Kale chips for kids

by on October 26, 2010

in Eating,Green,Picky kids,Toddler

Our friend (and everybody’s favorite auntie) has another recipe to share. This time it’s a side dish guaranteed to give you super powers: kale chips! Holden, age 5, and I can eat a whole batch ourselves. Too bad 3-year old Milo won’t touch ‘em.

In my numerous forays into learning about good nutrition, there is one food that pops up over and over again: kale. It is literally one of the healthiest vegetables out there, packed with almost every nutrition buzzword I can think of right now, like antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, phytonutrients, and omega-3s. It’s been shown to prevent cancer, slow memory loss, aid with digestion, and much more.

So you probably want to get some in your diet for you, your kids, your partner, and so forth, so you can all live long and be smart and healthy and good-looking, right? But you have a hard time selling the pile of slimy green stuff on the plate at dinner time, yes? Enter the magical world of kale chips.

I have not enjoyed my run-ins with store-bought kale chips, so I finally just made my own at home and it was surprisingly easy. They turned out delicious, and best of all, they made me feel insanely virtuous for snacking on what is essentially a big pile of dried out kale. I’m surprised my body didn’t reject the sheer concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from consuming a whole bunch of kale in one sitting. The chips come out delightfully paper-thin and crispy, so once you start eating them it can be difficult to stop. The beauty is that these are made out of KALE so you are really supposed to eat a whole bunch of them! Win win win win win!

Due to the crispy texture, cool color and shape aesthetics, and chip-dependent moniker, I have also had success getting small children to eat these. Kids Eating KALE. I didn’t even try kale until I was like 31, and in fact, I don’t even think I knew what it was. I knew a guy named Kale in high school, but I don’t even think HE knew he was named after a nutritious dark leafy green. Kids these days are so much more worldly!!

If you’re a kale newbie, you may find that your local store or farmer’s market offers different types of kale. For kale chips, it doesn’t really matter which kind you use, as long as it’s not the ornamental type. Some of the most common kale varieties you’re likely to find are Russian Red, Tuscan, Dinosaur, and Lacinato.

Recipe: Kale Chips
makes about 25-30 big chips

Ingredients:

  • 12-15 whole kale leaves, rinsed well and patted dry with paper towels
  • About a tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 250. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper to save on washing later.
  2. Rip or cut the kale leaves along the tough center stem on either side. This should give you 2 or 3 kale pieces from each leaf, depending on how the ripping works out. It doesn’t matter if they are different sized pieces as long as the tough center part is gone. Discard the center ribs (er, I mean, compost the center ribs? Heather can feed them to her chickens?) and put the rib-free kale pieces into a bowl.
  3. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil (feel free to use less or more depending on preference) and toss the leaves in the oil with your hands to coat. Add a sprinkling of salt to taste and toss again. Lay the kale chips out on the pan in a single layer. They can be touching but not overlapping. (Depending on the size of your pan and your leaves, you may need a second pan or to cook them in two batches on the same pan.)
  4. Bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, until crisp through but not brown. Let sit for a few minutes to cool, then eat.

Because they are so delicate, kale chips don’t travel very well, but if you need to transport some, lay them flat in a pile in a container that’s cushioned with a wadded up paper towel on the bottom.

Have you tried giving your children kale chips? How’d it go?

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Among other things, I am a toddler mom, a former pastry chef, a San Francisco native, an extensive world traveler, an often overwhelmed remodeler, and an aspiring photographer. I have had a LOT of different jobs for a person in their 30s. I blog at OffTheMeathook.com (lifestyles of the carnivorous and fabulous).

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