Nacho "Cheese" Kale Chips & Sauce

I was going to call this post “Saucy & Juicy,” but then I didn’t.  Oh well.  I’ve been fighting off a sore throat and achy-cold-type-thing since I got to Salt Spring Island on Thursday.  It’s been over a year since I’ve had a full-blown cold, but this is my second nagging almost-cold of the season – there seems to be a lot of stuff going around out here.  I’ve been doing my usual assault of anti-microbial foods, herbs and some immune boosting vitamins & minerals, plus super light eating.  Unfortunately for you, that makes for less interesting blog-o-ramas here, since I already did my seasonal cold & flu post.  Aww, shit.

Let’s do some snack foods, super healthy styles, instead!  Kale chips!

Kale chips, particularly of the “cheese” or “nacho” variety, are basically like crack.  If I’m feeling super indulgent and I’m looking for a snack, I’ll buy a bag, but considering that’s about half a bunch of organic kale + seasoning + dehydrating time + labor, that’ll run you $7-$10 in most health food stores.  And seriously, who can afford that?  I’ve made my own in the past, but last night I finally cracked my favourite “nacho cheese” flavour for good.  These are my new fave kale chips, and I’m willing to share!  Well, the recipe.  Not the chips I made.  Those are almost gone, anyway.  Honestly.  Make these and try not to eat every single one the second they come out of the dehydrator or oven.  That’s my other tip.  Slightly less energy efficient, but you can totally make these in an oven, no dehydrator required!  If you’re not worried about keeping it totally raw, you also don’t have to worry about energy efficiency, and it’s only take you…maybe an hour and a half?  Not four.  Ha!

If you’re looking to collect some super stealth culinary health ninja points this holiday season, make a batch or two of these for party snacking.  Or movie snacking.  Or anytime snacking.  Or breakfast.  Lunch.  Dinner.  I would turn down every other chip in the world for these, I’m not even joking.  It’s not just “health food delicious” it’s actual delicious, but you can feel sooooooooooooo good about it, because it’s just friggin kale and cashews.  Ho’ shit, guys.  Recipe time.  I hope you’re convinced.

Nacho “Cheese” Kale Chips

1 bunch curly kale, stems removed and torn into 2-3 inch pieces
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (that’s “nooch,” mom)
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp coconut sugar (or agave, or maple syrup, or 1 date)
1 tsp sea salt
pinch chipotle pepper powder (or smaller pinch of cayenne)
2-3 tbsp water to blend (less is more!)

Wash, de-stem and tear kale into pieces.  Bigger pieces are good, because they tend to break/fall apart later, and you don’t want to end up with alllllll crumbs.  Blend all sauce ingredients in blender or food processor; add water last, beginning with 1 tbsp and increasing only if required to make sauce blend smoothly.  Toss kale and sauce together with your hands, making sure all leaves are covered on both sides.  Give the kale a massage while you’re at it.

Lay kale leaves out on teflex or parchment lined dehydrator trays or baking sheets.  If going dehydrator route, dehydrate at 115F for approximately 4 hours.  If using oven, put it on the lowest temperature and crack door ever so slightly; I’ve gotten the best oven results by flipping my chips about half-way through, it may take 2-3 hours depending on your oven temp.  Alternatively, do it at 200F, flip in the middle, and it may only take 1-1.5hrs.

When they’re done, if you can control yourself from eating them ALL AT ONCE OMNOMNOM, store in airtight container for…realistically, a week or two, but as if they’ll last that long!

Note:  Alternatively, eat this as a delicious cheesy salad instead of dehydrating, OR pour the sauce on ANYTHING and eat that as a delicious, cheesy…anything.  Try it on raw or cooked noodles for a spicy “mac’n’cheese”, or use it as a dip, for veggies, crackers, other chips.

I am declaring 2010/2011 the Holiday Season of the Kale Chip, so let’s all pig out on delicious, crunchy, savoury leafy greens, ok?

In other news, the “juicy” part of this “saucy” post is my currant favourite fresh juice blend.  I’ve been attacking my minor illness with green juice, and this morning had the BEST blend of fruits & greens ever.  Shut up haters, cilantro is juice king!

