Monday, June 6, 2011

Cheesy Baked Kale Chips

I am pretty much obsessed with kale chips - they are such a great crunchy and healthy snack! Sometimes I eat them plain with just a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, but most of the times I make this delicious "cheesy" sauce to coat them with. This sauce is vegan and lactose-free so technically it's not a real cheese sauce, but the nutritional yeast gives it a great cheesy flavour. If you're not sure what nutritional yeast is then click here or here for some more information. Some large grocery stores carry it (i.e. Superstore) but you can for sure find it in specialty health food stores (i.e. Sangsters) and also at Bulk Barn. I know kale chips seem like some sort of strange rabbit/hippie food, but I promise they are so addicting and yummy!


1 cup raw cashews, soaked
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped - You can also substitute with orange or yellow pepper if that's all you have
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 large bunch of kale


Pour the cashews into a small bowl and fill with water until the nuts are fully submerged. Allow the nuts to soak for 2-3 hours. This will soften them up and make the cheese sauce really creamy. Once the nuts are done soaking, put them in a food processor or blender with the bell pepper, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Scoop out into a bowl or sealable container.

Wash the kale and remove the leaves from the stem by placing your thumb and forefinger tightly at the base of the stem and sliding them up the stem. Tear the large leaves into smaller "chip-sized" pieces and place them in a large bowl. Pour the prepared cheese sauce over the kale and use your hands to mix and evenly coat the kale. You may have to do this in 2-3 separate batches depending on how large your bowl is and how much kale you have. You can use all of the sauce if you want really really well-coated chips, but I tend to only use 1/2 or 3/4 of the sauce so that the chips get crispier in the oven. I just save the leftover sauce in an airtight container in the fridge.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2-3 baking sheets with aluminum foil. This makes clean-up much easier! Arrange your coated kale chips on the baking sheets in a single layer. Try not to crowd them too much or they won't bake well. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes, or until the kale is crispy. Every oven is different so you may have to play around with the baking time for the first time you make these. Kale will burn really easily if not watched and the smell and taste is not pleasant so make sure you watch them very closely as it gets closer to the end of baking time! As soon as they get crispy and get the slightest bit brown, remove them from the oven. Enjoy immediately! You can store leftover kale chips in an airtight container, but they will lose some of their crispiness.

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