Kale Chips- Get Creative!

When it comes to kale chip dressing recipes, create your own!

Kale grows well, really well, on our urban farm, and we grow lots of it. My two favorite varieties are the ragged jack and the dwarf Siberian, both heirlooms. The ragged jack has tender leaves that span out from purple tinted stems. The dwarf Siberian leaves are frilly, flavorful, and make a beautiful looking salad. Since we grow kale all year long, and eat it a few times a week or more, I have to find numerous ways of preparing it. We can only have so many kale salads, kale smoothies, and sautéed kale. Making dehydrated chips is an easy option for utilizing loads of harvested kale.

Kale Prep Work

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Whether buying kale or growing your own, there’s some prep work involved. I separate the kale stalks and give them a nice cold water soak to rinse them out well. Then I give them another rinse under cold running water. Because our kale is coming straight out of the ground, I want to make sure the leaves are completely bug free. Once the kale is rinsed thoroughly, tear the leaves away from the stems. It’s okay if the leaf pieces are different sizes. Place the leaves in a colander or on flour cloths and set aside while preparing the dressing.  You’ll want to make sure your kale leaves are semi-dry before tossing with the dressing.

 

Dressing

The dressing is the fun part. You can pretty much combine any ingredients under the sun that appeal to you. Some examples:

Lemon juice-olive oil-salt

Olive oil-salt-crushed garlic-all pureed with fresh basil leaves (Pesto)

Pureed salsa (habanero or Serrano-tomatoes-cilantro-onion-salt-pepper-cumin-garlic powder- Spanish paprika)

Italian salad dressing or Balsamic Vinaigrette

Beef broth or au juice blended with baked potato and cashew nuts

The possibilities are truly endless!

Measurements aside, use enough of your ingredients to toss the amount of kale you want to dehydrate.

Today’s Dressing Recipes:

Today I made two different dressings. In order to get R to eat something green, I have to blend it, mix it with a lot of other things like olives and cheese, hide it in meatballs, put bacon in it, or spice it up with chile sauces. So naturally, I chose to make a simple Siracha dressing for half of my batch of kale.

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Siracha Kale Chips

  • Siracha sauce
  • Chicken broth
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice from half an orange

I mixed the ingredients to taste and made just enough to toss all of the kale I was using in it. Toss the kale leaves with the dressing like you would for a light salad. The leaves should be covered, but not drenched.

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The second batch was more my style. I was feeling sweet and nutty, so I concocted a butternut dressing.

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Sweet Butternut Kale Chips

  • Cooked and pureed butternut
  • Vegetable broth
  • Pine nuts
  • About a tsp of honey
  • Dash of salt
  • Splash of olive oil

I threw all of the ingredients in a blender and pureed. I added just enough vegetable broth so the ingredients would blend together a little easier. I aimed for a baby food consistency. Using my hands, I folded palms full of the dressing into the bowl of kale making sure the leaves were coated but not plastered. Eating the scrumptious leftover dressing with a spoon was not a problem!

If you are using the oven method, I apologize ahead of time. A dehydrator is so much easier and more effective for making vegetable chips. It dehydrates evenly, and hands down, always tastes better. I didn’t know my plight until an Excalibur Dehydrator arrived on my doorstep.

Oven Method

Preheat oven to around 200°F or lowest setting.

Spread out the kale onto parchment lined baking sheets into a single layer.

Bake for about 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 12-15 minutes more until the kale begins to crisp. Keep checking and rotating every 10-15 minutes.

Depending on your dressing, baking can take anywhere between 25 minutes to 2 hours, or until the dryness and crispiness is to your liking. Be careful not to scorch your kale!

Dehydrator Method

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Spread dressed kale leaves on dehydrator trays.

Set the dehydrator at 120°F for up to 12 hours.

These come out perfectly in the dehydrator every time, and I can make large batches since they can be quite addictive!

Storing Kale Chips

If you don’t plan on eating all of your kale chips in one sitting, you’ll want to keep them crispy for later.

Line the bottom of an airtight container with dry uncooked rice, add the chips on top, and snap on the lid. The rice will act as a drying agent keeping your kale chips crisp and moisture free. Enjoy over the next few days.

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Kale, in itself, is full of healthy vitamins and nutrients. Your dressing, however, can be as healthy (lemon juice) and unhealthy (fried bacon bits in bacon juice) as you want it to be. Experiment with your taste buds and creativity!

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