Irresistible Crispy Kale Chips

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Irresistible Crispy Kale Chips

Though I don’t tend to love food trends, I did eventually hop on the kale chip bandwagon a while back! I just had to try them to see what the craze was about, and honestly did not expect to love them as much as I did! And what’s even more surprising is that BOTH of my kids gobbled these crispy kale chips up!

When I really think about it, what’s not to love? Crispy kale chips mimic what we love in a potato chip – a crunchy texture and a salty taste! I have since named crispy kale chips as “the gateway vegetable” because at the time I was really struggling with getting my kids to eat vegetables. (Yes, dietitian moms struggle with this, too!) My kiddo who previously accepted most foods, was now becoming more selective and I had to get more creative. That’s where kale chips came in. They were all the rage and I thought, “I should give it a shot!” 

They are super simple to make and taste so much better when warm and fresh out of the oven! We usually make them as a side to go with dinner, however my kids would not complain if I served them up as a snack! 

How to store kale chips

We never have leftovers, but if you do, they will keep for a few days. Make sure they are completely cool before storing, and transfer them to an airtight container. They will start to lose their crispiness and your selective eaters may not like them as much – don’t say I didn’t warn you! 

Seasoning Tips:

We love a basic garlic salt and pepper combo, however you can also try some of the following ideas if your kids aren’t as excited about them as mine are right off the bat:

  • Toss with a bit of teriyaki sauce 
  • Sprinkle some soy sauce in with the olive oil
  • Try different flavored oils – sesame oil with a touch of ginger and soy sauce is a good combo!
  • Try sprinkling some red pepper flakes or Sriracha drizzle if they like spice
  • Toss your kale chips with garlic powder and grated Parmesan cheese
  • Squeeze fresh lime juice over your kale chips after baking
  • Use smoked paprika to give your crispy kale chips a smoky and slightly sweet flavor
  • Create a dairy-free cheesy coating by using nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder 
  • For a BBQ flair, mix together paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, and a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Sprinkle your kale chips with curry powder for a bold taste
  • Do your kids love ranch? Combine dried herbs like dill, parsley, garlic powder, and onion powder to mimic the classic ranch flavor

Feel free to experiment with these seasonings or create your own unique blend by combining different herbs, spices, and flavors – let your kids in on the fun, too! Let us know what your favorites are in the comments below!

Benefits of Leafy Dark Green Vegetables

Just getting your kids to eat a green vegetable is a win! But knowing that leafy dark green vegetables are incredibly beneficial for our health because they are so nutrient dense makes it that much better! Here are 6 key benefits of including these greens in your family’s diet:

  1. Antioxidant Powerhouses: Leafy dark green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, collard greens, and Swiss chard, are packed with antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Antioxidants help combat oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body, reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, certain cancers, and neurodegenerative disorders.
  2. High in Fiber: Leafy greens are a great source of dietary fiber, promoting digestive health and regular bowel movements. Fiber also helps control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, and helps us feel full.
  3. Eye Health: The presence of lutein and zeaxanthin in leafy greens contributes to eye health. These compounds help protect the eyes from damage caused by oxidative stress and may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
  4. Promotes Heart Health: The combination of fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds in leafy greens is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. They help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve cholesterol levels, and improve overall heart health.
  5. Anti-inflammatory Properties: Leafy dark green vegetables have a high content of phytochemicals like flavonoids and carotenoids. These compounds have anti-inflammatory effects and help prevent various diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
  6. Bone Health: Many leafy greens are rich in calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones. They also contain vitamin K, which aids in bone formation and mineralization.

How many servings of dark green vegetables does my family need?

Here is a quick overview of the recommendations for dark green vegetables for your family:

  • Most adults: 1½ to 2½ cups per week
  • Younger kids, 2-8 years old: ½ to 1½ cups per week
  • Kids 9-13 years old: 1 to 2½ cups per week
  • Older kids, aged 14-18 years old: 1½ to 2½ cups per week

Recipe

Crispy Kale Chips

Oven baked crispy kale chips that your kids will gobble up! (I apologize in advance for the mess)
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time17 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: crispy kale chips
Servings: 4 people
Cost: 4

Equipment

  • oven
  • large mixing bowl
  • large baking sheet (you can use a pizza pan, cookie sheet, etc.)
  • tongs (although your own hands work fine, too!)
  • foil or parchment paper

Ingredients

  • 1 bag kale (I use a 12-16 oz bag, pre-washed kale to keep it quick and easy)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (disclaimer: I don't measure, I just give a good few swirls)
  • garlic salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425℉ and cover your baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  • Empty your bag of kale in your mixing bowl . Feel free to remove any thick stems – kids (and husbands) don't typically love the stems, but enjoy the crispy leaves once cooked.
  • Add olive oil and use tongs (or your hands) to mix thoroughly. You want the kale leaves to be lightly coated, not soaked. I sometimes finish with an olive oil spray to coat any dry areas that remain.
  • Use tongs to distribute kale leaves on baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper to taste. Toss them with tongs and sprinkle with a little more seasoning if you desire (I do!).
  • Make sure you spread the kale chips out in a pretty even layer, if they are in clumps they won't get crispy and then your kids will be sad.
  • Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. You will want to watch them closely after the 10 minute mark – there is a very fine line between too soft, just right, and burnt! I typically take them out at 10 and mix them around a bit on the baking sheet so that they bake more evenly in my not-so-new oven. This may take a bit of trial and error to perfect them in your own oven.

About the Author

Dru Rosales

Dru Rosales, MS, RD, LD is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. She specializes in children and adolescents with a focus on eating disorders, weight management, and sports nutrition. Dru received her Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Southern California and her Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science from California State University, Los Angeles.

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