With Spring fever in the air and unseasonably warm weather here in Boulder, my taste buds are craving a bit more variety from my usual warm, mushy Vata-pacifying meals. Although this recipe is best for Kapha, these kale chips are actually fairly balanced and quite hearty, as they have a delicious topping of creamy sunflower seeds to give some added protein, sunflower oil to combat the dryness of the kale, and some warming lemon juice and cayenne pepper to help with digestion. This particular recipe is by far my favorite and most widely used in the world of kale chips. In fact, I consider this more of a treat than a healthy snack, although they are definitely both!
Kale has been gaining more and more popularity and for great reason! It is very versatile, considered one of the healthiest foods per calorie, loaded with antioxidant rich flavonoids, contains anti-inflammatory properties and promotes healthy detoxification in the system. Some of the more notable vitamins and minerals in this leafy green include Vitamins K, A, E and C; Vitamins B1, 2, 3 and 6; copper, manganese, calcium and fiber. The sunflower seeds that are also a major part of this recipe are not so shabby either, as they provide us with an incredible amount of Vitamin E, copper, Vitamins B1, 3 and 6; folate, magnesium, and manganese. But don’t let all of the healthy qualities of these ingredients fool you, these kale chips are filled with flavor and oh-so-good! In fact, I have yet to not finish all of them in one sitting, making them one of my most favorite “indulgences”.
- Doshic effect: Vata ↓(will increase Vata in excess), Pitta ↓(only with modifications for Pitta), Kapha ↓
- Serving: 2-3
- Time: 15-20 minutes prep; about 30 minutes baking time
- Spice grinder or food processor for grinding the sunflower seeds (optional but recommended)
- Paper towels to dry the kale
- Large bowl to mix the kale in
- Small bowl to prepare the sunflower seed topping
- Cookie sheet(s)
- 1 bunch of kale
- 3/4 cup of sunflower seeds (if grinder is not available, substitute with sunflower seed butter, unsalted)
- Sunflower oil
- 1 lemon (use lime for Pitta)
- Pink Himalayan salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (omit for Pitta)
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Wash your hands thoroughly as you will be using them a lot!
3. Wash the kale off in the sink. After the kale is clean, take the paper towels to thoroughly dry each leaf separately. **This is really important to ensure crispy kale chips.
4. Once completely dry, de-stem the kale and pull apart each leaf into pieces that are roughly about 2” x 2”. Place the kale pieces in the large mixing bowl.
5. Lightly drizzle the kale with sunflower seed oil and then rub each leaf until the oil is evenly dispersed.
6. Now take the sunflower seeds, 2 Tbsp of sunflower oil, juice from one lemon (lime for Pitta) and a pinch of cayenne pepper (omit for Pitta!) and grind them to a paste in the food processor or a suitable spice grinder. If your spice grinder does not allow liquids, then grind the dry ingredients to a pulp and then place this in a small bowl, mixing in the oil and lemon juice separately.
**If neither of these electronic utensils are available, you can substitute the whole sunflower seeds with unsalted sunflower seed butter. Add the ingredients in a small bowl, except omit the sunflower seed oil. Stir thoroughly until evenly mixed.
7. Take the sunflower seed mixture and spoon it into the large bowl of torn kale pieces. Begin to rub the mixture onto each leaf ensuring an even coating throughout. Avoid making some pieces heavily coated and others bare, as an even coating is needed for even baking.
8. Place the first round of kale pieces onto the cookie sheet. Make sure to flatten and separate each piece and avoid piling any on top of each other. **This is very important in order to obtain crispy kale chips.
9. Sprinkle the chips very lightly with the pink salt. Please keep in mind that these delicate chips do not need much salt! I have over-salted on a couple of sad occasions, so please learn from my mistakes!
10. Place the kale chips in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.
11. After the 10 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet and place the timer on for an additional 5 minutes.
12. Check on the kale chips and if they are not at a crispy state, keep them in the oven and check on them every minute or two until they have reached the crispiness you desire. Please be careful here, as there is a fine line between not-crispy-enough and burnt. Keep in mind that the chips will get a tad bit crispier after taking them out and letting them sit for a moment, so a bit under crispy is much better than over crispy.
13. After the chips have reached their desired cooking point, take the tray out of the oven and let the kale chips sit for an additional 5-7 minutes before transferring them onto a separate plate. This step is needed to allow the chips to get a bit more crispy.
14. If you have a second cookie sheet, you may want to use this so you can have the second round going while you are waiting for the first batch to crisp up.
15. Repeat steps 8-13 until all of the kale is cooked.
16. Eat, indulge and enjoy as a healthy snack or a treat… These chips make a perfect dish for potlucks if you are willing to share; and yes, even kids like them!
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