Paleo with a Purpose: Spicy Kale Chips

You know that urge you get to pop open a bag of Lay’s chips as you’re rummaging through HuluPlus looking for something to watch. Well, that was me this weekend. I found a TV show, but I found no snacks.

So naturally, I went over to Whole Foods to see what healthy and cheap snacks I could find. The only thing to catch my eye were kale chips, which resemble the same potato chip crunch we all love, but with many more health benefits.

The only problem was the price — almost $3 for the smallest bag of kale chips? I certainly didn’t want to pay that much. Plus, I wanted the spicy flavor that they were out of.

Naturally, my next step was the raw vegetable aisle. I found some baby carrots that had the crunch element but were not the same light and airy texture I wanted. Then I saw it — an entire bunch of kale for only $1.99. I knew what I was making… spicy kale chips.

Here’s a snack that will satisfy your craving, but won’t leave your arteries or fingers oily and is ready in less than 30 minutes.

1 bunch of curly kale
2 tbs. extra virgin coconut oil, melted
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Wash kale leaves and dry thoroughly. The key to perfectly crisped chips is to make sure they are completely dry before baking.

Rip apart small strands of kale from the stem and place in a large mixing bowl. I just used my fingers to rip apart the leaves — don’t worry about cutting perfect strips as they will still taste delicious regardless of your cutting methods. Promise.

Once all your leaves are cut and placed in a bowl, drizzle with coconut oil and coat as evenly as you can with your fingers. Try to get every piece evenly coated.

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, place leaves in a single layer. Don’t stack them on top of one another, or they won’t crisp. You also have to flatten each leaf out completely — if you have any leaves curled on top of each other it won’t work.

Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

Bake in oven for 11 minutes.

Then take out the now-crisped kale chips and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. I like mine really spicy, however, if you don’t care for a lot of spice, go ahead and skip this step.

This recipe yields twice the amount of kale chips than store-bought and at half the price.

DEMSINA BABAZADEH invites you to send your favorite recipes to undergo the Paleo treatment to dbabazadeh@ucdavis.edu

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