Some of us have a hate-hate relationship with kale, but it’s often because it’s not prepared as it should be. And just like any other food, preparation is key to getting the most out of your produce. Kale is incredibly versatile and with just a little love can improve your overall health and digestion.
I wasn’t always convinced on the benefits of kale, but all it took was a little research, a little convincing on Kaeli’s part and I was pretty much there. I still don’t know any other human that eats as many green vegetables as Kaeli, and seeing how she effortlessly incorporates kale into just about any meal made it easy to follow suit.
There might have been a definite trend in kale and it’s nutritious benefits, but this trend definitely has its foundations in science. This dark green leaf; which is actually part of the cruciferous family, along with cauliflower and broccoli, is one of the most nutrient dense ingredients on the planet. With a broad range of vitamins and antioxidants such as Quercetin and Kaempferol, which all help to reduce the oxidative damage in the body caused by free radicals. What many of you may not know, and what I’ve found incredibly astounding is that 1 cup of raw kale contains more Vitamin C than an entire orange, and per calorie contains more iron than beef.
During the winter months we often neglect our green leafy friends and opt instead for warming stews and soups, but it’s essential to maintain a balanced intake of a wide variety of vegetables, including leafy greens. A great way to ensure you’re getting your daily dose is by creating these crispy kale chips that can be snacked on throughout the day. what makes these crispy kale chips even more of a winner are the added benefits you receive from the spices and flavours you pair it with. Lemon and nutritional yeast might be my favourite, but feel free to spice things up with some chilli and smokey paprika.
1. Destem and Rinse
Kale is already quite a fibrous leaf, and the easiest way to de-stem them is to place your forefinger and thumb on either side of the stem and slide your fingers upward towards the leafy area. Stems are perfectly edible so to avoid food wastage, soften them up with a little lemon juice and olive oil and add them to your next stir-fry. With curly leaf kale especially, dirt loves getting stuck in the grooves so make sure you give them a good rinse and dry thoroughly with a clean dish towel.
2. Season Well
This is where the fun of cooking comes in, the seasoning. Kale absorbs quite a lot of flavour when baked making this the perfect foundation for flavour combinations. We chose some smokey paprika, lemon juice, olive oil and a whole lot of nutritional yeast. But you could put your own twist on it and spice things up a little with some chilli or cayenne pepper.
3. Massgae Away
My personal favourite part of cooking with kale is massaging all the flavours between it’s curly leaves and allowing the leaf to soften a little which makes it easier to digest and less chewy if eaten raw. It takes only 1 minute, but the difference in texture is quite amazing.
Lay your kale on a prepared baking tray; the larger the better, making sure your kale overlaps as little as possible. This will allow for even crisping on all the edges. Add your kale to a preheated oven of 110 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes, the lower the heat the better to avoid burning. You want the kale to dry out not burn.
Kale chips are best served immediately and fresh out the oven and with a little lemony vegan mayo on the side.
- 180 gram Curly Kale stems removed
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
Preheat oven 110 degrees Celcius and line a baking tray with foil.
Rinse and thoroughly dry your kale, tearing/chopping your kale into bite-sized pieces.
Add to a large mixing bowl and season with olive oil and seasoning. Using your hands thoroughly toss through to distribute the seasoning and olive oil evenly.
Lay your kale on your prepared baking tray, making sure there is little to no overlap, this helps them to crisp. If required, do 2 batches and bake for 10-15 minutes, until your kale is crispy to the touch and slightly brown. Watch closely as it's easy to burn.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, they'll crisp up some more.
Enjoy immediately, best served fresh but can be stored for up to 4 days.