Cheesy, Spicy, Awesome Kale Chips

Kale chips are pretty much the perfect snack. They can be everything you're looking for in a snack (salty, crunchy, spicy) and yet they're sneakily healthy! The Lacinato Kale looked great today so I got two bunches and went to work. Normally, I would have used my wheat-free Tamari (or soy sauce for anyone who eats gluten), but because I'm doing another Whole30, I opted for coconut aminos. Go with what you have.

The reason I call these kale chips cheesy is because of the nutritional yeast flakes. I love nutritional yeast - it's my all-time favorite topping for air popped popcorn. Nutritional yeast is awesome for you, and packed full of vitamins and minerals. (B vitamins, zinc, and folic acid to name a few!) I buy this in bulk at my local Whole Foods, but I know Bob's Red Mill makes a good one and I've seen some others on the market. It's really good- if you don't already, start cooking with this stuff!

I only soaked my cashews for an hour. If you have the time you could soak them overnight. Soaking them increases their nutrition content and makes them easier for your body to actually absorb said nutrients.

Sean is notorious for hating all the winter foods I love- squash, kale, brussels sprouts, sweet potato… He ate an entire plate of these when he got him tonight. That's a true testament to how delicious they are. 

  • 1 head kale (any you like- I prefer the Lacinato because I like the flat leaves)
  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked 1 hour-overnight 
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes 
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut aminos 
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 serrano or jalapeño (if spicy isn't for you, skip this) 

Preheat your oven to the lowest setting it will go. Mine is 170 degrees F, but anywhere from 170-200 would be fine. Wash and set the kale aside to dry off. Soak the cashews for anywhere from one hour to overnight. 

Drain the cashews and add them to a mini food processor. (Or blender, or immersion blender, anything that finely chops will do here.) Add in the yeast, coconut aminos, coconut oil, garlic, and serrano. Blend it until it's nicely coming together and has a smooth consistency. Mine took a shake or two to finish whizzing through all the cashews and garlic, but it came around. 

Rip the kale into "chip-size" pieces. Some of mine came out smaller, some came out in long strips, but they were all fairly even. As you're ripping, discard the thin woody stems on the larger leaves. 

Now comes the fun part! Take some of the "cheese" mixture in your hands and massage it into the kale leaves. Make sure to get in all the crevices and cover both sides. I found that literally rubbing my hands around the kale did a pretty thorough job. Arrange these nicely on two baking sheets with either parchment or silpats. (Tin foil would also work here if you don't have a silpat on hand.) 

Roast these in the middle racks of your oven for two hours. I got excited to start the two episodes of Scandel I missed this month and ended up leaving them in there for two and a half hours. They were fine. At that temperature, it's pretty much impossible to do any damage. (Try cooking a cheesecake in a 180-200 degree F overnight for a foolproof, no-crack-down-the-middle perfect pie sometime!) 

To be honest, I had intended on showing you a lovely plate brimming with kale chips. Buuuut then my mom and I ate an entire sheet pan before I remembered to take a photo. What you see here are the last few bits from those two pans. And I am willing to bet Liam eats them tomorrow. They're good and they're good for you. (Two things that can and do go together.)