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Monday, December 27, 2010

Baked Kale Chips... A Delicious and Healthy Snack

I love salty snacks so when my mom asked me if I'd ever made baked kale chips I was immediately intrigued. "They come out really crisp and they're so easy to make. You just cut them up, add some oil, salt and bake them" She said. There are all kinds of recipes online so I Googled "Baked Kale Chips" and "Oven Roasted Kale Chips" to find one. Then I was off to the Downtown Campbell Famers' Market to buy some fresh kale.

I found two vendors with organic kale. One was Tomatero Farms from Watsonville and the other was Happy Boy Farms. I've always known that kale is one of the most nutrient dense leafy greens because I used to feed it to my pet parrot due to it's high concentration of vitamin K, C and A. Other health benefits of kale include: It is a natural anti-inflammatory agent, lowers cholesterol and saturated fats, has a decent amount of fiber and has all kinds of nutrients like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, omega fatty acids, protein, folate, phosphorus and other goodies including four B vitamins. CLICK HERE to read more about the health benefits of Kale on the LIvestrong website.

I remember how hard it used to be to find organics and love that now organic is an option seemingly everywhere from the Farmers' Market to Whole Foods to Safeway!

I chose the Tuscan Kale, also known as Lacinato and Dinosaur Kale, which has a very bumpy texture to its bluish-green colored leaves.

And I couldn't resist buying some Rainbow Swiss Chard just because it looked so pretty! In the end I won't do the chard again. It came out ok but neither the flavor or texture were as appealing to me as the kale is.

My expectations were really high that my life was about to be transformed by baked kale chips. I would eat them for snacks and be a better, healthier and more energized person who experienced more enjoyment in my life from all of the nutrients I was about to consume from my future, favorite snack food!

I made one batch of baked kale and one batch of baked chard chips.

I rinsed the whole leaves and cut the leaf away from the stems which you can use for another recipe, compost or discard. After slicing all of the leaves from the stems I cut them into short, bite sized pieces.

I took the bite sized pieces and washed them a second time using a salad spinner to help dry them. To get them as dry as possible I also blotted them on some paper towels. The next step is so easy, you toss the cut kale in a large bowl with a bit of olive oil until it's coated.

This is the Raw Kale about to be Baked

Spread the kale on a cookie sheet and lightly salt. The recipe called for tossing a pre-measured amount of salt into the bowl but the first time I did that it came out way too salty so instead I used a salt shaker and salted as I would to taste which turned out perfectly on my subsequent batches.

And this is the kale after it's done baking in the oven. It looks almost the same just shrunken down a bit, shiny from the oil and some of the leaves are flatter and beginning to brown. I found using the convection option on my oven worked better by shortening the baking time than using the conventional baking option but either way worked just fine.

I started out using this "Baked Kale Chip" recipe on AllRecipes.com by Lucy DelRey. Below are my modified instructions based on her recipe.


1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil (add more if needed to coat all of the leaves)
salt (to taste)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Wash the kale
  • Using a knife, remove the leaves from the thick, white stems and cut into bite size pieces.
  • Thoroughly dry the kale using a salad spinner or pat down with paper towels.
  • Put the kale into a bowl and pour in the olive oil. Toss with a wooden spoon until the kale is shiny and well coated.
  • Place on the cookie sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake until the edges are about to brown but are not burnt, 10 to 18 minutes.
  • The chips should be very, very crisp when you remove them from the oven.
  •  I used a thin metal spatula to lift the chips off of the cookie sheet when they were done baking.
More tips

Baking Time: Just like the recipe said, baking for 10 minutes at 350ยบ produced perfectly crisp, paper thin chips of kale. (depending on your oven you may need to bake longer to achieve the desired crispness).

In the Oven: I found baking one sheet at a time in the conventional oven worked better than layering two cookie sheets at one time. With a convection oven two at once might be ok but I found the lower tray didn't crisp as quickly or as well as the top sheet did.

Parchment: The first time I used the parchment recommended in Lucy's recipe to line the cookie sheet, on subsequent batches I didn't and they came out just fine.

Storage: Do not use airtight containers to store leftovers as I'd read that makes them soggy. In a bowl on the counter with just a paper towel over the top kept mine as crisp as when they came out of the oven for up to two. They may stay crisp even longer, mine just never last that long because I eat them all too fast.

Variations: There are also many variations that call for adding a splash of apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar while you toss the chips in the oil. I tried it once with apple cider vinegar but couldn't really taste the vinegar so next time I'll use more. You can also add in some truffle oil, which I'm also going to try on a future batch. Other seasoning options include pepper, garlic salt and sesame seeds.

Hopefully you'll like them as much as I do and we can all enjoy baked kale chips together and snack our way to better health!

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