Sunday, January 23, 2011

Calling All Kale Chip Afficionados!

I made kale chips today. It's the latest in my ongoing saga of trying to invent a fruit or vegetable dish that my 17 year old son is not allergic to and will like. If you don't know the background, Hans is allergic to tree nuts -- that is all nuts except peanuts. It is a serious, life-threatening allergy with links to certain fruits and vegetables. At first I found this hard to believe, but the allergist confirmed it. If something makes Hans' mouth itch, I cannot insist he eat it. Hans' health has been poor lately and I am sure the lack of many fruits and vegetables in his diet is the cause.

So -- kale chips! I have found many simple recipes for kale chips with differing cooking temperatures, lengths of cooking time and other instructions. I settled on a compromise and cooked the first batch at 325 degrees for 10 minutes (not crisp), then another 5 minutes (burnt -- stunk up the whole house). So I tried another batch at 300 degrees for 13 minutes. The kale chips mostly turned out pretty good but were only crunchy here and there. They were still a little rubbery and I would have put them in a little longer but was afraid to burn them.  Then it dawned on me that maybe I am using too much olive oil. Or maybe I took the "single layer" admonition too seriously. Maybe it is okay for them to be bunched up a little at the higher temp.

I ate the crunchy/rubbery batch myself and thoroughly loved them, but I know I will not win my boy over with kale chips like these. Are any of you kale chip chefs? What are your tricks? I am indebted to you for any knowledge you can send my way. Thanks!


  1. I am obsessed with kale chips! I've never made them in the oven though. I use a food dehydrator (this one to be exact which actually turned out to be a great investment, considering kale chips cost about $10 in nyc. For the chips, all I do is chop the kale, rinse is under water, shake it off and place it on the trays with some see salt. No oil! And the best part is you don't have to worry about burning them.
    Buuut if you're making them in the oven I read somewhere that 300 degrees for 20 mins should do the trick. But then again, all ovens are different. Try experimenting with different toppings like vinegar or make a "cheese" sauces with nutritional yeast. Yummm I could eat a whole bunch of these! Good luck!

  2. Oooh a dehydrator! Never thought of that -- thanks for the tip!

  3. That sounds like a big task trying to find food that doesn't activate the tree nut allergy. Sounds like a lot to think about! As for me, my favorite kale recipe is dry grilled (read: no oil!) on the top rack in our grill. When my husband grills his stuff or I make veggie burgers or grilled pizza, I always throw a few kale leaves on the top rack for a few minutes and when they are crunchy I take them off. No salt or anything. Usually they don't even make it back in the house. Of course, dry grilled may not leave anything by way of nutritional value, but it's just a snack, right? The ones I buy at whole foods (occasionally--they are pricey!) have nutritional yeast as a cheesey substitute.

  4. Thanks, Stephanie -- great suggestion. I'm gonna try it! This morning I got him to eat some miso soup.

  5. This popped up in my reader today and I thought of you...not sure if you follow Katie or not: