While reading an article in the latest copy of Vegetarian Times about using your dehydrator to make healthy snacks, a friend told me that Ellen recently gave Lady Gage a kale bikini. I turned the page and there was a recipe for kale chips. I was inspired. And it didn't hurt that I found a Nesco dehydrator on sale the next day. It was like someone was telling me I had to make kale chips. So I did.
These chips are crunchy, sweet, and salty with a hint of citrus. It was quick and easy to prep and ready in one night. I portioned the chips out and will be taking them to this weekend's debate tournament to munch on instead of the less healthy snacks that will be available. Can't wait!
In addition to the incredible flavors, these kale chips are also good for you. Kale is rich in vitamins A, C, and K as well as a good sources of calcium. There are also a number of studies that suggest diets that include cruciferous vegetables like kale may reduce your cancer risks.
This recipe also includes nutritional yeast which is a dry, yellow, inactive yeast that has a cheesey flavor. It is a good source of B12, protein, and fiber. You can usually find it in the bulk section of health food stores. If you haven't tried it before, don't be afraid of it like I was the first time I bought it. It has a distinct smell but one I have grown to love. In addition to using it in this recipe, I also recommend sprinkling it on air-popped popcorn after drizzling the popcorn with unfiltered olive oil. Yum.
Using the dehydrator has several advantages over attempting to make kale chips in your oven. First, is that the chips maintain their bright green color instead of browning and don't get brittle. Second, you have the option to prepare the chips at a lower temperature if you prefer to eat a raw foods diet. Finally, according to "How to Dry Foods" written by Deanna Delong, energy costs are much higher using a traditional oven.
1 bundle of curly kale leaves, approximately a lb
5 tsp organic canola oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1.5 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
Tear kale leaves into pieces about the size of your palm or slightly smaller. Tear around the more bitter center stalk to avoid including this tough and chewy part of the leaf. Wash and spin dry the kale pieces.
Toss kale with oil, juice and salt. Make sure to coat the leaves. Add the nutritional yeast and toss to coat the leaves.
Lay leaves out on the dehydrator in single layer and set temperature to 125 degrees. It will take two to four hours to dry to a crisp chip. Check at the second hour and then again periodically, removing the smaller leaves which will become crunchy before the larger, more dense leaves. You can choose to set the temperature lower if you are only eat raw foods, but it will take longer to come to a crisp.
Store in an airtight container in a dark cool place.
Makes approximately 5 servings - 89 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein
(modified from "DIY Fruit & Veggie Chips," Vegetarian Times, October 2010)