Zesty Kale Chips with a Potential Pit Stop at Zesty Kale Salad

We all have our food weaknesses.  Some of us have a major sweet tooth and tend to crave the sugary snacks, like chocolate and ice cream and cookies and brownies, whereas others of us lean toward the more savory side of things and prefer to munch on fries and chips and bread and cheese.  For most of my life, I've been the latter.  Don't get me wrong - I love me some dark chocolate and coconut ice cream, but put a plate of French fries beside a cupcake and give me a choice, and I'm going for the fries every. single. time.

My major food weakness is Cape Cod potato chips.  They're like the mother of all snacks to me.  And I'm cool with indulging once in awhile.  My problem is that if I have them in the house, I eat the whole bag.  Every. single. time.  I have absolutely no self-restraint when it comes to Cape Cod chips.  I just can't stop.  So when the craving hits, I find I have two options.  1. Drive to the store and buy a bag.  Definitely start eating them in the car.  Definitely finish the bag.  Even if it's family size.  I'M SERIOUS.  2. Make this recipe for kale chips.  Okay, full disclaimer: these taste NOTHING like Cape Cod chips.  But for whatever reason, they always scratch my craving itch for a salty, crunch, savory snack.  And when I eat the entire recipe, I don't have the self-loathing associated with a Triple C binge.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that the kale doesn't always make it into the oven.  Because kale leaves slathered in this sauce are delicious on their own.  The last time I set out to make kale chips, I ended up saying screw it, chopped the kale even smaller, put it all in a bowl and ate it as a salad.  One head of kale trumps one bag of potato chips every day - no matter what form it's in.

If you DO end up making the chips, I have some helpful tips for you:

  • Keep your eye of the oven.  Temperatures and times are approximates because every oven is different.  And these guys are super sensitive and burn FAST.[separator]
  •  Cut or tear kale leaves into uniform pieces.  That way, they'll all cook evenly.[separator]
  • Place leaves evenly on a baking sheet in a single layer, so they all have room to breathe.  NO OVERLAPPING.  This probably means you'll have to do a couple batches unless you have a convection oven.
  • Finally - and this is a biggie - kale leaves have to be DRY.  Damp leaves will steam and soften rather than bake to a crisp.  So after you wash them, dry them really, really well.

Zesty Kale Chips and/or Zesty Kale Salad

1 head curly kale

1/4 cup cashews

2-3 sundried tomatos

1 shallot

Juice of half a lemon (about 1.5 T)

1 T olive oil

1/4 - 1/2 cup water to thin

sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. De-stem the kale and tear leaves into smaller pieces. It’s important that the leaves are uniform in size so they cook at the same rate. Put into large bowl.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

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Pour mixture over kale and massage the kale so it’s evenly coated.  [You can make a pit stop here and eat as a kale salad - you may want to chop the kale up a bit smaller.]

Spread kale leaves evenly on a baking sheet. Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes, or until brown and crispy.