The first time I tried a kale chip was at the Park Slope Food Coop. Love at first bite. Undoubtedly. They were called Quite Cheesey Kale Chips but were vegan and raw. Quite the contradiction. I guess the cheesy flavor comes from the nutritional yeast that generously coats each dehydrated piece of kale. They were my new crunchysaltycheesy addiction. As far as addictions go it could have been worse, but at almost $8 for a 3.5 ounce bag, I might as well have been munching on dehydrated gold.
So, when I bid farewell to Brooklyn and the Food Coop, I left my beloved kale chips behind as well. It helped that I flew immediately to Barcelona, where I immersed my taste buds in pan con tomate, jamon, calcots, cava, and non-vegancheesygoodness. It was the easiest break-up ever. Kale chips and I were over and I never looked back. Until last week.
On Friday I bought a bunch of kale. When I was in the grocery store, I envisioned the usual – sauteed in a little olive oil with lots of garlic, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes. I took it home and forgot about it for a few days. By the time I remembered that it was still sitting in the fridge drawer, I needed to cook all of it. Otherwise, I was bound to have a bunch of wilted, sad kale. I wanted no such thing.
Memories of my long-lost love for kale chips came flooding back to me. Could I make them? I didn’t have nutritional yeast on hand, but I was willing to forgo recreating the faux cheesiness. I just wanted a crispycrunchysaltylemony kale chip. Something to munch on that made me feel good. I googled “homemade kale chips” and found a few simple recipes that I used as my guide. I chopped my bunch of kale into bite sized pieces, tossed them with a little olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, pepper and parmesan. About 20 minutes later, I pulled them from the oven and ate two baking sheets worth in under 10 minutes. The world’s best snack food? Quite possibly, yes.
Parmesan Kale Chips
Serves 4 light snackers, 2 hungry snackers, or 1 bingeing kale chip addict
1 bunch of kale, rinsed, dried and chopped into bite sized pieces
about 1 teaspoon olive oil, or just enough to coat the kale
juice of one lemon, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
- Spread kale evenly onto baking sheets.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until kale is crispy and parmesan is browned but not burned. Make sure you check the kale while it’s baking because it will go from perfect to perfectly charred in a few seconds.
- Cool for a few minutes and serve them in a big bowl with your favorite drink. I like them with something bubbly – kombucha, sparkling water, or champagne. Kale chips deserve the best.