Thursday, March 21, 2013

Crispy Kale Chips in the Microwave

This is another great one for snackers who want to be healthy.
Kale chips.

I'm going to tell you two different methods of baking them, and then which one is my favorite.

I first found the recipe over at Big Flavors From a Tiny Kitchen, I have used it several times, and love it.

I did tweak it just a tiny bit- only in method, not really in ingredients.

Wash kale. You want to be kindof rough with it, to release the bitterness that kale can tend to have. When I first heard that, I was a bit confused at what that meant exactly. Finally figured out that it just means to kindof "crush" it when you wash it.
Open up the leaves. 
Press the fluffy part firmly between your hand and thumb.
 It will feel a lot softer when you're done doing this, and the leaves will look more open.

Dry kale. This step is very important. I thought the easiest way to do this was just to shake off what water I could, and then just lay it out on a couple cookie sheets to dry, and come back to it after a few hours, or the next day. I don't have a salad spinner, but I imagine that would work too. If it's not completely dry it will tend to get mushy, so I'm told. I haven't tried it because I just make sure it's dry.

EDIT: 7/26/2013 I got a salad spinner for my birthday (yay me!), and so have been using that. It works well to dry the kale most the way. Still leaves a bit of moisture, so I used this trick I've recently learned:

After cutting the kale into chip sizes, put in an airtight bowl and lay a napkin/paper towel on top the leaves before you put the lid on. Put it in the fridge and go about your day. When you are ready to make the chips, the napkin will be damp and the leaves will be perfectly dry. Perfect. This works great for storing salads, baby spinach, etc. too!

Cut the rib out of the center, and cut into pieces. Just do whatever size seems like a good size for a chip.

Spread in a single layer on your baking pan or microwave chip maker.

Yes, I said microwave! My new favorite way to cook them is in the microwave! I have the microwave chip maker, which is silicone, raised, and with holes in it to allow for air flow. I used it for the first time on kale. (the instructions that came with it said to only use it on potatoes, apples or yucca. But I tried it with kale and it worked beautifully!) This is one tool I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be able to substitute, so it's worth the small investment. I love that you can make baked chips on it- it pays for itself very very quickly when you consider how expensive baked chips can get.... especially bag after bag of them over the years.

Best of all, I found that they stay green! When you put them in the oven, they usually turn brown, no matter how careful you're being. When they're brown, they taste burnt. Burnt is yucky.

The best cook time for my microwave was 3 minutes for one tray- you'll have to add a minute or two for stacked trays. Since it was a short cook-time, I preferred to do one tray, because it was nice having one cooking while I was spreading out a layer of kale and salting it on the other tray.
Buy microwave chip tray here Microwave Potato Chip Maker - Oven Healthy Crispy Flavorful Fat-Free Set

Oven cooking pros/cons:
Pro: Cook more at once
Con: Burns more easily
Con: Longer cooking time
Con: Have to run the oven 
Microwave cooking pros/cons: 
Pro: Cooks faster
Pro: Doesn't burn as easily
Pro: Doesn't heat up the kitchen on a hot day
Con: Smaller tray means less can cook at once

Sprinkle with salt and bake.

Cook and enjoy.

Don't eat them all at once.


1 bunch kale
1 Tbsp olive oil
Season salt

Wash kale and let it completely dry.

Cut out stem. This is easy to do if you make one long slice along both sides of the stem.

Tear or cut the leaves into pieces.

Put into a bowl with a tight cover and drizzle the olive oil over it. Cover and shake around until its distributed on all the leaves.

Spread into a single layer on a non insulated cookie sheet, preferably one with holes in it like a pizza crisper pan.

Sprinkle with salt.
Bake 10-12 min at 350 or microwave 1 tray 3 min, 2 trays 4-5 min. (Microwave ovens vary, so start with the lesser time- you can always add more if they're not cripsy yet.)
Tip: Don't let it burn. If it's brown, it's a bit burnt, and will taste bitter.
A couple chips that did get burnt
Now you see why it's my favorite to use the microwave?
Trust me on the "don't eat them all at once" part.

Try them and let me know what you think!

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  1. Thanks for the tips! I just bought a big bunch of kale and want to give micro-chips a try.

    1. Yes, definitely! I think you'll like them. Let me know how it goes.

  2. what is the best way to season them so the seasoning stays on the chips

    1. Hi, great question! I would toss any seasonings on with the olive oil in the beginning, or after you arrange them on the chip maker, when you do the salt. What flavors are you wanting to try?

  3. Hi. Thanks for your great tutorial! What power setting do you put your microwave on please?

    1. Hello Snelette! Thank you! I keep my microwave set on High for this recipe. I believe my microwave is a little lower power than some (mine is perhaps 800-900 W? I couldn't find where it was labeled), so if yours tends to cook things faster, I'd start with a minute or so less. Play with the cooking time until you get yours figured out. Hope that helps!