The first time I ate a kale chip, I thought, “What’s the big deal? This is what people are raving about? It tastes like kale and salt!” I avoided kale chips for awhile…until I remembered that I really enjoy barbeque potato chips. I thought, “Why not throw some smoky-sweet goodness on these chips?” That's when I became a convert.
The first time I made these kale chips, I ate the whole batch. I hope you like them as much as I do!
1 bunch of curly kale, washed and dried
2 TBS olive oil
4 tsp brown sugar
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ - ½ tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, depending on your taste
Pinch of granulated lemon peel (optional)
Lemon wedges to garnish (optional)
Trim the tough ends from the kale leaves and discard. Tear the leaves into larger than bite-sized pieces (they’ll shrink when you cook them).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, spices, and lemon peel. Add the kale leaves on top of the spice mixture. Like many of us, kale appreciates a good massage, so massage the spice mixture into the leaves until they are well-coated. Spread the leaves evenly on an ungreased sheet pan in a single layer. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinate.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Place the pan on the middle rack and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and using a spatula, gently stir the kale. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 10 – 20 minutes or until the kale chips are crisp. Remove the kale chips from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Serve as is or squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the top—it really brightens the flavor of the kale chips and complements the smoky sweet spices.
Don’t Freak Out!
1) This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled; just use at least two sheet pans and alternate the pans in the oven halfway through the cooking time.
2) Try crumbling the kale chips on top of bean soup or hummus. They’d also be good on a sandwich--like turkey & provolone, pulled pork or chicken, or avocado, onion & lemon juice.
3) The spice mixture can also be used as a rub for chicken, firm tofu, potatoes, or corn-on-the cob.
4) I’ve also made this with lacinato (also called Tuscan or dinosaur) kale. My supermarket sells lacinato in small bunches of only 5 to 6 leaves; so I use two bunches instead of one. Lacinato has a tough center vein; trim off the lower thick section of the vein and discard.