, Tuscan kale, etc.) remove stems with a sharp knife, leaving two long strips.
Place leaves on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to evenly coat. Add the vinegar, if using, and toss again. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Kale will shrink and turn crispy. (You may need to bake in more than 1 batch. Be careful not to overbake; kale chips burn easily. To be on the safe side, cook kale at 300 F instead.)
Remove from oven and sprinkle with the sea salt to taste. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in an airtight container. Makes 4 servings.