Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Raw Chipotle Kale Chips

Have you guys seen these delicious Alive and Radiant kale chips at Whole Foods?

I love them and buy 1-2 bags per week. My favorite flavors are Cheezy Chipotle and Ranch, but I really have loved all other flavors (including Tarragon Dijon and Quite Cheesy) - just stay away from the Orange Creamsicle! They're a great way to get a satisfying, snack-y crunch without the processed corn, wheat, and oils found in most chips. Unfortunately, however, they contain about 2 servings for their hefty $5 price tag. I was determined to make my own.

I came across a recipe using the same ingredients on this blog, "Be Well with Sue," and adapted the recipe slightly. However, if you do a web search you can find many variations of raw kale chips - you can even do (brace yourself) a chocolate flavor! (Seriously, it's actually delicious! I promise!)

Here's what I made to create these delicious little treasurers. They are incredibly addictive and snack-able, plus they're a great way to get kale, an amazing super food, into your diet. Kale is chock full of over 45 identified flavonoids and has potential as a cancer-preventive, heart-protective, and detoxifying super-food. Plus, the cashews in this recipe offer a dose of healthy fat and protein, and the nutritional yeast (see below) offers complete protein and B vitamins. I dropped a few of these chips the floor and realized that my pups like them too. If my vegetable-averse dogs will eat them, I'm pretty sure your pickiest eater will too!

This recipe uses a dehydrator to keep the kale chips "raw" (a.k.a. below 118 degrees F). Raw foods generally have more intact enzymes than cooked foods. While I actually think there are benefits to cooking foods, I try to eat at least 50-60% (or more) raw. Instead of using a dehydrator, which can put you out a few hundred bucks, you can bake these in the oven. Check out this post from my beautiful friend Maya for more information! However, owning a dehydrator has been really fun for making other things like fruit leathers, banana chips, and turkey or beef jerky.

Raw Chipotle Kale Chips

2 bunches kale (I used 1 pre-washed bag and 1 bunch)
2 cups raw cashews
1/2 red bell pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
6 T. nutritional yeast*
2 tsp. chipotle powder (find in the Hispanic foods section)
1 1/4 cups pure water

* Nutritional yeast is not brewers yeast - it's a deactivated yeast with texture similar to cornmeal that is often used by vegans as a good source of B vitamins and as a complete protein. (Complete proteins have all essential amino acids - this is hard to get for those who don't eat animal proteins.) It gives a "cheesy" feel in this recipe. Find it in the supplements section of most health food stores.


Assemble ingredients:

Soak the cashews for 2 hours by submerging them in water. This makes them must softer and easier to blend, plus they're easier on your digestion. Just put them in a bowl, cover with water, and sit them on the counter for a while. Maybe you can go take a Karve class while you wait? :)

Discard the water.

Blend all ingredients except kale in a blender or food processor to make the "cheesy" sauce.

Wash the kale and remove the large center stem.

Tear into bite-sized pieces. I actually wish I would have made bigger pieces than I did, so experiment with different sizes.

Pour the sauce on the kale and mix well. Use your hands to massage the sauce into the kale.

Spread the kale onto dehydrator sheets. I used 4 sheets for this recipe.

Dehydrate for 8-12 hours at 120 degrees. I did this overnight, and my house smelled yummy when I woke up! Kale chips for breakfast anyone?

Enjoy! I know I REALLY did :)


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