Thursday, January 19, 2012

How To Make Raw Kale Chips

There's something so lovely about watching my kids scarf down a whole bunch of kale. When it's in the form of raw, dehydrated kale chips, they do this with gusto.

Crispy and full of flavor, these make such a great snack!
I have seen the prices that these things sell for if you were to buy them, it's crazy. It probably works out to about three chips for a dollar. You can make a whole batch yourself for a little more than the price of a bunch of kale.

Making these is a little bit of a production, but it's worth every minute. Really it's only 3 steps: Prep the greens; Blend the sauce; Mix well and load into dehydrator. 

I love a recipe that accommodates improvisation well, and this one really does. If a recipe is too picky, I have a hard time because I really like to use what I have on hand. I have made dozens of batches of these chips, with all varieties of sauce, and they always turn out so good.


The Kale:

Using a whole bunch of clean, dry kale, remove stems (which are too tough and fibrous for dehydrating nicely) and cut or tear into chip size pieces. My kids enjoy the long skinny pieces; make them whatever shape works for you. I like to use dinosaur kale, also called Lacinato, but red kale and curly kale work fine. In my experience, the red Russian kale is too tender for dehydrating, it becomes very brittle. I have tried other greens, such as collards, and they just don't hold up in the dehydrator as well. 

Place prepped kale in a large bowl.


The Sauce:

1 cubed sweet potato
1/4 c agave or honey (optional)
2 Tb raw coconut oil
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
2 t sea salt
3 cloves garlic
1/2-1 onion
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1/2 c water (more if needed to blend to creamy sauce)

A high speed blender is perfect for making this creamy sauce, but a having some chunks in there is totally fine, they will become very small in the dehydrator, so a standard blender will work as well. Blend all ingredients until creamy; pour over kale.

kale chips before dehydrating

Coat & Dehydrate:

With a clean hand, mix the kale with the sauce until both sides of every piece are fairly well coated, then lay them in a single layer on mesh dehydrator trays. I dehydrate them overnight at 105°. They can be done in as little as six hours. They are done when completely crisp, and will keep in a sealed container for a few weeks as long as they stay dry. If they become a bit soft or stale, they can be crisped up again with a short stint back in the dehydrator.

kids eating kale chips
My kids enjoying kale chips fresh off the dehydrator tray!

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55 comments

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February 12, 2012 at 10:12 AM

The yeast in the sweet potato sauce -- I assume this is nutritional yeast, not baking yeast?

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March 8, 2012 at 8:56 PM

Yes, sorry I didn't specify, but I've updated the post.

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May 31, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Ahhh these look yummy! I want to try, but I don't have a dehydrator...do you think it would work to bake them?

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May 31, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Definitely! Everyone else seems to make baked kale chips. Just put the oven as low as it goes, and flip them when they seem dry on top. It will go much quicker than in the dehydrator, but I don't know how long they will take.

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June 2, 2012 at 10:01 AM

We love kale chips! I have wanted a dehydrator for years!!! I just bake my kale chips... I guess I could make these in the oven since I don't have a dehydrator? Would love for you to share these with us at Kids in the Kitchen:http://younglivingoillady.com/home/kids-in-the-kitchen-link-up-week-16/
Hope to see you there! :)

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Anonymous
June 8, 2012 at 10:45 AM

cooked sweet potato or raw? they look yummy!

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June 8, 2012 at 11:54 AM

I use raw, though I suppose cooked would work as well! If you don't have a high speed blender, cooking the sweet potato first would actually be a good way to still get a nice creamy sauce.

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June 15, 2012 at 7:05 AM

Oh man that looks good! hmmm. I've got sweet potatoes that need used up and I need to go get kale out of the garden.

Thanks for stopping by and linking this up at The Carnival of Home Preserving today!

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June 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM

This is a really great idea. Do you think the recipe would work if I left the honey out? My mom sent me a recipe for greens chips a while back, so I guess I better get with the program and give it a try!

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June 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM

This would totally work without honey. The honey is in there just to help bring out the flavor of the sweet potato. I might try it without honey next time too, since we're trying to eliminate added sweeteners wherever we can, even honey!

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June 19, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Those chips look really good!

