Crispy Kale Chips

by feastonthecheap on December 22, 2011

Mary Anne here. This fall, I spent a glorious eight hours up north in horse country with my favorite girl, Mariel. I just love those quiet, mom-daughter days. On this particular adventure, we stopped for coffee on the way and, while sipping from our paper cups, we perused the goodies at a local farm stand. Amidst the pumpkins and squashes was a stack of Kale Crisps, neatly packaged in cellophane containers.

Intrigued by the idea of crunching on something akin to a potato chip – but a whole lot healthier – I grabbed a container for each of us. When I went to pay, I learned the price of this cheap treat was a whopping EIGHT dollars! I shook my head and placed the containers back atop their steep stack and walked away.

I scoured the internet to find out more about creating these vitamin-rich crisps and sussed out several handy facts. First and foremost was that the recipes are all very similar in that the basic combo is olive oil and coarse salt. The variations occur in oven temp and additional toppings – the list of extras is only limited by the chef’s imagination. I opted for some cayenne to add a little kick and then at the last minute, tossed in some finely grated lemon zest to complement the nutty flavor of the crisped kale. I munched on the chips for several days since they kept beautifully in an opened plastic bag – they never lost their crunch!

These are the perfect antidote to heavy holiday indulgences and even if you aren’t a fan of kale, the baking brings out the aforementioned nuttiness, transforming this inherently bitter veggie into a delicious, guilt-free snack. I swear if you put these out among your platters of creamy cheeses and greasy potato chips, the Kale Crisps will be the first thing to go! Bonus – these are a total snap to make and are super inexpensive, plus it’s a terrific use of leftover, uncooked kale destined for a braise or soup dish. So take that fancy farm stand! Oh – and a Merry Christmas to you all!

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Crispy Kale Chips
Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 lb. Kale -$0.99
2 Tablespoons olive oil – stock
Coarse salt, i.e. sea salt or Kosher – stock
The zest of 1 lemon, finely grated – $0.50
Cayenne pepper, to taste – stock
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Pantry: $1.49
Total Per Serving: $0.18

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line your largest baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Wash the kale leaves thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.

3. Remove the tough stems and using a sharp knife, cut out the thick center vein. Tear or cut the leaves into potato chip size pieces. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

4. Toss the torn leaves with the olive oil, coarse salt, and cayenne, coating thoroughly.

5. Spread evenly on the lined baking sheet and roast for 10 to 15 minutes until crispy and the edges just beginning to turn golden.

6. Toss with the lemon zest and allow to cool on the baking sheet. Store in an unsealed plastic bag for up to 4 days.