Spicy, Smoky Homemade Kale Chips

March  5, 2015

Every other Thursday, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw shares satisfying, flavorful recipes that also happen to be vegan.

Today: Healthy, easy, affordable, and delicious -- might this be the perfect snack?

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Okay, I admit it: I buy kale chips. In spite of the price tag, in spite of the fact that I’m perfectly adept at making them at home, even in spite of the fact that I have a fancy food dehydrator that I purchased for the express purpose of things like making kale chips, I buy them. I buy them, and if you’re a kale junkie like me, then you’ve probably been known to buy them, too. 

More: 11 other grocery store items you could be making yourself.

Once upon a time, kale chips were an exotic snack food, popular mostly among health food enthusiasts who had figured out that, with a little seasoning, kale can be transformed into an addictively crunchy treat. Nowadays, you might be able to pick up kale chips at your local grocery store or corner deli -- but it’ll cost you. So, in spite of the fact that I’m certainly not above buying kale chips from time to time, this recipe is my plea for all of us to consider making them at home. It’s cheaper, it’s less plastic to recycle, and most importantly, it is so incredibly easy. With a little olive oil and seasoning, you can enjoy a crunchy, salty snack that’s as healthy as it is appealing. And how often can we say that? 

Another bonus of making kale chips at home is that you can adapt the flavor profile to fit your cravings. I’ve made them with herbs like rosemary and thyme and even with a curry-based spice blend. This recipe is for my favorite way to season kale chips -- with a mixture of smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, and red pepper flakes.

The two most important tricks to keep in mind are to layer the chips thinly on your baking sheet -- they may not crisp up properly if they’re piled on top of each other -- and to use the suggested temperature for baking. A temperature that’s too low will fail to crisp the chips up, while an overly high temperature will singe them before you have a chance to enjoy them. And, given how delicious they are, that would be a true shame.

Spicy, Smoky Homemade Kale Chips

Serves 4

1 large bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves washed, dried thoroughly, and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Dash crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher or coarse salt

See the full recipe (and save and print it here).

Photo by Mark Weinberg

Choosing RawGena's new book Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat is a thorough, relatable guide to incorporating raw and vegan foods into any diet. It's full of no-fuss recipes for every meal, which range from fully raw to mostly cooked, with plenty of snacks and desserts to keep everyone happy.




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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.

1 Comment

nancy E. March 5, 2015
The best kale for chips is lancinato. Much lighter