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June 24, 2012 at 6:56 PM

Wow, this is totally cool! I've seen baked chips, but not dehydrated or using a sauce like yours. Thanks so much for sharing this with us at the TGP!

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Anonymous
September 4, 2012 at 5:11 AM

Someone just posted a link to this recipe on a Facebook group. I'm so glad they did! I found "those" chips in the health food store and couldn't believe the price! I did go ahead and buy a package just to see if it was something I would like. I found them to be far too heavily seasoned but I liked the idea. I haven't been able to find a recipe so I was happy to find yours!

I'll be trying this recipe tomorrow once all the zucchini chips are done. I'm wondering if you've ever tried a ranch flavor coating? I think I could get the SAD grandkids to at least try that. I have a recipe for ranch dressing...may give it a try.

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September 4, 2012 at 6:58 AM

Yes, I like the ranch flavor as well, but this one has definitely been the biggest hit. You can call it "nacho cheese flavor" so your grandkids will try it ;)

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Anonymous
September 4, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Nacho Cheese.....good idea!

I went to the salvage grocery store today to get a sweet potato and try these. They had all kinds of wonderful stuff (even found organic heirloom tomatoes there for $0.29/lb) but no sweet potatoes!

Then I remembered that I have a can of pumpkin puree.....wondering if that might work. Add a little cinnamon, some nutmeg....OH MY!

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September 4, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Canned pumpkin sounds like the perfect replacement! What a deal on tomatoes! I don't think you can go wrong with these chips. I get very experimental, using whatever I have, and they always turn out good. Of course, they need the right amount of salt, and I forgot that essential ingredient in my last batch! My kids still gobbled them up, but not quite as quickly...

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September 16, 2012 at 8:34 AM

I absolutely LOVE that the kids eat them with gusto! Great recipe and this may even tempt me to a dehydrator! Found you through Amee's Fit & Fabulous Fridays and so glad that I did!

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September 16, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Thank you! I have heard of people making kale chips in a low oven, but I like that the dehydrated version keeps all these healthy ingredients raw.

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October 2, 2012 at 1:14 PM

I am featuring this incredible tasty and healthy snack this week on Allergy-Free Wednesdays :)

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October 2, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Thanks Laura! It's great to be featured ;)

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October 4, 2012 at 10:00 AM

I wish my kids were scarfing down kale! Next thing on my want list: a dehydrator!

-- Laura @ Frugal Follies

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October 16, 2012 at 8:59 PM

I'm about to bring home my mom's dehydrator (she is getting rid of it!) this recipe is perfect timing!

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October 17, 2012 at 6:23 AM

Lucky you! We've got my mother in law's on long-term loan ;)

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October 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Sweet potato in the sauce! I bet that adds to the sweetness of this. Very cool idea. Thanks for sharing at this week's Sugar Free Sunday!

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October 25, 2012 at 9:22 AM

They look happy! I like kale chips, but have never tried your version!

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October 25, 2012 at 3:54 PM

My kids seriously go crazy for these things. I usually don't make recipes that take this much work, but it's worth it for a healthy snack that we'd be spending top dollar on at the store!

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October 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM

These look really good and nutritious, I bet. Great recipe. :)

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November 19, 2012 at 12:35 PM

YUM, I would love to snack on these! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

We have a great collection of recipes going to get us ready for menu planning! Hope to see you this Thursday for another Gluten Free Fridays link up! It will be live at 7:05 eastern US time. Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

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November 25, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Thanks for sharing this great recipe! I was looking for new was to dress up my kale chips! I will pin this and try it as soon as I can get some nutritional yeast.

Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday! I am excited to see what you have to share this week :)

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November 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM

These look and sound so delicious! I'm going to pin this so I can find it later. I think I have to add a dehydrator to my Christmas list now :)

Visiting from the Hearth & Soul Hop.

Tammy
ourneckofthewoods.net

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November 27, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Dehydrators are very useful! And they can be very affordable if you're not going for the top of the line ;)

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November 30, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Wow these look really good! We love our dehydrator! Might have to try this!

