Here’s a fun and tasty way for kids to get their leafy greens. Bake up a batch of these Crispy Nacho Kale Chips and watch them disappear!
Kale may still be a trendy veggies–but it’s not necessarily kid-friendly.
Don’t get me wrong: I like kale–raw, cooked, curly, dinosaur, baby, all of it. But kale can also be bitter. And for kids who are still learning to like veggies–especially for super-tasters who are especially sensitive to bitter flavors–this leafy green may have been a no-go in the past.
But kale chips change everything! Especially when they’re coated with savory nacho “cheese” flavoring. This kale chips recipe was inspired by a recipe for popcorn seasoning from Bob’s Red Mill, which makes the star ingredient in these crispy kale chips…
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Yes, nutritional yeast looks a lot like fish food. But it’s yummy, I promise! And your kids will like it too! Nicknamed “nooch” by its hardcore fans, nutritional yeast is a deactivated form of yeast (it’s not the same as the yeast you use to make bread) and lends a cheesy, savory flavor without any dairy.
Nutritional yeast is fortified with B vitamins including B12, which is especially helpful for vegetarians and vegans since B12 is primarily found in animal products. It’s also low in sodium and typically gluten free.
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My kids love nutritional yeast sprinkled over stove-popped popcorn (here’s our easy popcorn recipe). You can use it to season roasted vegetables, potatoes, and scrambled eggs. You’ll also spot it in vegan recipes for dishes like this Vegan Power Mac and Cheese.
How to Make Crispy Baked Kale Chips
Remove the leaves from the tough center stem of a large bunch of curly kale (about 14 stems’ worth). An easy way to do this is #5 on this list of My Favorite Kitchen Tricks. Tear leaves into large, chip-sized pieces (think large tortilla chips, not small potato chips) and rinse. Dry well with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel so the oil will stick well to the leaves.
Toss leaves with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and rub oil into leaves so they’re fully coated. Arrange on two baking sheets in an even layer.
Bake at 275 degrees F for 10 minutes. Stir. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until crispy. (You can bake both baking sheets at once if your oven can bake them evenly.) Look how much they reduce in size!
While the kale is baking, combine nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, and chili powder in a small bowl and mix well.
Sprinkle seasoning mixture over leaves and toss well to coat. Serve!How to make Crispy Nacho Kale Chips:
How to Make Kale Chips Crispy
The trick for crispy kale chips is to bake them low and slow. If you’ve made kale chips in the past and they’ve come out burnt and crumbly, the oven temperature may have been too high; 275 degrees F seems to be the right temperature for making crispy (but not singed) kale chips. But be sure to keep an eye on them in the last 10 minutes of baking so they don’t overcook.
How to Store Kale Chips
These crispy baked kale chips never last longer than 15 minutes in my house, and they’re best eaten right away. But if you have leftovers, wait until they’re completely cool and then transfer into a container or better yet, a paper bag, for a day or two. If they get limp or soggy during storage, pop them in a 275-degree oven for a few minutes to crisp up again.
Wait, Isn’t Kale on the Dirty Dozen List?
Yes, kale ranked third on this year’s Dirty Dozen list, which is compiled annually by the Environmental Working Group and is based on pesticide residues found on conventionally-grown produce. If you want to choose organic kale, you can do that. If it’s not available, out of your price range, or you’d rather buy conventional, know that residues found on the conventional kale don’t come close to exceeding what the EPA says is safe. The presence of pesticide residue doesn’t mean it’s unsafe or harmful in any way. It’s so much more important to buy and eat lots of fruits and vegetables than to avoid them out of fear and worry!
- 1 bunch curly kale (about 14 stems), removed from center stem
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 pinch cumin
- 1 pinch chili powder
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Wash kale (and dry with paper towel) and tear into large, chip-sized pieces. Toss leaves in olive oil, rubbing with your hands to work the oil into the leaves. Divide between baking sheets, placing kale in a single layer.
- Bake 10 minutes. Stir. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until crispy. (You can bake both baking sheets at once if your oven can bake them evenly.)
- While kale is baking, combine nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, and chili powder in a small bowl and mix well.
- When kale is done baking, use spatula to place chips in a large bowl and toss with spices, doing this in two batches if needed.
- Serve right away.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 handful
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 78 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 275mg Carbohydrates: 3g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 0g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g