Kale Chips, Revamped!

These days, my Saturdays always play out the same way: After waking up, too late for the batch of pancakes and farmers’ market excursion that I’ll invariably promise myself the night before, I transfer my wardrobe to the trunk of my car and head south.

Not to some exotic locale to indulge in a few days of adventure, but to my sister and brother-in-law’s place, where I’ll catch up on a week’s worth of laundry and conversation, and exchange whatever domestic appliance I’d borrowed the week before for something new. Sometimes, I’ll even stop for groceries during peak hours. Kids: welcome to life at 24.

Upload from April 02, 2012As a thanks to my hosts for supporting me and my appliance needs as I reconcile my own competing views of what’s age-appropriate — one side taking no issue with spending a Saturday ferrying an iron across town, the other refusing to admit that it might be time to invest in one of my own — I use the time between loads to cook. Old favourites, like no-knead breads and pizzas, warm nicoise salads, nostalgia-rich coffee cakes. Kale chips.

Upload from April 02, 2012

A few weeks ago, precisely a year after the three of us devoured our first of many batches of these addictive green chips, a recipe arrived in my inbox: kale chips, flavoured with a delicious coating made from tahini, soy sauce, green onions, garlic and more. So this past Saturday, an hour late and with vacuum and laundry basket in tow, I set off to make my sister and brother-in-law one of their old favourites, with new style.  

Upload from April 02, 2012The results: a super-savoury and substantial chip that, like the original, boasts an addictive, salty crunch that will linger on your mind and in your teeth long after the last chip disappears. The recipe makes loads — six trays for me — so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to experiment with the level of coating: massage just a little bit into each bite of kale and the kale-y flavour will shine through; add more, and the sauce will take centre stage. Either way, the results are delicious. 

We served ours with a smattering of green onions — a bit of freshness to balance out the richness of the chips — but agreed that they would go equally as well with a chilly beer or atop a steaming bowl of jasmine rice. I suppose I’ll have to make another batch to find out!
Kale Chips
Shared with me by David, who got the recipe from his mom, who sourced it from her friend Cath!
Makes loads — at least six baking sheets of chips. If you’re after fewer chips, simply cut the recipe in half (note than half of 1/4 cup is 2 tbsp)

2 bunches of kale, washed, ribs removed and leaves torn into even, chip-sized pieces (about 16-20 loosely-packed cups of leaves)
3/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)*
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
Sea salt

Position two oven racks in the middle-most positions in the oven and preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
2. In a large bowl, combine tahini, soy sauce, vinegar, water, nutritional yeast (if using) onions and garlic, and whisk until smooth.
3. Add kale pieces to bowl — either one at a time or in larger batches, depending on what you find easier — and massage an even amount of sauce into each piece of kale, making sure to spread sauce into the curly edges of the kale. 

Upload from April 02, 20124. Transfer kale pieces to baking sheet, doing your best to spread out each piece of kale to its maximum size to allow it to crisp evenly and leaving a bit of space between each kale piece. Sprinkle kale with a light but even dusting of sea salt. 
5. Transfer trays to the oven and bake chips for 35-50 minutes, or until crisp. The baking time will depend on how saucey you’ve made your chips, with saucier chips taking more time to cook.** 
6. Repeat steps 3-5 until all chips are cooked. Eat as soon as chips are cool to the touch. Store leftovers in an airtight container and re-crisp in a 250 degree oven for a few minutes before serving.   

Upload from April 02, 2012*Nutritional yeast is a bright yellow, powdery form of yeast that’s rich in B-vitamins and amino acids. Depending on who you talk to, nutritional yeast tastes nutty, creamy and even cheesy — it’s often used to flavour vegan substitutes for cheese! While it’s not necessary to the success of this recipe, it does add a savoury complexity to the final result, and any leftovers can be used to top of mashed potatoes, popcorn, or to flavour scrambled tofu. You can find nutritional yeast at most health food stores (I buy mine here). 
**According to my sources, you can also crisp these guys by giving them four-or-so hours in a dehydrator.  

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