When spring hits, my body craves green things like nobody’s business! There’s nothing like a bowl of the season’s first new growth to connect with nature’s fresh, revitalizing energy, and salad inspiration abounds around every turn. As the season progresses, however, I find my tastes evolving with it, and though my love of all things leafy wanes not at all, I begin craving other texture and flavor combinations beyond a raw bowl of greenery.
Enter kale chips, the satisfyingly crispy and savory snack built on garden-fresh goodness. I’ve always found kale chips to be pretty magical—the possible flavor combinations are as endless as those found in any supermarket potato chip aisle, but these crisps are built around a vegetable widely considered to be a superfood and can be customized to the tastes and diet preferences of just about anyone. They don’t need to be fried, and in fact, they can even be kept raw with the help of a dehydrator (my preferred method anyway, but more on that below).
No, kale chips don’t have many downsides, but the price of purchasing them in stores definitely tops my list. Luckily, I’ve recently discovered just how inexpensive, simple, and fun it is to make my own personalized versions of this addictive munchie, allowing me to enjoy each crunchy leaf truly guilt-free! I particularly enjoy the recipe below, which evolved from a favorite spicy, Asian-inspired salad dressing recipe and was augmented with nutritious organic nettle powder to make this green-powered snack even greener.
While I include some alternative instructions for making these in the oven, I can’t overstate how much I prefer making these chips in a dehydrator: you can make loads more at a time, you don’t have to heat up your house during warm-weather months, the chip texture is darn near perfect (they even look prettier!), and you maximize the nutrition content by gently drying, rather than oven-heating. I highly recommend adding this versatile appliance to your kitchen lineup, and since summer is also yard sale season, there’s no better time to find a lightly used one for an excellent price!
Spicy Asian-Style Kale Chips Dehydrator Recipe
Makes 5 to 6 dozen chips.
Active Time: 25 minutes
- 1 large bunch organic kale
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 Tbsp. organic almond butter
- 1 organic lime, juiced (about 2 Tbsp.)
- 1 Tbsp. organic coconut aminos or soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. organic coconut oil (softened unrefined or MCT)
- 2 tsp. organic smoked chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp. organic nettle leaf powder
- 1/2 tsp. organic ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp. organic garlic granules
- 1/4 tsp. organic shiitake mushroom powder
- 1/4 tsp. organic smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp. Cyprus flake salt
- Wash and dry kale, then remove stems.
- Make chips by cutting or tearing kale into 3- or 4-inch chips.
- Combine all other ingredients (except salt!) in blender or food processor, and blend until combined.
- Place kale in large bowl. Pour blended sauce over chips and massage into leaves to evenly coat.
- Transfer kale to dehydrator trays in single layers and sprinkle with salt.
- Set dehydrator to 120° F, check after 8 hours (may take up to 12 hours, depending on dehydrator and humidity). The chips are done when the sauce is dry and the kale is crispy.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Salad spinners are a great way to speed up the drying process. Use spinner prior to adding your sauce.
- While many kinds of kale will work for this recipe, I like to use lacinato kale (also called Tuscan, black, or "dino" kale) because I find it rips easily into strips and lies flat for even drying.
- Don’t overcrowd dehydrator trays. Overcrowding will increase drying time and decrease the crispiness of your final chips.
- If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can bake the chips in a 250° F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until crispy.
Want More Tasty Nettle-Infused Recipes?
You may also enjoy:
- Vegan Baked Falafel Collard Wrap Recipe
- Vegan Coconut & Matcha Chia Pudding
- No-Bake Matcha Cheesecake Recipe