Green Grapefruit


Combine half greens and half fruits, a knob of ginger, remove citrus skins and JUICE!  Yummers.

Alright, that’s that for now.  I’m off to Vancouver for a couple of days, so I may or may not have any sharesies until Wednesday.  Going to hit up OrganicLives and 49th Parallel for sure!

18 thoughts on “Nacho "Cheese" Kale Chips & Sauce

  1. Yeah, I love kale chips. They are so easy. I've never made a sauce for them like that but they always get a generous dusting of nooch from me.
    Also what is up with everyone hating cilantro?

  2. I feel the same way about kale. I'm a total junk food vegan, but gimme kale chips and I'll toss my tortilla chips and processed vegan cheeze dip out the window. Thanks for this recipe. I've never tried 'em in the dehydrator with a cheezy sauce…only in the oven with garlic and spices. I'm soooo gonna make these!

  3. Kale chips rule- I usually just go for simple salt and pepper toppings, but I love the sound of a cheesy addition… Gotta try this next time!

  4. Those looks soooo good! I really need to make some…. you have inspired me! I can tell by the recipe that it's super tasty

  5. Call me crazy, but when I put them in the oven at 350F it only takes like 15 minutes. Is that weird? I got the recipe off some youtube video.

  6. Nina – 15 minutes seems super quick, but possible! I also feel like I may have been on vegan crack and/or made a typo in this post, because I usually do my oven kale chips @ 200F for an hour-ish. changing temp in recipe! hmmm, maybe I originally meant 250…

  7. Hi Ainslie,

    My dehydrator was just delivered last night, and I plan to make my first batch of kale chips this weekend. Your directions are to dehydrate for 4 hours at 115 degrees. After seeing other recipes, I’ve seen recommendations as low as 105 degrees for up to 15 hours. Why does there seem to be such a discrepancy in times/temperatures for something that seems like it should be a pretty standard instruction?

    Thank You…


    1. Hi Eric,

      The discrepancy likely stems from that fact that depending on the type of kale you’re using, + it’s moisture content + how much dressing/sauce you’ve put on, it really can vary a lot in how long it takes them to get nice and crispy. A really heavy, curly kale + thick, cashew-based sauce + lower temp could take hours longer than a simple lemon seasoning on a lighter kale. I would say check them after 4 hours, + see if they need longer. It’s a bit of a “they’re done when they’re done” situation, not always an exact science. As for differing temperatures…well, that’s more of a personal preference, raw food purists probably prefer a lower temperature, but that will definitely take more hours. Hope that helps. Happy kale chipping!

        1. Also to be truly raw all food it can’t be heated over certain temperatures. Most raw foodies say keep your heat at 105 degrees but there is a school of thought that the enzymes and nutrients still stay in tact at 115 degrees above 115 the enzymes and nutrients start to die off.

          1. Too true! I’ve seen discussion about enzymes in different foods tolerating different temps as well, and it depending on, say, the thickness/consistency of what you’re dehydrating as to what temperature it can stand before the enzymes are affected, as well as the length of time – a light kale chip or thin cracker may have it’s enzymes affected even at 105 degrees, and unless we’re scientists in a lab, we’ll never know 😉

  8. Just wanted to say I found this recipe through google and its been my “go-to” for the last year. Totally lovin’ it

  9. I have these kale chips in the oven now. If they taste even half as good as my house smells, I may devour them all before anyone else even lays eyes on them. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. I make these delicious morsels all the time! But let me tell you, now that I’m pregnant, I have had insane cravings for these :)
    Thanks for the recipe! So amazing :)

  11. Hi!
    I was at the grocery store tonight about to buy a $7.99 (ok, $8) bag of kale chips.. when I was like, ‘no! no more! I can no longer go on spending this much $ on kale chips & bought a head of kale. I came across your recipe and it looks like just what I’m looking for. Can’t wait to try it.. I will report back!

    1. Ha, that is basically the exact situation that caused me to create this recipe. It’s pretty much identical to any ‘cheese’ or ‘nacho’ flavoured kale chip you can buy, hope you like it!

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