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Cheesy Kale Chips

Put the Cheetos Aside For Cheesy Kale Chips

My most-made recipe of all time would have to be VeganYumYum's Hurry Up Alfredo, a vegan cheese sauce made with cashews and nutritional yeast. One day, I had the inspired idea to use this beloved recipe as the base for a cheesy kale chip. But how would the unlikely list of ingredients (including coconut oil and soy sauce) translate into a cheesy topping for a vegetable chip? To my amazement, it was like bread on butter; this cheesy sauce belongs on a kale chip.

Slow cooking the chips in a low-heat oven is like baking them in a dehydrator. They retain their beautiful green hue while crisping up into Cheetos that nature intended. Vegans and nonvegans alike can attest to the absolutely addictive flavor of the cheese sauce, which as it turns out, tastes remarkably umami and salty, like Parmesan cheese or aged gouda.

Enjoy the crisps immediately out of the oven, off of the baking sheet itself . . . maybe while hovering over your stovetop. You'll discover it's near impossible to transfer these kale chips to a proper serving vessel. Many kale chip fanatics unabashedly confess to eating the whole batch before the chips have even cooled!

Cheesy Vegan Kale Chips

Cheesy Vegan Kale Chips

Notes

Make sure the kale is completely dry before you attempt to dress it. If it is wet, the cheesy mixture won't stick to the leaves. Use a salad spinner for an easy way to dry the kale.

To keep the kale chips crisper for longer, use a silica packet from your vitamin jar to prevent the kale from absorbing moisture in the air and becoming soggy.

Cheesy Kale Chips

Ingredients

2 tablespoons refined coconut oil or vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsalted, raw cashews
1/2 lemon, juiced
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves
1 bunch curly kale, stems removed and broken up into 2-inch pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, grind coconut oil and cashews together until mixture resembles peanut butter. Add and process all remaining ingredients except for kale.
  3. In a large, clean, and dry bowl, combine cheesy mixture with kale. With your fingers, rub cheese mixture into kale leaves until each piece is thoroughly coated.
  4. Bake for 1 hour or until kale is dry and crisp; there should be no moistness. If a few larger pieces are not cooked thoroughly, return the undercooked pieces to the oven for another 20 minutes, or until they are dry. Store kale chips in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts
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Join The Conversation
janelanee janelanee 1 year
My friend makes these in her dehydrator and they are AMAZING and completely life changing. I've never been a healthy eater (cheetos are my biggest vice) but when done right, these taste better than any junk food. I don't have a dehydrator so I've tried making them in the oven and playing around with the recipe a lot. Here are some of my notes: 1) This popsugar recipe is completely wrong for a number of reasons, but the biggest is that you must SOAK the cashews. Overnight, if possible (I know, it's a pain, but you really have to). Undersoaked cashews will be extremely chunky and the sauce won't spread evenly, ruining the chips and making your whole effort moot. 2) The sauce needs to be completely liquified, more like peanut oil than peanut butter (the reason for soaking the cashews). If it's chunky or thick at all, it won't spread and the chips won't cook evenly and will taste terrible. It must be entirely homogeneous. Use a full lemon per kale bunch (minus the rind and seeds) at least, and add more lemon juice liberally as needed to make the sauce thin. If you really hate lemon you can use oil instead to thin, but that's going to make it a lot less healthy and it won't have the same cheesy taste (don't use water, you don't want it to be soggy). When adding the sauce to the kale, massage it in there with your hands for like 10 minutes until every crevice of the kale is evenly coated, or else you'll risk getting globs. 3) Mustard and soy sauce are unnecessary. Do add a full chopped red pepper per kale bunch (or half if you don't like the taste; I don't usually, but it makes the sauce a lot more flavorful). Also, add some salt to make the kale crunchy. 4) Prepping the kale: use a salad spinner after rinsing to remove excess water, then pop the kale in the preheated oven while you're prepping the other ingredients to help it dry out even more. Soggy chips are the worst. Remove from the oven when completely dry and a little crispy, and cut into small chip-sized pieces, removing the stem (you can leave the stem on if you want, but it will make the chips much more difficult to eat). I've considered adding the stem to the sauce in order to retain as many nutrients as possible, but I've never actually tried it. 5) Baking: don't bake at 200, bake at the lowest possible setting (mine is 180; 120 is ideal). You can bake them at higher degrees for shorter amounts of time, but the purpose of the low baking temp is to retain the kale nutrients. 5 minutes at 400 degrees (some people recommend this) might get you chips that taste good, but it will destroy all of the nutrients in the kale, and considering that a cup of cashews has about 1400 calories, you might as well just eat Doritos. It's going to take longer than an hour, and you can't just leave 'em and forget, you need to flip them every half hr or so, otherwise the undersides will be very soggy. Also rotate the pans since some parts of the oven will be hotter than others. I'd encourage sprinkling more salt and yeast on when you flip to make them crunchier, but it's not entirely necessary and you don't want too much sodium. 6) Don't just use one bunch of kale. The kale will shrink in the oven, and your yield from one bunch will take about 5 minutes to eat and won't be worth the effort. Instead, use as many bunches as you have racks in your oven (I have 4, two of which I added for this purpose). It will keep for longer than 3 days; a week or more if you use a good airtight container. 7) Taste the sauce before baking, and tweak it to make it the flavor you like (I add a lot more yeast for more cheesiness). Let the chips cool after you take them out of the oven, they'll get slightly crunchier. These are the most time-intensive, frustrating thing to make in the history of the universe, but once you get it right it's totally worth it, I promise.
Bizzy7575253 Bizzy7575253 2 years
I'm sorry but I was expecting so much more from this recipe. Did not taste good at all, but I appreciate you introducing me to Kale in another fashion. I think I will stick with roasting them in the oven with Evoo, salt and pepper. Can't go wrong with that one.
Anna-Monette-Roberts Anna-Monette-Roberts 2 years
@wilsmilz, these really don't take that long to prep. The sauce takes maybe 5 minutes and washing and tearing the kale takes 5 minutes. The only thing you have to wait for is the actual cooking part. But yes, I do believe these are worth making! They are gobbled up quicker than any snack I've ever encountered.
wilsmilz wilsmilz 2 years
ok, is this worth the effort? I hear kale chips, read the process and it seems like it's more work than reward... tips/tricks/insight??? Thanks, Wm.
Nicole-Perry Nicole-Perry 2 years
As someone who's mighty skeptical of anything trying to replicate cheese that's not dairy based I was a bit unsure of how these would taste. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised — these were intensely delicious. As in I couldn't stop devouring them!
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