Eating Leaves

The first time a head of kale made its way into a CSA box I received, I wondered what on earth I'd do with this huge, beautiful, flower-like pile of roughage. Don't get me wrong, it's fantastic stuff. But while I adore sausage and kale soup, I wasn't really looking to add its curly leaves to everything under the sun. What I needed was a way to use a lot of leaves in a way that my family could enjoy over and over again.

Enter kale chips. I'd heard a few mutterings here and there about how easy they were to make and how yummy they were to eat, but it took a couple friends who weren't vegetable fans absolutely raving about them to convince me it was time to try my hand at making them, too. I'll admit I was a bit skeptical. After all, how good could baked leaves really be?

In short: They are fantastic! I am now looking forward to piles and piles of kale in our CSA boxes. I no longer wonder what I'll make with it. I plan to eat kale chips like popcorn all season long. This is my version of endorsement, by the way. The end result are light, fragile leaves that nearly melt in your mouth and leave behind the taste of roasted veggies, oil and salt. Be careful handling them. They are very fragile and I even considered using tweezers to lift up the final few leaves when tasting them. However, hold them up against the light and you will get to see incredibly lovely stained glass windows with all of the leaf's veining clearly visible. Take it as an opportunity to teach your little ones about leaf structure and then gobble them up together! Enjoy.

Kale Chips

  • 1 head of Red Russian Kale (any variety will work), rinsed well and patted dry
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Then tear all of the curly leaves off of the cleaned and dried kale and put them in a large mixing bowl. Discard the thick stems or save them for another use. Once all of the leaves are in the mixing bowl, add the olive oil and about half of the salt. Toss them with your hands, making sure the leaves are evenly coated.

Add the leaves to a baking sheet (I placed a baking mat on the sheet to make for easy releasing of the chips and super-fast cleanup). Sprinkle them with the remaining salt. Bake the leaves in the preheated oven until they are nice golden brown, being careful not to burn them. Take a peak about 10-12 minutes into the cooking, and bake for an overall time of approximately 15-17 minutes.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

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