Kale has gone from being that dark green leaf with frilly edges that’s used to cover a platter and set other, more popular fruits and vegetables on to being the “it” green of the moment. There’s many reasons why kale has gained in popularity, one being that it’s dark green color screams healthy. It’s good for the skin, good for the eyes, and rich in A, B, C and K vitamins as well as in many minerals. Kale, or borecole, offers protection from osteoporosis, anemia caused by iron-deficiency, and it is credited in protecting us from cardiovascular diseases and oral, colon and prostate cancers. Yes, but it’s still kale, highly perishable and tough-leaved.
Making kale chips is one way to prepare this ultra-healthy green so that even the kids will devour their greens. The best thing about this recipe is that you can adapt it to your taste. Today, my kale chips are coming to us by way of Mexico, tomorrow I may do them Asian style. You can let your imagination run with ideas of how to make your kale chips new and exciting every time you make them.
Now, you’re not going to find a lot of kale being eaten in Michoacan, Mexico, but what you’re almost certain to find is Cotija cheese. Cotija is a rather dry, salty (a little saltier than Parmesan) cheese that crumbles easily and adds tons of flavor to whatever it tops. It’s also my favorite! Mexican oregano has a different flavor than Mediterranean oregano. You can usually find it with the Mexican spice packets at your local grocery store. Piñones, or pine nuts, usually found near other packaged seeds, are high in protein, Vitamin K, and contain cholecystokinin, which is said to inhibit feelings of hunger. The pinolenic acid in pine nuts is also said to benefit the body’s metabolism. So, eat up.
1 bunch fresh organic curly leaf kale, washed and patted dry (I use the green variety, as I find the purple kale more bitter)
1 – 2 tbsp. crumbled Cotija cheese (found with the Mexican cheeses in the dairy section of the grocery store)
1 tbsp. pine nuts
Mexican chile sauce, such as Cholula or Tapatio, use amount to your taste
2 teaspoons organic coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Thoroughly wash and pat dry the kale leaves with paper towel.
3. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or baking paper. Rip the leaves away from the center stems into large pieces and spread them on the baking sheet.
4. Sprinkle the Cotija cheese, oregano and pine nuts evenly over the kale leaves.
5. Drizzle the coconut oil over the kale leaves.
6. Place in the oven and heat for 12 -15 minutes. Your kale ships should be crunchy around the tips but not overcooked.
7. Carefully pick up the paper liner from the pan and slide the kale chips into a serving bowl.
Note: For a vegan option, omit the Cotija cheese or replace it with a vegan cheese such as rice cheese.
These make perfect hors d’ouevres, however you will need to make pans and pans full for a party because the kale cooks down a lot, and it’s like green healthy popcorn: You can’t stop yourself!