First off, the only way I’ve ever been able to warm up to kale was to find it swishing around in a bowl of caldo verde, the Portuguese kale soup flavored with chorizo that I’m hoping is on the menu in heaven. Beyond this, kale was something pleasant to shove under a pork chop or a chicken breast before bringing a plate to the table.
I love, love, LOVE roasting vegetables, and in fact it’s my favorite way to prepare everything from cauliflower to Brussels sprouts. But for some reason, it never occurred to me roast a leafy green vegetable.
But after hearing so many sing the praises of kale in its roasted state, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I bought a bunch, trimmed, washed, and dressed it. Still, even as I was laying the leaves out on the baking sheet, I was skeptical. So leathery! So . . . odd. So little faith on my part.
Minutes later, we were in the presence of one of the most truly delectable, utterly addictive things I’ve ever consumed. I’m not hyperbolizing people ~ I’m dead serious. How serious? My kids consumed a pound and a half of kale and begged for more. KALE.
And kale, as you probably know, is one thing we should be eating much more of. Vitamins A, B6, C, and K, potassium, manganese, calcium and iron, folic acid and copper ~ kale has them. Fiber and carotenoids ~ got them. And kale, bless its leafy green heart, has fewer than 40 calories per cooked cup.
I will tell you right now, if you make these kale chips, better make twice as much as you think you’ll need. You’ll eat the first batch directly off the pan.
If you are serving this to kids, you can call it “kale chips.” The word "chips" will help them get past their initial hesitation to put something green in their mouths. Regardless of what you call them, I suggest you keep things quiet until you’ve had your share, then put them in a bowl, call them whatever you want, and watch them disappear.
Roasted Kale Chips
- 1 bunch kale, washed well and spun dry
- Olive oil (2 to 3 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (optional)
- Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick pan coating.
- Use a sharp knife to cut along each side of the central rib; remove ribs. Tear leaves into 2-inch pieces and place in large nonreactive mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, stir together olive oil and vinegar (if using) with a fork. Drizzle over kale leaves; toss to coat evenly. Lay kale leaves in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle liberally with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Roast kale for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F in preheated oven. Rotate pan and return to oven. Roast another 10 minutes, or until the kale is crispy and dark green. The leaves will crisp further on standing, so don’t allow them to get too dark in the oven. Let stand one minute on baking sheet, then remove to plate and serve.
- Be sure to remove the entire rib from each leaf. The rib portion, if left to roast, will become hard and spiky ~ very unpleasant to eat.
- Do not be tempted to roast the kale at a higher temperature. You'll end up with burned, soggy kale.
- This technique also works with beet greens, spinach, and collard greens. The texture will be a bit different because the leaf is flat instead of curled, and it may take slightly longer, but it will still be delicious!