Monday, January 3, 2011

Favorite Food: Crispy Kale Chips

As you know, kale is one of my favorite foods. It's one of those incredible and rare situations where something that is amazingly good for you is also amazingly delicious. And it doesn't get enough attention. I bet if I sampled 20 people I know, at least half of them would have never prepared kale at home - maybe even more than half. One of my resolutions this year is to change that (I'm only half kidding)! Maybe your new year's resolution should be to eat kale once a week. I promise I'll be featuring it on this blog more often, so I'll give you plenty of ideas for how to prepare it. In fact, I just realized that my post yesterday had kale in it too! If you didn't read it, check out these delicious Potato and Kale Enchiladas.

Now kale is great in many things, soups being primary among them, but my absolute favorite way to eat it is virtually alone. You can steam it, braise it, saute it or bake it. This preparation is a lot of fun and is super easy. Give this a try the next time you are craving potato chips. Seriously. Bust out a half recipe of these and eat them when they are still hot right off the baking tray. You will forget all about those Ruffles and you will have done your body a big favor.

The recipe could not be more simple:

1 medium bunch of kale
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to about 350 degrees. Wash the kale leaves and remove the tough stems. Pat the leaves dry and cut into large bite size pieces. Toss kale with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and mix well with your hands to distribute the oil evenly. Spread the kale leaves on a large baking tray and put it in the oven. Cook for 10 minutes, then toss with a large spatula or kitchen tongs. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until kale is crispy and just barely turning brown. Season with salt and pepper and eat! These chips are a great side for just about any dish. This picture shows them with Smothered Cauliflower and Potatoes, but the options are limitless. To be honest, these guys almost never even make it to the table in our house - we just stand over the stove and eat them. These also taste good cold, so if you don't eat them immediately, you can save them for a little later. I don't recommend saving them until the next day though because they will lose their crunch.

The nutrition facts for this baby will blow your mind. 1 serving = half of the recipe. 159 calories; 8.2 g fat; 1.1 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; sodium varies depending on how much salt you use; 20.1 g carbohydrate; 4 g dietary fiber; 0 g sugars; 6.6 g protein. Did you get that? 6.6 g of protein in a little vegetable snack! That is MORE protein that is found in a hard boiled egg (but without the 211 mg of cholesterol mind you)! And the vitamins in a serving of this stuff? 618% of your daily recommended Vitamin A; 402% of your recommended Vitamin C; 27% of your recommended Calcium and 19% of your recommended iron. Not bad!

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