Do you find it hard to walk passed the raw food set at your local Whole Foods without salivating over the many delicious, albeit expensive, crunchy munchy snacks and treats? Have you often wondered how you can keep up financially with this habit? There’s been an explosion of raw treats within stores in recent months and we must say the result is pretty much addictive! However, if you’re feeling the drain on your wallet it may be helpful to strike a balance between indulgence/convenience and wholesome homemade goodness, which honestly, can taste just as good if not better than what you’re buying in the store.
First, lets dissect the reigning King of the raw food snack aisle: the kale chip. Why are kale chips so addictive and hard to turn down? The reason touches on a few key areas:
Number 1: they’re crunchy, salty, and perfectly seasoned and come in flavors like ranch, cheesy nacho, and mustard dijon…need we say more? I think it’s safe to say this combination inspires a universal YUM.
Number 2: they are the ultimate fusion of taste bud satisfaction and nutrition! When you dig into a bag of potato chips you’ll probably feel pretty yucky afterwards when all that oil, salt and other unmentionables hit your system. With kale chips you can indulge, lick your fingers clean, and get on with your day feeling like a million bucks!
This lovely leafy brassica has gained a lot of attention lately, proving itself as a true superfood that is both accessible, affordable, and versatile! It’s popping up in recipes ranging from salads, soups, entrees, crackers, sauces, pestos, smoothies, juices and of course chips. Why this newfound fame and recognition? Kale is an absolute wealth of nutrition, and it provides all of this goodness in very few calories (win!).
Let’s start with all of the vitamins, the leaders of the pack being Vitamin K, A, and C. In just 1 cup of kale we receive 1180.1% of our DRI of Vitamin K, 590.2% of our Vitamin A, and 71% of our Vitamin C. Oh, and did we mention this is COOKED kale. Think of how much you get from RAW. Special attention should be given to that epic proportion of Vitamin K. This critical fat-soluble nutrient is necessary for healthy blood cell and bone tissue formation, and if you’re not eating your leafy greens it may be lacking within your diet. It’s pretty obvious how to fix a deficit – simply eat some kale!
Kale also provides us with some other nutritional lovelies such as minerals manganese, copper, calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium, along with vitamins E, B1, B2, and B6, loads of fiber and protein too! Incredibly noteworthy is kale’s antioxidant activity. Rich in key flavonoids such as quercitin and kaempferol as well as powerful carotenoids, kale can help boost our bodies defenses against free radical damage, giving it a leg up in the realm of cancer prevention.
Kale also helps fight inflammation – an issue found to be at the root of many degenerative and chronic health issues. How does it do it? By means of alpha linolenic acid – a potent omega 3 fatty acid. And remember all of that Vitamin K? It also acts as an anti-inflammatory nutrient within the body! Inflammation is a huge issue in todays world and can wreak absolute havoc if it gets out of hand. The more anti-inflammatory foods we can eat the better.
Lastly, glucosinolates. These phytonutrients can’t be left out when discussing the benefits of kale consumption! Glucosinolates provide spectacular anti-cancer benefits and also acts as a powerful aid to our detoxification processes. Kale’s naturally occurring sulphur compounds also play a huge role in it’s ability to help rid the body of toxins on a cellular level. Basically kale helps build us up, nourish us, protect us, detoxify us and otherwise keep us glowing with radiant health.
Now, back to the good stuff, KALE CHIPS. Eating kale fresh in things like green soups, smoothies, juices and salads is of course best, however, that need for a satisfying crunchy salty snack can’t be denied. Kale chips are possibly the healthiest way to satisfy that craving and are unbelievably EASY to make! Here’s what you need:
Fresh, Organic Kale:
Any variety will work and mixing various textures is a great idea. That being said, curly green kale tends to work best for making chips because it is tender and holds it’s form very well. The texture also works well to trap maximum levels of sauce – setting the stage for the most amount of flavor explosiveness. Speaking of sauce…
An Epic Sauce:
This is the second stage of kale chip creation. It’s ALL in the sauce. When making a kale chip sauce you’re basically making a rich, flavorful “dressing”. There are many variations however most will begin with a base of soaked nuts and seeds or nut and seed butters. Cashews work particularly well because of their creamy texture. Soaked sunflower seeds also tend to work great and are more affordable. For an easy alternative raw sesame tahini is also delicious! Adding a high quality cold pressed oil such as olive helps create an even richer flavor. Tomato or bell pepper can be added to bulk up the sauce a bit and add flavor. Lemon or lime juice adds a nice tang and of don’t forget the salt! Himalayan or Celtic salts are recommended. Next comes the spices and herbs! This is where you can get really creative. Want a mexican flair? Use chili, paprika, garlic, cumin, chipotle, and oregano. Want something that will give those ranch tortilla chips a run for their money? Use dill, parsley, garlic, onion, chives, and black pepper. Craving cheese? Nutritional yeast paired with lemon or lime juice or apple cider vinegar can be used for a very authentic cheese-like tang! You get the idea. The sky is the limit!
Achieving Crunchy Perfection: Drying Methods
The best option is a food dehydrator, as this will create a truly raw kale chip dried at low temperatures with all of those miraculous nutrients kept intact. We recommend the Good4U and the Excalibur dehydrators – you will be happy with either brand! However, if you don’t have a dehydrator, or can’t amass one at this time your good ‘ol oven will do the trick for now. Use the lowest possible setting, and keep the door slightly ajar if you can. This is also a good way to warm up your kitchen on a cold Winter’s day! You will love how the dehydrating kale chips fill your home with an intoxicating aroma of deliciousness.
So, what are you waiting for? it’s time to get get in that kitchen and craft that kale crunch yourself! Need some inspiration? Here are our top recipe picks to get you rocking in the right direction. Enjoy!