Let me preface this by saying I am not a picky eater. However, I am when it comes to one ingredient: kale.
Kale is a very controversial green. You either love it, or you hate it. It’s bitter, a little dry, and is often tough. But for those who love it, they enjoy its strong and earthy taste.
I happened to hate it. But notice how I used past tense there?
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I saw a recipe for kale chips in our book, Vegetables Illustrated, and I almost turned the page immediately. Chips are meant for wonderful things like potatoes, not kale. But when I saw a variation for “Ranch-Style Kale Chips,” I paused.
I love ranch seasoning. It’s almost like bacon; it makes everything taste a little better. So I figured I would give this recipe a try. If I was ever going to like kale, it was going to be in this application: crunchy and covered in ranch seasoning. I had hopes it might taste like a healthier Dorito.
After making my seasoning of dried dill, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, I got started on the kale. After making sure it was completely dry so that it would get nice and crispy in the oven, I stemmed it and tore it into 3-inch pieces. Finally, I tossed it in some oil, salt, and the ranch seasoning.
The cool part about this recipe is that you bake the kale on a wire rack set in a baking sheet to allow the oven air to circulate around all the leaves. You also cook them at a really low temperature, 200 degrees Fahrenheit, for 45 minutes to an hour, which helps mimic the drying process that would happen in a food dehydrator.
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After the kale cooled, I went ahead and tried one.
I was stunned.
Since they were airy and crunchy, that toughness I always hated about kale was gone. The earthiness and bitter flavor was still there, but it was balanced out nicely with the punch of the garlic and onion powder and the fresh, slightly-sweet flavor of the dill.
They might not be dead ringers for Cool Ranch Doritos, and they’re certainly no potato chip, but they were tasty enough to convert this kale-hater even if just for the time it took me to finish the bowl. I don’t think I’ll be using kale as the base of a salad anytime soon, but these kale chips might just find their way into my snack rotation.
Ranch-Flavored Kale Chips
Serves 4 Total time: 1 hour
- 2 teaspoons dried dill
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces Lacinato kale, stemmed and torn into 3-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- FOR THE SEASONING: Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Set aside.
- FOR THE KALE CHIPS: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 200 degrees. Set wire racks in 2 rimmed baking sheets. Dry kale thoroughly between dish towels, transfer to large bowl, and toss with oil and seasoning blend.
- Arrange kale on prepared racks, making sure leaves overlap as little as possible. Bake kale until very crisp, 45 minutes to 1 hour, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let kale chips cool completely before serving. (Kale chips can be stored in paper towel–lined airtight container for up to 1 day.)