Saturday, December 5, 2009

Kale Chips, Not Just a Bad Joke

Yesterday I was picking up my winter share when I overheard a couple questioning if it was "realistic" for them to take the 2 pounds of kale. If I was the shy quiet type I would have quietly bagged up my share while I ruminated on people with the will power to leave some of the vegetables offered purely because they know they will never eat it. Instead I told them how to make kale chips. After I was done talking they reached for a bag and began weighing out their kale, maybe it was the fact my children love kale chips that sold them. When they were having the same conversation about the Brussels sprouts I suggested that they roast them . As they added those to their bags they both commented that I should have a blog.

My kids don't just eat kale chips, they cheer when I make them. It is one of my very favorite forms of kitchen brainwashing. Yesterday as I was making dinner the kale chips were done first and they began making trips into the kitchen to steal some. At one point Lewis told them no more kale chips until dinner, at which point I wrestled him to the ground to silence his lunatic ravings. Actually I believe the laser beam that shot out of my forehead was enough of a deterrent.

I brought these to a potluck "tea party" at Julian's preschool and anybody who tried them liked them. It can be a challenge to get adults to try new foods as well as preschoolers. I got a real kick out of the adults who would politely and very cautiously take one chip when I offered them. As soon as they tasted them they would ask if they could have more. One of Julian's classmates took a huge plateful and systematically ate the crispiest ones first.

I'm not sure where I first heard about kale chips. I know I saw it on my friend Cheryl's blog but I also heard about it from several friends, there where mentions of them on facebook as well. The first time I made them Sebastian looked at what I was making and said, "Are you making kale chips? I love kale chips." He loves kale chips and I love other people introducing my children to healthy foods. Thank you Alice!

I have taken a little while to post about them because I have been monkeying with the technique and the dressing. In the beginning I was just putting olive oil on them and a sprinkling of kosher salt. They were good, but often times they were either over or under salted. Then there was the issue of temperature and timing. over the last several months there have been many over browned kale chips from my kitchen. I solved the salting issue by adding soy sauce to the dressing and we also like them better with vinegar. The temperature and timing is what works best in my oven. Use this recipe as a guideline as your oven temperatures may be calibrated differently.

Kale Chips

1/2 lb kale (you can use any variety, most often I have used curly kale but lacinato or dinosaur kale also works well)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar (sherry is my favorite one in this recipe, any vinegar will work, play around until you find your favorite)

Preheat the oven to 275° with convection or 325° without convection. Remove the kale from the stems and tear into chip sized pieces. Wash and spin the kale dry and dump out onto a half sheet pan. Whisk the olive oil, soy sauce and vinegar together until emulsified (thats a fancy word for combining together liquids that normally don't). Pour the dressing on the kale and rub it onto all the pieces so they are well coated.

Divide the kale between two half sheet pans and spread out well on each sheet. Place in the oven and cook for 12 - 15 minutes. If your oven does not have convection take the kale out half way through and stir it around to ensure even cooking. The kale is done when it is really crispy. Pour into a bowl and serve, or leave the bowl in the kitchen at child height while you prepare dinner and allow shameless pilfering.


  1. I'll have to try this, Robin. Sounds very similar to the Roasted Seaweed (Korean) that our boys will eat non-stop until it's gone. Hard to find and that farm Kale is just a _little_ bit easier to come by.

    - Chip

  2. Chip, Let me know what you (and the boys) think after you try it. I made it right away after last weeks farm pick up to help deal with the kale storage problem.


  3. Can't wait to try this. Always looking for things to do with kale (from the farm share).

  4. OK, first batch notes. Took me a while, I know.

    1) This has REAL PROMISE. 2 of the 3 kids here just plowed through our entire Intervale farm batch. OK, I helped, but not that much. Is there any other way to deal with a bag full of Kale? No. I'm Irish, I would know.

    2) I was trying to replicate the classic Korean Seaweed experience, as Sabin will eat 400 sheets of the stuff (Kim Nori). As a result, I combined sesame oil with olive oil and a few drops of fish sauce. Results? I used too much oil overall, but a 50/50 mix is close. Can probably do 70/30 sesame/olive, hard to say. I could have used more fish sauce. I'll post results if interested.

    3) Before I forget, I compared with I should have paid more attention to your suggestions and used 275F on Convection Roast. We have new ovens and I don't quite know them as well and 325F was too hot.

    4) As relates to #2, I zinged some salt in the cuisinart, but it was still easy to oversalt. I think the thing to do is salt by hand over the tray and NOT pour it over my new tupperware "bowl" as it oversalted some, undersalted others, and was perfect for about 1/2 the batch.

    Thanks for the idea. I'm working on perfection.

  5. Ooh, I'm going to try this version. Sherry vinegar is my absolute favorite. xo

  6. her kale chips are amazing and we eat them at my school called the intergraded arts academy and every one loves them