Crispy Baked Kale Chips are the most fun way to enjoy your veggies. Airy, light and extra crunchy, these tasty greens go fast!
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One of our weekly Imperfect Foods staples is kale! It's a hearty, versatile green that can be added to just about any meal! It can be sautéed, tossed into soups and stews, and whipped into salads, but our absolute favorite way to enjoy it is as Crispy Baked Kale Chips! Well seasoned and baked until super CRUNCHY, we can't get enough of these tasty greens!
Kale Varieties. There are several varieties of kale that exist, but our favorites for baking are the traditional Curly or Dino/Tuscan Kale.
Curly is the kind most people probably think of when they hear the word "kale". As the name implies, the bright green leaves are tightly curled and they have a peppery and somewhat bitter flavor. They lend themselves well to baking, sautéing, and added to hearty soups and stews. We love their ruffled leaves because they are perfect for holding seasonings for baked chips!
Dino or Tuscan kale is darker green with long, smooth leaves. The leaves look somewhat reptilian, which is probably where the nickname originated from. This variety works well for baking, sautéing, and sliced thinly for salads.
Kale Chip Tips
Dry Your Greens! To achieve extra crispy greens, it's important to rinse and remove as much water as possible prior to baking. Trapped water can leave kale soggy in spots, or cause the greens to retain moisture hours after baking. Water can also leave a "bleached" look on baked leaves. From a taste standpoint it doesn't make much of a difference, but visually it lacks that classic dark green hue. We like to place freshly washed leaves in between several rows of paper towels and give them a good pat down. Then, after tearing leaves from their stems, we pat them down a second time just to make sure there is no water remaining. Since we're all about repurposing and reducing waste, you can then reuse the paper towels for cleaning or washing other produce!
Low and Slow Baking. To achieve that perfect crisp, the kale should be cooked slowly and at a reduced temperature. You can think of it as gently dehydrating the leaves! Baking at too high a heat can quickly char your greens.
Seasonings. Kale chips are incredibly versatile and work with many everyday seasonings. Most commonly we use the basic salt, pepper, and garlic powder combo but the possibilities are endless! Nutritional yeast adds a nice cheesy flavor, curry powder adds a pop, and a lemon juice and parmesan cheese is incredible too! In the fall, we go crazy for a savory combination of Trader Joe's' Umami and limited edition Everything But The Leftovers seasonings. Sounds odd but trust us, it is SO good. Even non kale fans will be impressed.
Crispy Baked Kale Chips
- 2 bunches curly or dino/Tuscan kale
- 1-2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon each, salt and pepper
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes optional
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two sheet pans with foil, parchment, or a silpat; set aside.
- Thoroughly wash and dry kale leaves. Place between paper towels to remove as much water as possible, as this helps your greens crisp as they bake. Remove leaves from stems and roughly tear into bite-sized pieces.
- Add leaves to a bowl and drizzle oil over top. Using your hands, massage the leaves well for 1-2 minutes, until all surfaces of the leaves are evenly coated with oil. Add your seasonings and massage again until evenly mixed.
- Place kale onto a baking sheet in a single layer, careful not to overlap.
- Bake for 12 minutes, flip, and bake for another 12-14 minutes, or until kale is crispy.
We almost always keep kale on hand, but frankly, hubby isn’t a fan unless I make these crispy snacks! Thanks for the recipe!
Stephen & Elise Compston, RD, LDs
Oh thank you! So glad to hear these are spouse-approved!