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Kale Chips

The Best Kale Chips

Dark leafy greens are more beneficial than other types of vegetables since they constitute those nutritional elements in abundance that are very critical to a person’s well-being, especially during menopause due to their rich phytoestrogen content. Nutritionists advise that the darker the appearances of a vegetable, the higher the amount of antioxidants it contains. Kale is one such miracle vegetable.

One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Living in Asia for 20 years I discovered nori snacks, especially the plain sheets that came wrapped in plastic. They were so perfectly seasoned, with just the right degree of crispness. I liken kale chips to this treat, because when baked, kale achieves similar qualities of goodness, yet still delivers its own distinctly earthy taste.

The Best Kale Chips You’ll Ever Have
To me, a perfect kale chip is crispy to the point of being melt-in-your-mouth light, but still retains the slightest bit of chew. And it must be covered with sesame seeds. I’ve tried many variations of the recipe over the years, and have finally arrived at the one I like best. It’s Asian- (and nori-) inspired, and takes about 10 minutes to throw together. I hope you give it a try!

You’ll need:
A bunch of kale (either curly or lacinato—they’re both good, but texturally, I prefer curly), center stems removed, washed and dried thoroughly
About 1 tbsp. sesame oil or olive oil
1 to 2 tsp. soy sauce
About 1 tbsp. sesame seeds

What to do:
Preheat your oven to 350F.

Tear the kale into large pieces and place them in a bowl. (NOTE: I have to stress how important it is that your kale is dry. Otherwise, the chips will turn out soggy.) Next, add the oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds, and toss it all together with your hands. You want each piece to be glistening, but not so much that any of the oil or seasoning pools at the bottom of the bowl. You can also taste a piece at this point. It shouldn’t be too salty, because the taste will condense in the final chip. Feel free to add a little more soy sauce if you’d like, though.

On 1 or 2 baking sheets (with or without parchment paper), lay the pieces out flat.

Bake 6 to 7 minutes. (Note, however, that these aren’t hard figures because I know my oven is hotter than average. I’ve seen times ranging from 6 minutes to 12, so the first time you make these, keep a close eye on the chips. You want to take them out before they’re completely crisped—they’ll still be a little soft in the middle.) You may need to experiment a little with the timing to get it right.

Once out of the oven, they’ll cool very quickly.

Alternative Recipes

1. Lemon
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp (packed) lemon zest
scant 1/8 tsp sea salt

Per batch: 80 cal, 5 g fat (0.5 g sat), 7 g carbs, 230 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein

2. Smoky
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
scant 1/8 tsp sea salt
pinch chipotle pepper

Per batch: 80 cal, 5 g fat (0.5 g sat), 7 g carbs, 240 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein

3. Sesame
1 tsp roasted sesame oil
1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
scant 1/8 tsp sea salt

Per batch: 90 cal, 6 g fat (1 g sat), 7 g carbs, 230 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein

4. Cheesy Black Pepper
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (loosely packed) shredded white cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Per batch: 190 cal, 14 g fat (6 g sat), 8 g carbs, 220 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 9 g protein

 

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