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December 3, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Not long ago I saw a recipe for kale using a dehydrator, which sounds easier than using the oven to me. I like the flavor you add to it with the sauce -- YUM! Thanks for sharing on Hearth & Soul Hop. :)

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December 3, 2012 at 5:50 PM

I do think it's easier to dehydrate them. It takes more time, but I know I'd burn them in the oven ;) Plus, they stay healthy and raw!

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December 3, 2012 at 8:01 PM

This looks delicious! We love kale chips and we love sweet potatoes - sounds like a great combination!

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January 3, 2013 at 10:32 PM

My kids love kale in soup, but I've never tried anything like this. Maybe I'll give it a try. Thanks for linking up at One Creative Weekend! Enjoy your weekend.

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January 4, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Yum, I've got to start putting kale in soups too!

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January 16, 2013 at 11:01 AM

What an amazing recipe! Sound delicious! Thanks so much for sharing at Wednesday's Adorned From Above Blog Hop.
Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above
Bethany @ Whistle and Ivy

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January 22, 2013 at 3:26 PM

I've seen a bunch of people post kale chips and I was leary, but I would love to try them with sweet potato!

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January 22, 2013 at 5:52 PM

I know they sound so weird! But kale chips, crispy and salty, are great no matter what sauce you use. And this sauce is really good, so it's a total win. Hope you like them too!

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February 5, 2013 at 7:31 AM

Mellow, these chips and the suace look so delicious! We love kale chips too and I can't wiat to try your sauce! Always delighted you pop by Seasonal Celebration Wednesday! Rebecca @Natural Mothers Network x

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February 8, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Fabulous - will have to try on low in the oven as I don't have a dehydrator. Thanks! I found you at Townsend House Linky Party.

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March 19, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Oh yum! We love oven fried kale chips (coconout oil and sea salt). I bet these are great! Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! Hope you join us again today! http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/03/flip-trainer-review-at-eco-kids-tuesday.html

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April 25, 2013 at 1:44 PM

YUM! Talk about saving money! You are so right. Purchasing kale chips is crazy expensive. Can't wait to pop these into my dehydrator. Thanks for an other great Fabulously Frugal Thursday post.

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April 25, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Oh yum! I love the ones I make in the Oven and these must be even better -sure beats the big $$$ they are charging for a bag of Kale chips in the stores!

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April 25, 2013 at 9:41 PM

Yeah as long as you don't over cook them in the oven (if you don't have a dehydrator) they are really good! DH was really surprised -he initially wondered if I had gone crazy serving them to him lol!

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April 26, 2013 at 8:00 AM

What a great snack! Your recipe is fabulous and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Have a great weekend and come back soon!
Miz Helen

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May 3, 2013 at 8:05 AM

I'll have to try this recpie. I have tried the baked kale with just olive oil and sea salt - it was okay but not my favorite - a bit bitter. Hopefully this recipe will be better! Thanks for the information!

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May 13, 2013 at 1:41 PM

What kind of dehydrator do you have? Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Greens!

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May 15, 2013 at 10:53 PM

We used to have a (borrowed!) old round one from the '70s, but we just took the plunge recently and bought a "factory defect" Excalibur dehydrator. There is nothing visibly wrong with it, and it works great, but somehow it was discounted, so not quite as expensive as they can be!

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June 2, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Sounds delicious! I have to stop myself from buying kale chips because of the price. I need to invest in a dehydrator one of these days!

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September 20, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Oh gosh I so have to get a dehydrator, this looks amazing, pinning to my healthy eating board. Consider sharing on Real Food Fridays Link Up.

http://yourlife7.blogspot.com/2013/09/real-food-fridays-6-link-up.html

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October 7, 2013 at 7:19 AM

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe on my Meatless Monday Link Up. We love to eat fresh kale with our dinners, but we've never tried to make them crispy!
www.LittlestSweetPea.com

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Anonymous
February 21, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Looks really good! Just one question, do you need to use nutritional yeast? I cannot find any where I live. Can you substitue anything for it or would it be okay if it was omitted from the recipe.

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March 8, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Well, the nutritional yeast gives such a nice, rich flavor. Have you tried ordering it? Many companies will deliver. However, you can certainly still make a great kale chip with just a cashew/onion/salt cream sauce. Feel free to experiment- I don't think it will turn out bad. You can add some herbs and make it like a cool ranch flavor.

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