Celebrate National Kale Day 10/2/2013! And Eat More Kale Chips!

Next Wednesday, October 2, 2013, marks the first National Kale Day.  Started by psychiatrist and farmer Drew Ramsey, MD and Chef Jennifer Iserloh, this day is a celebration of kale as one part of a healthy diet and foundation for a happy and healthy life.  I love the idea, so I have joined the movement and am putting on an all-kale cooking class next Wednesday.  If you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, please join me!

Besides eating kale several times a week, I’ve written about kale more times than the average person.   When I talk about kale, it’s in the context of my belief that doctors should prescribe recipes, not only medications.  If you’re interested, read these links:

Zester Daily, May 6, 2013

The San Francisco Chronicle, May 10, 2013

Culinate, July 20, 2013

But if you want to get straight to the kale chips, I don’t blame you.  Last year, these chips became my family’s latest snack craze.  We love leafy greens in general, but it is amazing what a transformation kale undergoes when heated at low temperature in the oven– less like a good-for-you green vegetable, more like a potato chip.  My kids can devour an entire head of kale prepared this way in five minutes flat.  And unlike potato chips, kale retains its nutritional value when made into chips.  Kale is getting a lot of attention for being the  most nutrient dense food under the recently popularized  ANDI scoring system.  (Nutrient-dense foods are those foods that provide substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals and relatively few calories.)  Kale is high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A and calcium, as well as B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium.  It’s fat and sodium free, and the minuscule amounts of olive oil and salt in my kale chips recipe barely bumps those amounts.

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Kale Chips

Ingredients

1 head kale, washed and completely dried

salt to taste

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

Technique

1.  Wash whole kale leaves, then shake out or dry in a salad spinner, then place on a rack to dry thoroughly.  Depending on your temperature and humidity conditions, this can take an hour or several hours. Alternatively, dry thoroughly with towels.

2.  Preheat oven to 275 F.

3.  Once kale leaves are completely dried, tear leaves off the fibrous central stem into bite-size (potato chip sized) pieces and place onto two baking sheets in a single layer with some space around each leaf.

4.  Sprinkle on some salt and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, about 1 Tbsp per baking sheet.  Toss with tongs to evenly distribute salt and oil.

5.  Place prepared kale leaves into the preheated oven, and bake for 20 minutes, turning over leaves halfway through baking.

6.  Serve immediately.

Variations: You could experiment with an endless variety of tasty seasonings depending on your theme

-Mexican: cayenne pepper with a squeeze of lime juice

-hippie/vegan: Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast

-Japanese: Nori Furikake (seaweed sesame rice seasoning)

Do you have any other flavor ideas?