Nacho Kale Chips

Kale is one of my absolute favorite greens, and these kale chips are one of my favorite ways to enjoy them! They are savory, crispy, and packed with nutrient-dense ingredients! I can easily eat a whole batch of these kale chips in one sitting- they are just so good! As a bonus, it’s also one of my favorite ways to get a dose of turmeric!

Nutrition Spotlight:

When it comes to greens, kale is one I try to include regularly in my routine. It’s packed with many beneficial nutrients, but one in particular is calcium. Often when people think of calcium, they think of milk and dairy. However, kale, broccoli, and bok choy have more absorbable calcium than cows milk. Our bodies absorb about 32% of the calcium in cows milk, whereas it can absorb 49% of calcium in kale, 61% of the calcium in broccoli, and 53% of the calcium in bok choy.

Calcium can be found in other plant-foods too, such as fortified plant-based milk, calcium-set tofu, collard greens, tahini, chia seeds, soybeans, blacktop molasses, dried figs, almonds, and almond butter. For a downloadable PDF, see this resource from the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. While the calcium is more absorbable in some plant-based foods, like kale, we still need to eat enough of these foods to get all the calcium our body needs for the day. I do find that including a calcium- fortified soymilk can help people meet their daily needs for calcium. It can be possible meet your calcium needs without fortified foods, but you do need to be more diligent about eating enough calcium-rich foods throughout the day —-and including foods like kale can really help since 1 cup of cooked kale has 177 mg of calcium (1 cup raw has 54 mg of calcium).

These kale chips definitely help me to eat more calcium-rich plant foods since they contain both kale and tahini! 

A few notes before you get started:

Air Fryer Method: An air fryer can also be used to make these chips. If the air fryer has a bake setting, bake at 350F for about 6-8 minutes. If using the air fryer setting, cook for only about 3-4 minutes. It’s much easier to burn the chips on air fryer setting, so start with less time and add more as needed. The second batch of kale chips may burn faster- so cut the cook time in half and then add more time, as needed to assure you don’t burn your chips– lesson learned here one too many times. 

Batch it! Feel free to make a double batch of the nacho spread and keep it in your fridge for up to 3-4 days. I find it helpful to double-up on this to help cut down on the prep time during the week. It can make for a much easier and quicker snack. Store the leftovers in an airtight container and then when ready to make the chips, just spread on your kale and bake!

Chop the kale ahead of time.  I am not always perfect about this step, but if you remember and have the time-prep your kale at least 40 minutes before making the chips. This one little step will help you get the most nutritional value out of your kale because it allows for the sulforaphane, an anti-cancer component of kale and other cruciferous vegetables, to become activated before cooking. If you forget, feel free to add a little pinch of mustard powder to the nacho mix- if you choose. 

Spices: feel free to play around with the spices to your liking.  Add some smoky paprika or a chipotle powder, toss a little onion powder in. The extra spices will make the mix a bit thicker, so add a pinch of water if needed to thin it out more. You’ll still want the spread to be a thick paste so avoid adding too much water. 

Nacho Kale Chips

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale

1 Tablespoon tahini

2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 Tablespoons water (+ additional 1 teaspoon, if needed)

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon black pepper 

1/2 teaspoon white miso paste (optional) 

Method:

  1. Wash the kale and dry well. Rip the kale into large pieces.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients until it forms a paste. Add additional 1 teaspoon of water if needed.

  3. Spread a thin layer of the paste on the kale pieces, then place the kale on an air fryer rack or a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. 

  4. Bake the chips in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes. Add an additional 1-2 minutes, if needed. It’s better to start with less time to avoid burning the kale. Allow to cool for a moment and then enjoy!

Serves 1-2