For several reasons, I have come to believe that kale chips might be the best holiday food:
1.) We are all rushing around during this time of year and can forget to think about ourselves and the grocery shopping we need to do, leading to eating the peppermint bark that a client/friend gave us for breakfast, lunch and possibly dinner (and dessert).
2.) It’s a little chilly to get enthusiastic over our beloved green smoothies.
3.) Unlike fresh veggies, we can store bags of kale chips in our cupboards/purse/car/winter coat pockets so that we always have green veggies around for when we realize we haven’t eaten and start thinking about that peppermint bark on our counter at home.
And, as mentioned, thanks to the Simon and Garfunkel herbs (and some veggies), these ones taste like stuffing. Whether you are American (this may be a little soon for you guys, sorry, I have some more neutrally flavoured ones here), Canadian (we embrace traditional stuffing at Christmas too), or from elsewhere, you really just need to be human to love these (not tested on animals).
The best thing that can happen by making these kale chips a part of your daily December lives: you will get warm and fuzzy feelings all month long because your kale chips taste like holiday stuffing, but shhhh, you’re actually eating more kale every day than you have all year.
The worst thing? By the time Christmas dinner rolls around, you’re a bit sick of stuffing, due to all of the stuffing flavoured kale chips you consumed all month, so instead of the yeasty, refined carb, often sausage-filled stuffing, you load up on Brussels sprout casserole. See what happened there?
Can we talk about some of the other ways these chips are going to make your December bright and shiny? Those herbs are much more than music fodder: Parsley is a digestive aid (relevant during this indulgent time of year), anticarcinogenic (anticancer) and an antioxidant. Sage is an antimicrobial and decongestant (works well against colds and flu), and also stimulates bile flow (helps digest fatty food). Rosemary is a strong antioxidant, reduces cancer risk, appetite stimulant (relevant if you’re going through cancer treatment), reduces headaches, is alkalizing (and so much more). Thyme supports lung health (is often an ingredient in natural cough remedies), is a powerful antiseptic, and helps prevent nightmares.
All of these herbs are warming too, making them a great winter-y herbal combo to add to your butternut squash soup, winter-y stews and even just a pot of boiling water to make some tea. Stuffing tea? Feel free to rename that…
And that’s just the herbs. We also have protein-rich hemp hearts paired with creamy cashews and also the kale (because it’s kale). Two big, leafy bunches that cook/dry down to a manageable amount of kale chips that you will burn through in no time.
If you have a dehydrator, these can stay entirely raw (set it to 105*F), which means the enzymes will stay living, helping with digestion, and the vitamin c will remain. If you don’t, don’t worry, a low oven will work well and the cooking process will bring out different health benefits in the ingredients (also, you won’t have to clean a dehydrator).
These kale chips make a really fun, interesting appetizer to put out if you’re having friends over for holiday kombucha cocktails. From an ingredient standpoint, kale chips are essentially veggies and dip, just way more interesting. Stack them up to look like a Christmas tree in the middle of your holiday table to replace your traditional croquembouche. Nobody will even notice :)
*Important note: don’t forget to drink lots of water (or stuffing tea) to stay hydrated. It’s important all of the time, but especially when you have dried kale chips re-hydrating in your stomach. All of that fiber needs some water to help move things along.
- 2 good-sized heads of Curly Kale (lacinato is good too, but I like the texture of the curly)
- ½ c Hemp Hearts
- ½ c Cashews (soaked for 8-12 hours, drained and rinsed well)
- ½ medium Onion, roughly chopped
- 1 Celery rib, roughly chopped
- 5-8 Sage Leaves (depending on their size)
- 1 x 4 inch sprig of Rosemary, leaves pulled off (use the leaves only)
- 2-3 x 4 inch sprigs of Thyme, leaves pulled off (use the leaves only)
- ½ c fresh Parsley
- 2 Tbsp Dulse
- 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- ¼-1/2 c Water (enough to get your blender going)
- Sea(weed) Salt to taste
- Preheat your oven to 250*F (or use your dehydrator set at 105*F)
- Pull the kale leaves from the stems (reserve the stems for juicing or smoothies).
- Wash and dry (well) the kale leaves.
- Blend the rest of the ingredients in a blender until very smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- In a large bowl, toss the cashew mixture with the kale leaves until well coated.
- Spread out on 2-3 parchment-lined baking sheets (or dehydration trays if using a dehydrator)
- If using an oven, bake for 45-60 minutes, checking every 15 minutes to move them around for even drying/cooking (they are ready when they are bone-dry).
- If using a dehydrator, dehydrate at 105*F for 10-12 hours or until they are totally dry.
- Store in an air-tight container and they will taste good for 3-4 days (after that, they aren't bad they just taste stale -freshen them with a quick toast in the oven or your dehydrator)