Shannon of the alternative-nugget recipe also gave me this handy little recipe for kale chips. She says her 4-year old loves them. I tried them at home, and lo and behold, my little Merrie ate them, lots of them, happily. So did I. And folks? That recipe? It’s kale. I mean, almost entirely kale.
Let’s talk about kale for a moment. It’s one of the most nutritious vegetables you can find, filled with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, phytonutrients (those handy cancer-fighting nutrients), fiber, and all kinds of essential amino acids. It grows well into winter, so it’s a terrific cold-weather option that you can buy locally. It even looks pretty growing in your garden.
I want to serve kale. I believe in kale and all it’s immune-boosting, health-restoring, nutrient-feeding green glory. But here’s the thing: if my family doesn’t eat it, if it just gets pushed to the side of the plate or spit out in a napkin, it doesn’t do us much good. That’s why I am delighted, nay thrilled, to pass along this most simple recipe for kale chips:
Wash a large bunch of kale
Tear off chip-sized pieces of leaves
Place on a tray that’s been lightly coated with olive oil
Sprinkle with salt (if you sprinkle with salt while the leaves are still wet, the salt just melts right into the leaves.
Place in low-heat oven until crispy
The truth is, it can be even easier than that: being lazy, I didn’t even coat the tray with olive oil the first two times I made it.
What’s low heat, you ask? I’ve tried it both times in a 250-degree oven, and it took about 20-25 minutes to get truly crispy. But a quick Google search showed me that far more people are using 350-degree ovens for shorter amounts of time (10 minutes seems average) to get the same result.
Lest you think that Merrie (or Shannon’s daughter) is one of those freaky kids who eschews junk food and subsists on a diet of tofu and beets, I assure you this is not the case. It seems that lots of kids like these chips. A University of Wisconsin extension project involved 201 elementary school students in making and tasting this recipe themselves. According to the study, 99% of the kids had never heard of kale before. After they made the kale chips, all but one of the kids tasted them. And 99 of them (just under half) liked the taste on the first try. Okay, not all of them liked them. But half? On the first try? Seems worth a shot, especially since kale is so inexpensive.
Let me know what you think of them.
UPDATE: I’ve been making this with purple kale. Today I tried it with the all-green kind, and I have to say, I much prefer the purple kind. Perhaps I just overcooked today’s batch, but it was thinner and less tasty than previous attempts. Merrie still ate it (and asked if we could bring a bunch to school for her friends – that will be the next test). I just didn’t think it was as good.