Poker Night Snack Time: Kale Chips

There’s very little I enjoy more than having a few friends over for a casual game of cards. Of course, if there’s one thing you need while playing Poker, it’s a healthy array of snacks. With that in mind, I thought that I’d spend the next few posts sharing some of my favorite—and most popular—snacking foods. First up: kale chips.

Most of my friends react in exactly the same way when they encounter these crispy little wonders: wow, you’ve made kale edible. In fact, I can’t take any of the credit for this little trick. You can find recipes for crispy kale all over the internet. Regardless, it often surprises me how few people know about them. They are delicious, easy, fun, and very nutricious.

Kale is a member of the cabbage family and hence very high in the sulfur compounds we’re always hearing about in connection with various health benefits. As well, kale is high in vitamins A and C and boasts an extraordinary amount of vitamin K. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that there are plenty of reasons to work it into your diet.

Many people, however, simply don’t like kale, despite its current culinary popularity. Some of that likely has to do with its oddly tough texture and distinct mild bitterness. Personally, I enjoy it in many different preparations, but that comes down to personal taste.

These chips even get people who hate kale addicted. They have a flavour that’s across between a roasted seaweed snack and spinach, and deliver an unexpectedly pleasant crunch. You have to eat them the day they’re made, or else they soften and become chewy. Mind you, they’re so easy to make and so compellingly delicious that this shouldn’t be a problem.

Kale Chips

1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon oil, approximately (your choice)
salt and pepper

1) Pre-heat your oven to 300F. Cut away the thick stems from the kale. Tear the remaining leaves into potato chip-sized pieces, wash, and dry thoroughly in a salad spinner.

2) Drizzle the oil over the kale and toss to distribute evenly. You could use almost any kind of oil, since the heat is not high enough to reach the smoking point of many commercially available cooking oils. For an extra level of flavour, you could try an infused oil, like garlic for example.

3) Lay out the pieces of kale onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are just crispy. Do not overcook, since this will cause them to brown and lose a lot of their flavour and nutrition. Check them about 10 minutes into the process to redistribute them about the pan if they are cooking unevenly. You want to learn how they cook in your oven, so just pay careful attention to the first batch or two.

4) When they’re cooked, simply move them into a serving bowl and enjoy.

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