Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kale Chips

Aaron and I are working on increasing our vegetable intake these days. One of our goals when we got married was to avoid the inevitable newlywed weight gain. The problem has been that I love cooking and Aaron loves eating my cooking! I cook pretty healthfully most of the time, but this month with the new year ahead we decided  to work a little harder on our diets which means more vegetables. I am always on the lookout for good vegetable recipes, because as much as I love them they can get boring if you don't change it up. As I have mentioned before, I love roasted vegetables. The crunch, crispyness and caramelization that roasting brings to vegetables really gives them new life in my opinion. The usual vegetables that I roast are green beans, asparagus, broccoli, peppers and potatoes. Next up- kale.

Kale? Isn't that the green curly lettuce they use to decorate trays on a buffet? Yes, that's the one! For years I have known that kale is very healthy. It is full of vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and maganese. It actually has over 20 nutrients in it and one of the most important benefits of kale is that it is full of antioxidants which fight cancer cells and it is anti-inflammatory. The problem with it I think that most of us (including me) don't know what to do with it. Its probably not the best raw, so sauteed would be one option. I don't really like cooked spinach, so I have just assumed that cooked kale wouldn't be my favorite either. I once heard of a dietitian who drys kale and sprinkles it in all sorts of foods like spaghetti sauce and even brownie mix. Nice idea but also seems like extra work to me.
This past year I saw two blog posts about kale chips. Interesting idea- chips make out of a leafy green. Both of these bloggers raved about the kale chips, so finally this week I decided to try it. It was so good that I actually made them twice! Aaron's first response was "These are kale? They taste like chips." I think kale chips is one of those recipes that you really won't believe until you try them. They sound strange but really are surprisingly delicious. You can flavor them how ever you would like. I have been sticking to salt, pepper and garlic, but experiment until you find your favorite combination. These make getting in those veggie servings a little easier and tastier! Enjoy!

A few other kale chip recipes:
Lemon Kale Chips
Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips
Baked Kale Chips

Kale Chips
*I apparently didn't really check the above recipes before I tried these. All of those recipes above recommend an oven temperature of 350 degrees. I actually roasted mine at 450 degrees. Both times they turned out fine but a few turned brown and I had to watch them pretty close, so you may want to try the lower oven temperature.

One bunch of kale (I used the curly kind)
olive oil
Kosher salt
garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rinse off kale and dry very well. Chop kale into 1-2 inch wide strips and place on large baking sheet)
2. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic. Massage oil and seasonings into leaves briefly.
3. Place sheet into oven for about 4-5 minutes. Redistribute leaves with a spatula and return to oven for about 3-4 more minutes. Kale should be crispy and starting to turn brown, but not completely browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

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