Potato and corn chips are an easy reach for gluten-free snacking but not always a good idea. They are freighted with fat and it’s easy to just keep on eating because they are crisp and tasty and salty and convenient.
To give my family a break from store-bought chips I frequently put in a few extra minutes and make kale chips. Kale chips are not a bad joke. They are crisp and tasty and because they are baked contain much less oil than deep-fried chips. They are easy to make and inexpensive. What’s not to like?
There are many recipes for baked kale chips, some work, some don’t. The recipe I developed does work and will provide you with enough chips for several servings with leftovers to store in an airtight container. The recipe also makes enough for a party.
Some tips: Kale comes in many forms in the market. In the farmer’s market it comes in loose bunches. It’s a lot of work to wash the bunches, and then strip the leaves from the stems. In the supermarket it most often comes in bags, and the most convenient form is a 16-ounce bag of ready to cook kale greens. That means it is already washed and torn for you. One of these bags makes about 4 (half-sheet) pans of kale chips.
However, you still need to cut away and discard any stems (they’re tough) and also to dry the kale. One recipe suggested “patting the kale dry with paper towels,” very time consuming. I have found that the easiest and quickest way to dry the kale is to place several paper towels in the bottom of a salad spinner, add the kale in 2 layers with a towel in between and a towel on top. Then spin for dear life. This does a very good job of getting excess moisture off the leaves.
Timing is another issue. Some recipes say “bake for 10 minutes,” and some say “bake for 15 minutes.” Ovens differ and often the top rack bakes faster than the bottom rack. So here is my foolproof kale chip time tip: Bake 2 half-sheet pans of kale at 350°F for 15 minutes, but rotate the pans midway. When the 15 minutes are up, turn off the oven and open the oven door. Allow the kale to cool in the oven for another 30 minutes. Then remove it, allow it to cool completely to room temperature.
Store it, loosely packed, in an airtight container.
- 1/2 of 1 (16-ounce) bag of ready-to-cook Kale greens
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or canola oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- Extra cheese, as needed, optional
- Divide the kale in half into 2 batches (about 6 cups each). Place paper towels in the bottom of a salad spinner; add 1 batch of kale in three layers with paper towels in between and on top. Spin well.
- Transfer the dried kale to a very large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the cheese. Toss well with silicone spatulas to coat well.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper. Spray paper with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the kale on the parchment paper-lined pan and distribute evenly. Spray the kale very lightly with nonstick cooking spray and, if desired, sprinkle very lightly with additional cheese.
- Repeat with the second batch of kale, the remaining oil, salt and cheese.
- Place the 2 pans on oven racks spaced widely apart and bake for 15 minutes, switching the pans top to bottom in the middle of the baking time.
- At the end of 15 minutes, open the oven door and let the pans cool in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and allow the kale to cool completely to room temperature.
- Serve right away or store in an airtight container.
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