CSA Adventures: Kale Chips

Among the vegetables I came to dread the sight of during last year’s CSA season was kale.

I know, it’s good for me. It’s loaded with calcium and beta carotene . A cup of raw kale takes care of the RDA for vitamins K, C and A. The Internet differs on how much, but every place I checked had values over 100% for these vitamins.

The problem is I hated it.

I tried it sautéing it with garlic and butter. I tried steaming it. Then I stopped. Two tries was enough for me to say “I don’t like this bitter cooked green and as an adult I don’t have to eat it.”

Kale, which seemed to always be on the tables at the CSA last year, was a frequent visitor to the leftovers market at work. Some people snatched it up and would rave about it. I made notes to never accept dinner invitations to their homes.

Someone mentioned making kale chips and how awesome those were. Right, kale tastes bad no matter the form. Making it crispy won’t cancel out the crappy taste.

Well, I was wrong.

With this year’s CSA, I want to eat or put up most of my portion. Sorry, work people, my goal is feed you less, feed me more. And I want to get back to more of a vegetarian diet.

With that in mind, I decided to give kale another shot. Maybe there was something to these kale chips.

Turns out, there is. Twenty minutes at 300° got rid of the bitterness. Woot!

I ended up coating mine with olive oil and sea salt and shredding some Parmesan cheese over part of the batch. I’ll give it another whirl with this week’s kale haul, but will probably reduce the salt and oil. My first version is hovering around the line of too salty to eat, making it impossible to describe what they taste like other than salt. Parmesan will stick around and I may play with some other herbs to jazz it up.

The key to crisping seems to be a single layer of ripped kale leaves (throw away the center rib). I needed two baking sheets lined with parchment paper for my batch. Just like with Christmas cookies, I switched the sheets in the oven about halfway through baking.

The house smelled like something while the kale was crisping. Not sure how to describe it. It wasn’t a bad smell though.

You can find tons of recipes online for kale chips. They all agree on oil and salt. Baking times and temp differ. I ended up using the time and temp from Smitten Kitchen.

I’m just happy I found something to do with kale now. If these suckers last a while, I’ll be eating kale chips come January.

Hmm … I wonder if I can make chard chips as well.

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6 thoughts on “CSA Adventures: Kale Chips

    1. Good to know. I may try a “pure” batch next time. The most current batch has sesame seeds. Not sure if the oil helped the seeds stick to the chips or not.

  1. Ooh, I’ve been wanting to try kale chips. I think I’ll pick up some kale at the farmers’ market tomorrow. The comments on that Smitten Kitchen article suggest that chard will work too.

    1. I’d recommend going lighter than you think you need to in terms of oil and salt. Definitely for salt. 🙂 My finished chips are a little greasy feeling and the areas where I missed getting oil on a chip didn’t burn. I’m thinking of trying something with sesame seeds and soy next time, too. And one recipe I found mentioned brown sugar.

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