Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cheezy Vegan Kale Chips

I think I discovered kale chips about a year ago and I'm officially addicted. I've been buying them an average of once a week and they can cost around $7 for a few ounces at the health food store. Kale grows easily in New England and is available at farmers markets for around $2 a bunch. I got mine from Parker Farm at the Union Square Farmers Market in Somerville.
fresh kale is cheap, healthy, and great for the planet
I know people who make their own kale chips, so I set out to make my own. You don't need a food dehydrator if you're not raw, but a lot of the recipes I found online did call for dehydrating rather than baking. I didn't have the patience to wait (a sign of addiction?) and none of the books in my library had a recipe for kale chips, so I improvised!

Step 1: make the Cashew Cream.  (Note that the cashews have to soak for a while, so best to do this ahead of time)

Step 2: season the Cashew Cream. I added about a teaspoon each of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, freshly ground black pepper, and sea salt, but you can season however you want. A few tablespoons of nutritional yeast add the "cheezy" flavor. Pay a visit to your local health food store for nutritional yeast if you have no idea what I'm talking about. (You can often buy it in the bulk section by the scoop and it makes a great popcorn topping!) I noticed that a lot of recipes called for bell pepper, which would add some great nutrition and flavor, but I didn't have one handy. 

Step 3: Rinse the kale and tear it into smaller (but not too small because it will shrink a good deal when you bake it) pieces. Pat or spin it dry so the "cheeze" sticks. 

Step 4: Coat the kale with the cashew cream mixture. Just pour it on top and toss it with your hands in a large bowl. 
coat the kale in your "cheezy" cashew cream
Step 5: Spread the kale thin on a parchment lined cookie sheet (2 sheets should be enough for 1 bunch of kale). Bake at 375 until crispy. (I forget exactly how long this took, so keep an eye. My gut is telling me 15 minutes, then flip with a pair of tongs and bake for another 10-15, but it depends on how your cheeze to kale ratio, which I'm still perfecting (hence no measurements here)
spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment
I got really impatient at the end and cranked the heat up and then got distracted and forgot about my precious kale chips, so they were a bit tooooo crispy, but hey... lesson learned! Will try again soon! Kale is SO easy to find and to grow, especially here in the Northeast!
bake until crispy with a little golden, but don't overcook

Full Disclosure: I volunteer for the Union Square Farmers Market by helping with their social media strategy and tactics.

This post was shared on:
The Healthy Home Economist's Monday Mania