I tried to make kale chips a few years ago when a friend told me how much she swears by this simple, healthy snack. A bad oven and an impatient cook (guilty!) burned them just a little bit. And you know what? They were terrible!
But after tasting some incredibly flavored dehydrated kale chips, I made it my mission to try again to make them successfully at home — but without a dehydrator. And this time, it worked! Here's your ticket to healthy-style Doritos. Seriously.
If you're fortunate enough to have the pantry space for a dehydrator, then you can just skip the oven directions here and go about your merry way. For those of us who have to rely on an oven to do the trick, it's no surprise that the key is keeping the temperature very low. As in, as low as your oven will go. And prepare to wait it out for a few hours while these chips dry out.
The wait is worth it, however. Somehow, the hodgepodge of ingredients come together to taste, well, cheesy. In a good way. Think of these as your healthy Doritos, and they'll disappear as quickly.
In my grocery store, as is probably the same in yours, the path immediately leading up to the checkout is lined with snacks. Impulse shopping snacks. I've never felt swayed by any of these, until boxes of cheesy kale chips made their way to the shelf that sits right before the checkout. I've been staring at them longingly for weeks, and the only thing that keeps me from throwing them in my cart is the hefty price tag.
I'd never considered making my own version of those kale chips until coming across Stephanie's recipe. These look just like the chips I've been eyeing at the store, but cost a fraction of the price to make.
Making kale chips does take a couple hours, but the process is really easy. This is an ideal recipe for when you find yourself home for the afternoon or when you're spending the evening in.
- Kelli, May 2015
Cheesy Vegan Kale Chips
Serves 2 to 4 as a snack
3/4 cup cashews
1 bunch kale, washed and dried
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1/3 cup nutritional yeast (not to be confused with brewer's yeast)
1 lemon, juiced
Cover the cashews with water in a small bowl and let them soak for at least one hour before proceeding.
Preheat oven to the lowest heat setting (mine is 180°F). Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Drain cashews and set aside. Trim stems from each kale leaf and cut each leaf into chip-sized pieces.
Combine the cashews, garlic, soy sauce, oil, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine kale and cashew paste, stir until all pieces of kale are evenly coated. Place kale pieces on baking sheets, allowing space between each piece so they do not touch or overlap. If you have leftover kale that doesn't quite fit on the baking sheets, refrigerate it, covered, until first batch has finished baking and then bake a second batch.
Bake the kale until crisp and completely dry, between 2 and 3 hours. Check after the first hour and turn leaves over. Check kale periodically. Chips will be ready when crunchy and stiff and topping is dry and doesn't feel chewy or moist.
Kale chips will keep in an airtight container for one week.
This recipe has been updated — first published October 2012.
(Image credits: Kelli Foster)