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Spicy Lime Kale Chips

March 30, 2013

Kale. For years, known to me only as that weird green cabbage-esque plate garnish, might be edible but why bother?

It turns out all I had to do to fall in love was put it in the oven...

Kale chips are a revelation to almost everyone who tries them. Baking this uber-healthy leaf instantly turns a health food to a snack food, which can (and will) be consumed in mass quantities. And local bunches are now popping up at farmer's markets, so it's a great time to experiment with fresh spring greens. I bought two big bags (for a very reasonable $2 a bag) today at the Qualicum Beach Farmer's Market, which had been picked at a local farm early this morning, can't get fresher than that!

There are two reasons why I think kale chips go over so well with both adults and children. Sadly, it's not their look, as this snack ain't 'pretty', per se, but it all changes when you take that first bite. The texture of kale chips are amazing, it's a feather-light crispy chip that makes a satisfying "crunch" noise, then melts away in your mouth. The second reason why kale chips rock is their ability to be a neutral vechical for big flavours. Olive oil and citrus combinations are my favourite, and adding a hit of hot sauce makes these chips damn near irresistible.

Notes on technique: The following Spicy Kale Chip recipe is hilariously simple and can be oven-ready in under 5 minutes. But there are two enemies to the perfect kale chip - over-dressing and over-crowding. Do not pour dressing over your kale with abandon, as it will make it too soggy to crisp up properly. Lightly dress while gently tossing the leaves, then slowly adding a little more dressing at a time until everything is lightly coated. And don't over-crowd your baking sheet - the moisture of too many kale leaves bunched together will steam the lot (still delicious, just not a chip).  Use two baking sheets if you need more space, just make sure you switch the the upper and lower oven racks 1/2 way through baking. Try not to over-bake the chips as they will turn bitter.

Notes on ingredients: I really like the tang of lime in this recipe, but have had equal success with lemon, which gives it a brighter flavour. And although I call for sriaccha hot sauce below, Franks Red Hot or Louisiana-style hot sauces also make a great spicy chip.

 

Spicy Lime Kale Chips

Ingredients:

One large bag of kale (any variety), washed and dried (dry leaves make crispy chips)

Juice of 1/2 a lime

1/2 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil

1-2 teaspoons sriaccha hot sauce

Sea Salt

 

Heat oven to 200. Pull kale leaves off the stalk, tear into chip-sized pieces and place in a large bowl.

Mix lime juice, hot sauce and oil in a small bowl.

Drizzle the leaves with mixture, while tossing to lightly dress each leaf.

Spread kale out on a baking sheet in a single layer, making sure all leaves are flat and unfolded. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, turning once and checking occasionally. You can also turn the oven off after 20 minutes and leave them inside as it cools to finish crisping.

Devour!

And if you need any more reasons to scarf down a bowlful of kale chips - here's the top ten health benefits of kale.

 

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April 19th
I made these kale chips today. Terrific!
Erring on the side of caution I dressed
them only with olive oil and sea salt. They
are delicious like that but now I can imagine
them with lime or lemon juice or coconut oil etc.
I also appreciate the direction for a 200
degree oven. Higher heat shrivels them
up into nothingness. One out of two baking
sheets went that way. Still delicious
and munchable. Thanks Gwen

Glad they worked out! Coconut oil is a great option, healthy fat that gives the chips an extra boost.



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