Oven-Baked Kale Chips
They may not be potato chips, but they’re a close second. These crispy and nutrition-packed chips are sure to be gobbled up quickly. If you’re looking for a healthy and tasty way to cook kale, try whipping up some kale chips. These are very easy to make by tossing chopped kale in a small amount of olive oil and then baking the chips in the oven until they are crispy. This method of cooking retains all the nutritional value of the kale, creating a low-calorie, nutrient-dense snack that is quite beneficial for your health.
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse when it comes to supporting eyesight. One cup contains 206 percent of your vitamin A needs in the form of beta-carotene, which helps protect the surface of the eye. In addition, a 2011 study from the National Eye Institute found that beta-carotene, in combination with other nutrients, helped reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration.
Kale contains no cholesterol and no unhealthy saturated or trans fats making it a good choice for cardiovascular health. The olive oil you use in making the kale chips is a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. When monounsaturated fats are consumed in place of saturated fats or refined carbohydrates, they can help to lower your LDL — or “bad” — cholesterol and raise your HDL — or “good” — cholesterol. Olive oil also contains phenolic compounds, a source of antioxidants that researchers believe have protective effects against cardiovascular disease.
In addition to the nutrients that help with eyesight and heart health, kale chips contain a variety of other important nutrients. In 1 cup of kale chips, you’ll consume 134 percent of your daily vitamin C needs to support immune function and more than 600 percent of your daily vitamin K requirements for proper blood clotting. The olive oil used to make the chips also contains 10 percent of the daily value for vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties.
My top 6 tips for baking the perfect kale chips.
1. Remove the stems and tear leaves into large pieces
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of chewing through woody baked kale stems. I remove the stems very quickly by grabbing the base of the stem with one hand and pushing outwards along the stem to slide off the leaves. Works like a charm!
2. Wash and thoroughly dry the leaves before beginning
If the leaves aren’t properly dried, the water can “steam” the kale chips while baking and lead to the dreaded soggy kale chip! Be sure they are nice and dry before you massage in the oil. A salad spinner works great; just be sure not to overload it so the leaves can properly dry.
3. Don’t skip the oil, but don’t drench it in oil either
A little bit of extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil, if you prefer) goes a long way. I like to use ½ tablespoon of oil per baking sheet of kale chips. “Massage” the oil into the leaves to ensure all the nooks and crannies are coated. Oil also helps the spices stick to the leaves.
4. Spread kale into a single layer on the baking sheet
I used to dump all the kale into a very thick layer on the baking sheet and hope for the best, but doing this tends to lead to soggy, unevenly baked kale chips. I’ve learned to be a bit more patient and spread them out into a thinner layer on each baking sheet. Be sure to rotate the baking sheet half-way through baking. There’s no real need to flip the chips unless you have the patience for it.
5. It’s all about the low-heat for even baking
Remember, the goal is to crisp the kale, not scorch it into smithereens! In my oven, I bake at 300F for 10 minutes, then I rotate the pan, and bake for another 15 minutes. So 25 minutes total for kale chip perfection in my oven. This will vary based on your oven, but it’s a good starting off point!
6. Cool for just a few minutes on the baking sheet
I’ve found that waiting just 3 minutes allows the kale chips to crisp up even more once they are out of the oven. Just like baked cookies or roasted chickpeas, kale chips really firm up even more when cooled. Those 3 minutes will feel like hours though. I won’t lie.
Bonus tips: Avoid adding liquids (such as vinegars or hot sauces) pre-baking as liquids can result in soggy chips. It’s best to add a light spritz of liquid seasoning after they’ve been baked, if at all. Also, if your oven has one, feel free to try out the dehydrator or convection setting.
One bunch kale cut in bite sized pieces
Salt and pepper ( you can try different seasonings depending on your taste)
How to Make It:
Preheat your oven to 300 F. Wash the kale thoroughly and rip it up into bite sized pieces, discarding the stems.
In a large bowl, toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper. You can get creative with the seasonings, if you’d like.
Spread the leaves on a large baking sheet, being careful not to overlap the pieces. Bake for about 25 minutes or until they’re crispy.