Yesterday was my last day working for the YMCA. It's one thing saying goodbye to adult co-workers because I know we can text, email and Facebook each other to stay in touch, but leaving a group of 1 - 6 year olds who I've grown to love over more than a year of being charged with their nutrition... it's a lot. It didn't help that they drew me cards of their favourite foods (many that I encouraged them to give a chance, and then they ended up liking) and wrote me a song (titled "Us Will Really Miss You").
I think beyond even quinoa, falafels and tofu crumbles, my greatest accomplishment with those kiddies was kale chips. After all, what kid (what adult even) will willingly believe that something bright green is going to taste like potato chips? I kid you not, by the end of each meal that included kale chips they would be begging for more "green chippies". It felt amazing to think of the incredible nutrients going into their growing bodies with each bite, thanks to a great recipe.
1 bunch of fresh kale
1 T oil
1 tsp sea salt
Your favourite flavourings: a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, a squeeze of lemon, a dash of red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast (there are great recipes for vegan "nacho cheese" kale chips using cashews - try them!), garlic, apple cider vinegar (my fav), chili and lime zest... go crazy!
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Wash the kale but then dry it really well. This is totally the key to good kale chips - they need to be mega-dry.
Cut the hard middle stems out. This is the other vital key to good kale. You don't wanna eat that tough part, it will make you hate kale forever.
Cut or tear the leaves into bite size pieces. Toss with remaining ingredients. Make sure every piece is coated.
Lay them out, in a SINGLE LAYER (really important tip #3) on a lined baking sheet. You can use parchment, foil or grease up a good baking tray.
Bake for about 10 minutes. You want them to be very crispy but not burnt. I will often get them almost there, then turn off the oven and open the door. This will drop the oven's temperature drastically but allow them to finish drying out, almost like a dehydrator.
Once cool, use a pancake-flipper (what is the real name of that?) to collect them all up in a towel-lined basket and serve!
I'll bet you could eat the whole batch yourself in one sitting so you may as well triple it and leave the leftovers in paper bags for kids' lunches or for late night snacking.
By the way, for every cup of kale you eat (and this recipe would give you more than that) you're getting:
2x your daily vitamin A needs (in the form of beta-carotene so it's safe)
1.4x your daily vitamin C needs
6x your vitamin K needs (this is both EXTREMELY good for you, and very hard to find in other foods)
fibre, copper, manganese
only 33 calories
So, enjoy some today!
* Ready to eat kale chips are available in many health food stores but you'll pay a pretty penny. This recipe should cost you under