Kale: From leaves to chips

My family loves kale chips. We love leafy greens in general, but it is amazing what a transformation kale undergoes when heated at low temperature in the oven.

My kids can devour an entire head of kale prepared this way in five minutes flat. And unlike potato chips, kale retains its nutritional value when made into chips. Kale is high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A and calcium, as well as B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. It’s fat- and sodium-free, and the minuscule amounts of olive oil and salt used in my recipe barely bump up those amounts.

My basic kale chip recipe simply involves kale roasted with sea salt and olive oil. But that is just the wonderful beginning to an entire universe of kale chip possibilities.

For something a little bit different, try furikake kale chips. If you’re unfamiliar with this Japanese seasoning, it’s made of tiny pieces of seaweed combined with sesame seeds, salt and sugar, and sometimes other ingredients such as flaked bonito. You can find it in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets or at any Asian grocery store. It’s intended for rice, but it’s great on everything. A sprinkling of furikake will transport you and your kale chips from your kitchen to Japan.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, washed and completely dried
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons or more furikake (for furikake kale chips)

Directions

  1. Wash whole kale leaves, shake out or dry in a salad spinner, then place on a rack to dry thoroughly (this can take an hour or several hours).You can also dry the leaves thoroughly with towels.
  2. Preheat oven to 275 F.
  3. Once kale leaves are completely dried, tear leaves off the fibrous central stem into potato-chip-sized pieces and place onto two baking sheets in a single layer with some space around each leaf. (Spacing is very important — it allows air to circulate and the chips to crisp.)
  4. Sprinkle on salt and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, about 1 tablespoon per baking sheet. Toss with tongs to evenly distribute salt and oil.
  5. Place prepared kale leaves into the preheated oven, and bake for 20 minutes, turning over leaves halfway through baking.
  6. Remove from oven and, if making furikake kale chips, sprinkle furikake liberally over leaves. Allow to sit for a minute, then serve.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

For furikake kale chips:

  • Calories: 190
  • Carbohydrate: 22 g
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Sodium: 267 mg
  • Sugar: 1 g

Contributor

Linda Shiue, MD

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