DIY Kale Chips

Depending on what pocket of the nation’s cultural foodscape you occupy, kale chips maybe the latest eco-snacking craze to sweep your community, or they may be something you’ve never heard of. I live in Portland, Oregon, so you can guess which camp I’m in. I’m very familiar with kale chips as something I regularly don’t buy when I pass them on the shelves at the grocery store. I don’t tend to buy packaged snack foods, in general, and I’m skeptical that anything with the word “chips” in its name could be worth $8.

While I don’t tend to buy things in bags, I clearly do tend to experiment with foods, so making my own kale chips at home seemed like a good project. Having a bunch of kale and collards in the garden out back made it even more appealing. Here’s the bunch of greens I started with

Kale for Chips

So when my local grocer put a variety of kale chips on sale last week, I bough the most heavily discounted one (Alive & Radiant Foods’ Kale Krunch) and took note of the ingredient list: Kale, Pumpkin Seeds, Lemon Juice, Chia seeds, Olive oil, Salt.

I did not have all of these things in my pantry, but figured I could wing it. In my food processor, I blended a handful of soaked hazelnuts, a few cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, tumeric, red pepper flakes, and enough olive oil to make it into a paste. I then massaged it onto some torn up kale and collards (stems removed) and threw it all in my trusty dehydrator overnight.

Finished Kale Chips

The result was not perfect, but it was a perfect first try — tasty and with lots of room for improvement. The flavor was good, though I think I oversalted a little. The key points to improve will be the oiliness — they left a little more sheen on my fingers than I would have liked — and the probably related fact that my nut-spice paste fell apart and did not stick to the leaves once it all dried out. I suspect by making the paste more water-based than oil-based next time would address both of those problems. Lemon juice, as listed on that ingredients list, would probably be one good option, and I also wonder how a touch of apple cider vinegar would do.

The kale and collards in the backyard need time to grow back from that bulk harvest, but I’ll give this another shot in a couple weeks. For more ideas, I may conduct some more research by reading ingredient lists on various brands next time I’m at the store. Or maybe I’ll just buy a package. Crazy.


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