It wasn’t all that long ago that I had kale for the first time and it was love at first bite. One of my favorite things to do with kale is make Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. It think it’s probably my all time favorite soup. Sausage, potatoes, kale, and crushed peppers all mixed up in a creamy soup base. Yum! Add my crusty homemade Artisan bread and a glass of chardonnay and it is the perfect winter meal.
My love affair of kale led me to a recipe for kale chips and I was immediately intrigued. A healthy, crunchy, salty snack that I could feel really good about eating? I had to try it. My first attempt was rather a dismal failure. I added way too much olive oil and the chips were just too ladened with oil to be enjoyable. But I had a bunch of kale getting a little droopy in the fridge and decided I’d give it another shot, making an adjustment to the amount of olive oil this go-round.
With a pair of scissors, I folded the kale in half and cut down the center of the leaf to remove the stem. Then I roughly tore the leaves and added them to my salad spinner with some cold water and a splash of white vinegar. I’ve recently started to soak my greens in the vinegar/water solution to help kill any potential bacteria lingering on the leaves. Plus, I was hoping it would help perk up the wilting kale.
This spring I decided to add kale to my garden line up and, although the plants aren’t very big yet, I did harvest a handful of leaves to add to the store bought bunch. These guys are much perkier!
After thoroughly washing all of the torn leaves I sent them for a spin dry in my salad spinner. I love this baby!
Once the kale was dry, I coated them with a mist of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. My mistake the first time making these was to use the olive oil right from the bottle. It was too hard to control the amount that ended up on the kale and, as a result I was way too heavy handed. This time I wised up a bit and opted instead for my Misto. This is my new secret weapon to making the perfect kale chips!
Once coated, I spread the kale on 3 of my Excalibur dehydrator trays.
Then into the dehydrator they went. I set the heat on the high side in the deyhdrator because I thought it might help the wilted kale to crisp up a bit. In this case I set it to 145 degrees. Normally I like to keep the temp lower for fruits and veggies so as not to kill any nutrients. I understand these can also be made in an oven on a low temperature setting like 250 degrees. Just keep a close eye on them so you don’t burn them.
One thing I totally forgot to account for was the S.T.I.N.K. these guys put off when drying. Ewwww! I made these the day I was having my wine tasting and I was horrified to think my guests would walk in and smell this horrid smell! Fortunately, it only took about an hour for the chips to dry and the air was clear before my guests arrived that night. Whew!
Here’s what the chips looked like when I took them out of the dehydrator.
This batch turned out just the way they were supposed to and, though most of my guests had never tried them before, they seemed to enjoy them. They certainly made for an interesting conversation! Next time I think I’ll get a bit fancier and try adding some other flavors like garlic or even balsamic vinegar.