Dehydrated Kale Chips
Dehydrating Kale in the Oven or Dehydrator
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Spring has not sprung until there are leafy greens to harvest from the garden. Kale, chard, spinach, and mustard greens are a delight during the cool spring months. A tasty way to preserve kale is by making dehydrated kale chips.
Add leafy greens to soups of all types. A simple sauté with freshly minced garlic and cracked peppercorns is quite tasty. Young, tender greens make for an amazing salad. Slice the leaves and add to quiches and frittatas for a filling breakfast item. However, nothing beats homemade kale chips.
Eat your Greens
Kale is one of the easiest foods to grow. Aside from planting kale in the garden, many plant it in flower beds mixed with flowering perennials. Planting kale in this manner frees up space in the garden for other delicious springtime foods.
Kale is not only easy to grow, but it is also one of the healthiest food items around.
- High nutrient-dense food item
- Powerful antioxidant
- High in vitamin C
- Helps to lower cholesterol
- Best source of vitamin K
- High in beta-carotene
- High in minerals — calcium, potassium, magnesium
- Contains high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin — two antioxidants which work to maintain good eye health
Kale is also very low in calories, yet, has substantial substance. Allowing you to become full by consuming it. In addition to this, cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, can significantly lower the risk of several cancers.
Tools for Making Homemade Kale Chips
Make homemade kale chips using a dehydrator or an oven. A salad spinner is also a great kitchen tool to use for this project.
A dehydrator, such as one with a rear-facing fan, creates the perfect dehydrated kale chips. However, the process can take up to five hours. Using a dehydrator ensures that the leaves are completely dried. This is important for storing purposes. Also, check if your dehydrator allows for a raw food, or living food, option. This dehydrator guarantees the nutrients found in the leaves remain in the food item while maintaining a delightful crunch.
Aside from a dehydrator, a conventional oven is a great tool to use. Careful though, you will not want to walk away when you’re making homemade kale chips in this manner. From start to finish baked kale chips take roughly 20 to 25 minutes to complete.
A salad spinner is a resourceful kitchen tool to have on hand for many reasons. Wash the kale well prior to making homemade kale chips. Once washed, spin the leaves in a salad spinner to remove excess water.
There is no right or wrong when selecting flavor combinations for the perfect homemade kale chips. The benefit of growing kale is allowing for multiple taste-testings to find the best combination that your family will enjoy.
- Ground sriracha pepper and garlic powder
- Select from the following ground peppers — cayenne, chili powder, smoked paprika, or gochugaru
Sea Salt Combinations
- Fine sea salt and lemon pepper
- Freshly crack pink sea salt and the zest of lemon
- Fine sea salt and cracked peppercorns
- Nutritional yeast
- Freshly grated Parmesan at the end of the drying cycle
The final ingredient is extra-virgin olive oil. The oil helps to keep the spices on the leaves during the drying process while creating crispy kale chips.
Kale Chips Recipe
When making dehydrated kale chips, feel free to make adjustments to the recipe according to how your family will enjoy consuming homemade kale chips.
- 1 large bunch of kale, any variety
- 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Seasoning mixture of choice, add as much as desired
- Gather the ingredients.
- Prepare the kale, strip the leaves away from the stalks. Remove any tough midribs.
- Wash the kale thoroughly. Using a salad spinner remove excess water. Or place the leaves in a clean dish towel, pressing gently to remove water.
- Tear the leaves into slightly larger chip-size pieces.
- Place the kale, olive oil, and seasoning into a large bowl. Gently massage the leaves. The leaves should be evenly coated with the oil and seasoning.
- Spread the leaves evenly onto the dehydrator’s drying racks or a baking sheet. note: place a sheet of parchment paper onto the baking sheet prior to adding the oiled kale leaves.
- See below for the instructions for drying the leaves.
Dehydrated Kale Chips
The average drying temperature and time is 135 degrees F for 1 to 2 hours. However, make sure to check the dehydrator’s manual prior to starting to confirm the appropriate temperature and drying time.
Raw food drying requires a lower temperature and longer drying time. Remember, not all dehydrators have the raw food option, refer to the dehydrator’s manual to confirm if this option is available. Set the temperature to 108 degrees F, allowing the kale to dry for 3 to 4 hours.
Follow the recipe to prepare the leaves for the dehydrator.
Oven Baked Kale Chips
There are two methods available for making kale chips in the oven. Regardless of the method, the process must be watched carefully to prevent the leaves from scorching.
Slow and Low
Because of how quickly the leaves can become scorched due to the high heat, it is best to make this kale chips recipe slow and low.
- Set the temperature of the oven to the lowest heat setting.
- Next, evenly place the seasoned leaves onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Slow cook the leaves for 40 to 90 minutes, making sure to check the leaves frequently. The process is complete once the leaves are crispy and crunchy.
The Fast Route
- Set oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Evenly place the seasoned leaves onto the lined baking sheet.
- Bake the leaves for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch carefully to ensure the leaves do not char.
Storing Homemade Kale Chips
Store uneaten chips in an airtight container. A large food-safe plastic container lined with a paper towel is efficient. Unfortunately, due to the use of oil, homemade kale chips are unable to be preserved long-term.
To re-crisp softened chips, simply return to the dehydrator or the oven. In the dehydrator, the process will take roughly 1 to 2 hours. To re-crisp softened chips in the oven, set the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, reheat the chips for roughly 5 minutes. Make sure the leaves do not char in the process.
In truth, homemade kale chips will not last long enough to be stored. They are that delicious!
Originally published in Countryside March/April 2021 and regularly vetted for accuracy.