I’ve been discovering that an essential part of any vegan diet is having a good range of textures. I’ve worked out what’s creamy (avocado, cashews, coconut oil) and I’m starting to work on the ‘crunch’ element. Obviously things like carrots and other raw veg are fantastic for crunch, but sometimes you need something that feels a little more…naughty.
Kale crisps (or chips if you’re our chums from across the pond) seem to be a vegan staple. I’ve found them across countless vegan blogs, and also in Gwyneth Paltrow’s lovely cookbook, which is a bit of a Holy Grail for me. Kale crisps are AWESOME. I’ll confess, I never used to eat kale. There’s something marginally off-putting about a food that’s touted as being SO good for you. I rebelled against kale for years without realising what I was missing out on. Whether you like the taste or not, I’m pretty certain you’ll love these guys
I’m a huge crisp fiend in general, because I love anything salty. The combination of salt and crunch is highly desirable to me, and these absolutely ticked both of those boxes. Now, I have to say straight away that they won’t taste like crisps. You won’t eat them and go ‘if I was blindfolded, I’d never know that these weren’t Kettle Chips!’ A big problem with vegan food is expectation – if you start thinking something will taste like macaroni cheese just because it’s called macaroni cheese, you’ll probably be disappointed. The key thing here is to appreciate these in their own right, ok?
They’re absolutely gorgeous, perfect to have with a glass of something, and will fulfil your cravings for salt and a crispy texture. Aaaaand….KALE IS SO GOOD FOR YOU. Kale is a terrific source of calcium, so that’s one to whip out when patronising people start asking you how you get enough calcium. Kale absolutely kicks ass in the nutrition department, and is a fantastic source of antioxidants and fibre. It’s packed full of vitamins and contains a healthy dose of manganese. Nope, that’s not the language that Manga characters speak, it actually helps your body’s antioxidant defence system. Sold? Let’s go, then.
1/2 bag kale
2 tsps olive oil (but I recommend going by eye)
1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
2. Wash your kale then dry it either using a salad spinner or paper towels. Mine came from Waitrose and was already pretty shredded, but if you’re working with big leaves of the stuff, slice it down into strips and remove the hard stems. Don’t be afraid if they look quite large at first – once they go in the oven they’ll suffer from the phenomenon known in Seinfeld as ‘shrinkage’.
2. Now for the olive oil. Either pop your kale into a bag and toss it with the oil to make sure it gets coated, or if you’re a kitchen professional, you might own one of those sexy spray bottles, and you can spritz the kale with the oil and feel smug that you have awesome things in your kitchen. Sprinkle with salt.
3. Put them in the oven and leave for 10-15 minutes. I’ve got a fan oven, so mine were done by minute 10. You’ll know when they’re ready because they’ll have shrunk, and started to turn a little brown. Enjoy!
You can: add sesame seeds and/or lightly sprinkle some soy sauce over the kale before it goes in the oven, to give a more Eastern flavour.
Nutritional info per serving calories: 90/calories from fat: 47/total fat: 5.2g/saturated fat: 0.7g/cholesterol: 0mg/sodium: 121mg/total carbohydrates: 10.1g/protein: 3.3g/vitamin A: 309%/calcium: 14%/vitamin C: 201%/iron: 10%/
Benefits: no cholesterol/no sugar/high in calcium/high in iron/very high in manganese/high in potassium/very high in Vitamin A/high in Vitamin B6/very high in Vitamin C/