Our Healthy Must-Have of the Week: Kale Chips

kalechipsWhen it comes to chips, potatoes pretty much have the market cornered. But what if I told you there’s another chip-friendly veggie with the addiction factor of potato chips, but with far fewer calories and less sodium and fat? That’s exactly what you’ll get with kale chips. As a potato-chip lover, I can tell you these are the real deal.

I’ve always been a fan of kale, a green leafy vegetable with thick skin and curly-ended leaves. But since discovering that it can easily be made into crunchy chips (all you need are a few ingredients and an oven or toaster oven), it has definitely risen to my top five favorite vegetable list, right up there with spinach, tomato, cucumber, and Brussels sprouts. It’s quite the nutrition superstar, too. Just 1 cup raw (it shrinks down considerably when cooked) is packed with more than 50 percent of your daily needs for vitamins A, C and K, and 10 percent of your daily iron needs. It also contains special compounds called sulforaphanes, which may protect against cancer.

The key to making delicious kale chips is to use the perfect temperature, amount of oil, and cook time. After some experimentation, here’s the recipe for basic kale chips that I like best.

Sea Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips
Makes 2 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
1 large bunch curly kale
Olive oil cooking spray (the Misto works really well for spritzing on olive oil)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Wash kale. Dry thoroughly in a salad spinner or with paper towels.

3. Cut kale leaves away from inner stem then tear into smaller pieces (about the size of a potato chip). Place kale in a large mixing bowl or ziptop bag. Coat with cooking spray (spray for about 10 seconds) and vinegar if desired, and toss so that all leaves are lightly covered with oil.

4. Arrange kale pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer, making sure no pieces are on top of each other. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until kale is crispy and breaks apart when bent. The edges of the chips should be just starting to brown.

5. Remove from oven, place chips in a serving bowl and sprinkle with sea salt.

Note: You can use  other ingredients to add some more flavor, including Parmesan, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder and nutritional yeast flakes (which taste just like cheese!)

Nutritional Information
1 serving
Calories: 128
Protein: 4 g
Carbohydrate: 13 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Sugars: 0 g
Total Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Calcium: 182 mg
Sodium: 204 mg

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