It’s the middle of the afternoon, and you need a snack. Right now you’re probably looking for the closest salty and crunchy thing you can find. Put down whatever fried, cheesy, or artificially made thing you’ve just picked up! Do yourself a huge favor and make your salty and crunchy choice a nice healthy serving of kale chips.
You’ve likely already noticed the kale chip craze. If you haven’t stepped aboard that train yet, you probably at least know that kale is practically a super food. I could write an entire book on how healthy and versatile kale is. I’ll spare you, but I will tell you that among the many things you can do with kale, baking it is one of the simplest and most delicious options. At around two dollars a bunch, it’s much more affordable than buying kale chips at the store.
The Recipe: Baked Kale Chips
- One bunch of kale*
- Olive Oil
- Sesame Seeds
- Salt and Pepper
- Optional: garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper
* When you choose kale for this recipe, any kale will work except for purple kale. While purple kale is awesome, it’s more difficult to see if your kale chips are overcooked or burnt. Curly kale makes a pretty kale chip!
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Wash kale and pat dry. Coarsely chop the kale, discarding any stem without leaf attached to it (or the whole stems if you’re not a fan). Spread kale on a baking sheet in one layer. You’ll likely need to use two pans or bake a second batch. Brush kale with a little olive oil and bake until crisp, about 10-12 minutes. Because kale thins as it cooks and burns easily, keep a close eye on it near the end to ensure that it cooks perfectly. Remove kale from the oven and immediately sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sesame seeds. Depending on what you like, you could also add any of the optional ingredients.
While this recipe is simple and only involves a few steps, keep in mind that sometimes a test round might be required. Don’t be discouraged if the first batch or two comes out soggy or burnt. If this happens to you, just play around with the cooking temp or time. It’s worth the effort!
Why Your Body Will Love You For It
Why is it worth the effort, you ask? Kale is packed with many nutrients your body needs. It’s a good source of dietary fiber, as are most dark leafy greens, and one cup of kale contains as much vitamin C as an orange. It’s packed with more than enough vitamin A, which plays a vital role in keeping your eye sight and immune system up to par. It also contains good amounts of vitamin B6 and folic acid.
Food is constantly surprising me. I was once doing a little research on the most calcium rich foods just to make sure I was getting enough and to my surprise kale popped up. In fact, one cup of fresh cooked kale (not much!) has about 94 milligrams of easily absorbable calcium. That’s about 9% of the recommended daily intake for a 19-50 year old healthy adult. While I am not a doctor, and calcium needs do vary throughout one’s life, that’s a fairly accurate estimate. Not bad for a little snack, huh? Most people are aware that the human body needs calcium in order to maintain strong bones but your body also needs calcium for things like nerve and muscle function. Pretty important if you ask me.
Moral of the story is that when you get hungry today, reach for the kale chips. Your wallet and your body will thank you.