Eat More Kale

Dried Kale Chips


Kale again?

 Here I am massaging the oil and seasonings into the kale.

No kidding.  Besides the fact that I really like kale, I love to feed people.  That means when I give a class, you can expect samples.  Here I am making a batch of dried kale chips.


Last weekend, I taught a couple of workshops on the many faces of food preservation at the Vermont NOFA winter conference.  Saturday’s workshop was an overview of the pros and cons of the various different food preservation methods. Most of the folks at the workshop were new to food preservation, I had to deliver the idea that each method involves a trade-off – whether it is time, storage space, dependence on electricity, use of plastic, or nutrition.  There is no perfect method of food preservation for all foods in all conditions and at all times.


I brought samples of dried kale chips, which may be the best reason to explore dehydration.  Dehydrators are great for wild mushrooms and all manner of snack foods, from seasoned seaweed (more on that at another time) to dried berries.  Unfortunately, my dehydrator (bought at a yard sale for $10) is a small-capacity dryer, and just doesn’t seem practical for serious food preservation.


No matter, the kale chips are delicious – the perfect snack for a long car ride.  Tomorrow I am off to the Rhode Island Flower Show to talk about making pickles and winter salads.


Dried Kale Chips

Makes about 8 cups

 Don't crowd the kale on the dehydrator sheets. I have both lacinato and curly kale here.

Any type of kale can be used.  I have a slight preference for lacinato kale because it is flatter and fits better in the narrow space between trays in the dehydrator.  Don’t overdo the salt; it doesn’t require a lot.


1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped (about 8 cups packed)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder


Toss the kale with the oil until well coated.  Sprinkle the salt, garlic powder, and onion powder over the kale and toss to distribute. 


Spread out on dehydrator trays.  Dry for 4 to 5 hours at 125°F. 


Store in glass jars. 


It isn't the most beautiful food in the world, but it is delicious.

Eat More Kale

Eat more kale.  It’s been my words to live by for years, ever since I discovered that this delicious green was for eating, not for decorating salad bars at steakhouses.  This enlightenment happened for me sometime in the 1980s.  When I wrote Recipes from the Root Cellar I included 33 recipes for kale – wilted salads, stir-fries, sautés, braises.  And, of course, crisp oven-baked kale chips.

Indeed, after returning from the Mother Earth News fair this fall where I did some cooking demos, I wrote about cooking—kale!  

I usually phrase my personal mantra as “Can’t Cook Enough Kale” so as not to infringe on a Vermont artist who supports his family with a small business selling t-shirts and bumper stickers saying “Eat More Kale.” But when mega fast-food chain, Chik-fil-A threatened a lawsuit against Bo Muller-Moore for trademark infringement, I had to jump into the fray in defense of kale. 
Chik-fil-A has a marketing slogan of “Eat Mor Chiken,” which appears as hand-written signs held by cows.  The defense, of course, is who ever confused a leaf of kale with an extruded piece of chicken nugget?  And how can you trademark a saying of “eat mor” and have it apply to eating more of everything?

Yesterday I brought Crispy Kale Chips and a Wilted Kale Salad, both recipes from Recipes from the Root Cellar, to the Middlebury Natural Foods Coop and gave out samples.  My display included a hand-written sign that read, “Eat More Kale.” 

 “Aren’t you afraid of being charged with trademark infringement?” someone asked?  “They’ll never take me alive,” I replied.

 Enjoy More Kale.  Plant More Kale. Grow More Kale. Eat More Kale.    

Crispy Kale Chips
Serves 1 to 4

 Potato chips: be gone! Roasted kale is so delicious, you never need to turn to them again for a hit of crisp and salt.  My son introduced me to this delicacy, but he learned to make it in a cast-iron frying pan over a hot wood fire outdoors.  It took me a while to figure out this version, which is faster, more suited to the average lifestyle, and so good it will make kale lovers out of the most picky eaters.  This is more appropriate as a snack or hors d’oeuvre than a side dish because of the high volume of the pieces.    

1 bunch kale (I prefer curly kale), leaves chopped in 1-inch pieces and tough stems discarded
About 2 tablespoons canola or extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt

 1.  Preheat the oven to 425°F.
 2.  Measure the kale and transfer to a large bowl.  For every 4 cups of firmly packed leaves, add 1 tablespoon oil.  Mix well with your hands to make sure the leaves are evenly coated.  Spread out on a large sheet pan into a single layer.  Use two sheet pans, if necessary.
 3.  Roast for about 10 minutes, until the curly tips of the leaves are darkened and the interior of the leaves are a bright green.  If you are using two sheet pans, roast in batches, unless you can use the “convection bake” option.  The leaves should be mostly crunchy and browned, but not blackened.
 4.  Toss with salt and serve.

Adapted from Recipes from the Root Cellar by Andrea Chesman.  ©2010.  All rights reserved.