Until 3 years ago, however, I hadn't even heard of the glorious green leafy vegetable that is really good for my blood type, I'm an "O", and my taste buds.
At first I only tried kale tossed with olive oil and sea salt, then baked at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, producing one amazing snack. Then I branched out and put it into homemade soup recipes with butternut squash, tons of veggies, and Italian spices.
One day my toddler was helping me in the kitchen and wanted a kale chip before it went into the oven. I put a couple of pieces of kale tossed with olive oil and salt on his plate and that little stinker kept running up to the pan to steal more pieces before I could even cook them. Thus, he introduced our love of raw kale in the house. Since then I've been eating kale as my salad base with whatever salad dressing I decide to concoct that day.
And then I discovered a rare delicacy...and when you think delicacy, yes, it's expensive and NOT part of my weekly budget.
Commercial kale chips.
For 2 ounces, my local grocer sells a national brand for $5.55. You can buy them on-line for even more. Sheesh! With just two servings per bag, however, the few times I have bought them, they are broken, so it's a bag full of really expensive fantastic tasting crumbs. An indulgence only once in a great while, to say the least.
Last month I was in NYC and found a Whole Foods across from my friend's place. I would be TOAST if I lived one block from Whole Foods...but since I don't, and I was on vacation, I headed over and just strolled down the aisles. It's what closet eaters do when they've outed themselves...Anyway, they carried a local farmer's brand of kale chips that were reasonably priced, just so you know. But I sucked it up and headed over to the fresh produce to buy kale and make my own because my friend had never tasted them. And it's a good thing I did. A woman was standing in front of the kale, just staring, picking it up, putting it down, picking it up, putting it down. Finally, after about a minute she asked me if I knew how to make kale chips. It was as if she saw my kale wings and my green halo. She was so excited and headed home to make her first batch of olive oil and salt chips.
Anyway, before I get too distracted, I wanted to share a recipe I've been experimenting with over the last several months that is budget friendly and, at least according to my taste buds and those of my toddler critic, tastes so great you may not get very many like happened earlier today when Ryan pulled the kale chips his way on the table and said the rest were for him...this is a vegan recipe, however the sunflower seeds when pureed lend a cheesy texture to the finished product.
What you need:
|*Sunflower seeds not pictured, but that's because they are in the Baby Bullet container, underneath the carrots already :)|
- Kale, 4 to 5 large leaves, large center vein removed, torn into small pieces, cleaned and dried (salad spinners work awesome for this!)
- 2 Tbsp organic olive oil
- 1 Tbsp organic lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp roasted tahini
- 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds (I used what I had on hand...roasted/salted. You can use raw, if you'd like.)
- 1/2 tsp Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute
- 2-3 organic baby carrots, diced
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
|I don't puree food for Ryan anymore, but that doesn't mean I can't use my Baby Bullet for other things like kale chip sauce, or frozen margaritas, or iced coffees...|
Then toss the sauce, or paste, into a bowl with the kale leaves and stir until coated, like this:
|Make sure to stir thoroughly as the paste will clump up and hide on only a few leaves. Kale is hardy while raw, so stir, stir, stir.|
|If you don't live near a Trader Joe's, don't freak. I'm not going to lie, it may not taste as yummy, but just try to find a seasoning mix without fillers, but with lots of great herbs and dried veggies in it.|
|Preheat oven, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread coated kale pieces out so they have a bit of personal space.|
They will shrink a bit as they bake. They should look like this:
|The pureed sunflower seeds add a cheesy texture. Vegan cheese, if you will...|
|Find a hot guy, or any old toddler, to share these with because kale chips are always better when shared.|
*If you make these at home some time, head back here and let me, and Ryan, know if you liked them or not...thanks! Enjoy! And may you soon become a lover of all things kale, too!