Happy #TCJMonday everyone!
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you will know that I love to garden and cook! And nothing is more satisfying than to cooking the food I grow. It amazes me how much produce I can grow in such a small amount of space!
Last weekend, in preparation for replanting my garden for the summer, I harvested all my kale; a great excuse to make Kale Chips! Seriously, kale is amazing, it lasted all summer, fall and over the winter, giving us beautiful leaves all year around!
I am a huge fan of Kale Chips; never bough only made, this recipe comes from a student of mine. Since then I have modified it but only because I am notorious for not following recipes...my style in the kitchen is very freeform, tasting, trial and error...a little bit of this, a little bit of that.... It was odd measuring this batch for you guys, but it turned out delicious, so I hope you enjoy!
It takes a lot of time to make these kale chips, but it is so worth it!
- 10 cups of washed & prepared kale leaves (any variety or an assortment is nice)
- 350 ml (1 1/2 cups) of unsalted roasted or raw cashew nuts (soaking them overnight is optional but not necessary)
- 3Tbls lemon juice (1/2 or 1 fresh squeezed lemon is the best)
- 1/4 tbsp cayenne pepper (or to taste, I like a bit of a bite)
- 1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
- 1 Tbl red chili flakes (added after to taste)
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) water
- 50 ml (1/4 cup) nutritional yeast (optional)
Before you begin, cover as many trays or plates that will fit in your oven on multiple racks with tin foil and set to the side. It is not necessary to cover your trays with tin foil but it helps remove the chips once cooked/dehydrated. For 10 cups of Kale I covered one large & one medium sized tray, two circle trays and one rectangle plate (that is all I can fit in my oven between three racks). Make sure you test out your oven space beforehand! There is no need to preheat your oven.
Once your trays are covered it is time to wash, de-stem and break up your kale.
You can use any variety of kale for this recipe and an assortment is lovely. No matter which variety you choose, de-stemming them is a must.
I try to keep them in as bite-size big as I can. And without being too picky about it, I just remove the biggest part of the stem, often leaving the tops in tact. Place all the kale de-stemmed and in bite-sizes in a bowl and set aside.
Make your sauce: (I prefer using a handheld blender, but any blender will do) add the sauce ingredients into the blender beaker: cashews (drained if soaked), lemon juice, cayenne, salt, water & nutritional yeast. Blend all together until smooth. Stir in red chili flakes. Your sauce will be a thick paste.
Add more water if it is too thick and more cashews if it is too thin.
Dump sauce on top of the prepared kale. Now, this is the part where you need to kneed. I remove all rings and jewelry, this gets a bit messy! Massage the paste into the leaves of the kale.
The kale should be full saturated with the paste and feel a bit limper than before you massaged. Once it is all mixed and massaged, it's time to place the leaves on the tin foil covered trays. This is the part that can take a long time. Rather than dumping all your leaves on the trays, place them individually spreading out the leaves as best you can. Taking the time during this step will allow for the leaves to cook/dehydrate more evenly. I place the leaves as close as I can, if they touch that is fine but try not to overlap them.
Voila, a few hours later your leaves should be ready to cook/dehydrate. Place the trays in the oven (remember you tested it beforehand and you know they will fit!)
I have a wonderful dehydrate setting on my oven that I use. It works perfectly for these but a conventional oven without this function will also work. The idea is to cook these low for a long time. Set your oven to no more than 150 - 160 degrees Fahrenheit depending on your oven (some cook hotter than others). Cook/dehydrate at this temperature for about 3 hours. Check them often!! After 3 hours, turn the oven up to no more than 190 - 225 degrees Fahrenheit depending on your oven (some cook hotter than others). Cook/dehydrate for another 1 - 2 hours until they are crispy. Keep a close eye on the chips; do not let them burn!
Once they are crispy, remove them from the oven and let cool (they wont be very hot). Gently lift the tin foil from underneath bending it to pop the Kale Chips off. If you did not line your baking sheets, use a stiff rubber spatula to gently remove the chips (they are very delicate and prone to break. If they crumble, save the bits, they are great as salad toppings!
Place Kale Chips in a glass jar with a sealable lid for storage. Be sure they are 100% cool before closing the lid!
~ Enjoy ~