Spicy Kale Chips

Yields a bunch of chips (about 3 cups)

That it’s taken me this long to write about kale is a mystery.  It’s arguably my favorite green and it is a staple in my kitchen.  Whether I saute it with garlic, nuts and dried cranberries (or solo!), shred it in soups, make pesto with it, eat raw in salads, or as in this recipe, make it into a ridiculously addicting and nutritious snack, kale always seems to find a way to sneak its way onto our plates from breakfast to dinner.

Rebecca Wood says that kale is the grandmother of the cabbage family.  When I think of that statement, I think of old, wise, strong and hearty and indeed kale is all of those things.  Kale is strong enough to endure frost and snow and its flavor is even sweeter after all that work.  Wait, kale is sweet?  Yes, kale is sweet but lightly, so that the bitter and pungent flavors play well with the sweetness. What you get is mouthful after glorious mouthful of yummy, earthy, warming flavor!

Now for the kale’s wisdom:  As the grandmother of the cruciferous veg, you can bet that it packs a real serious punch against cancer, especially breast, colon, ovary, bladder and prostate cancer.  The fiber in kale also does wonders for reducing cholesterol.  It’s deep green hue means that it is an incredible source of chlorophyll.  Chlorophyll has antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties.  Kale is kryptonite to free radicals and oxidative stress!  And, in the event some of you are still on your detox regimen, “kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. New research has shown that the Isothiocyanates made from kale’s glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.”¹  Is that good news or what?

I know that detoxing isn’t an easy process, especially if it’s the first time you embark on that journey.  But, this crunchy snack is sure to help!

If you’ve opted out of the detox route for now, don’t fret, kale really is for everyone!

You’ll need:

Preheat oven to 200°

1 large bunch of curly kale (I’ve never made these with Tuscan Kale, but let me know how it comes out if you give it a go!)

1-2 T extra-virgin olive oil (I used the oil reserved from my garlic confit for added flavor.)

1 t sea salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Red chili peppers, sliced or red pepper flakes, to taste

To make:

1. Stem and wash kale and set on clean kitchen towels to completely dry.

2. Spread kale leaves evenly  on a sheet pan and drizzle 1 T of oil on the leaves.  Toss them to make sure all leaves have some oil but aren’t truly “wet”.  1 T is usually enough since you don’t want the leaves weighed down by the weight of the oil.  If you have a super large bunch of kale (lucky) then you can go with the other T.

3. Add sea salt, ground pepper and chili peppers/pepper flakes and toss to coat evenly.

4. Set the sheet pan on the middle rack and set your time for 15 minutes.  Check back and turn leaves over using tongs.  Let the kale cook for another 15 minutes.  You may need to adjust the time depending on your oven’s heat and circulation.  A convection oven tends to produce drier, lighter chips.  (If using a convection oven, you can set temp to 175°.)

5. Remove from oven when done and enjoy right off the sheet pan (I usually do) or wait till it cools before putting it into a serving bowl.

¹http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

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