Superchips! Superfood kale with superspices

(Folks who received the email update today about this post from October, sorry ’bout that – I have absolutely no idea what happened there. Google FeedBurner, which serves those emails, must have had a glitch of some sort.)

Baked kale chips were a revelation, the first time I made them last year (even though I burned them a little, ahem). You’re with me on this one, right? Baked kale chips = awesomeness.

But, my long-ago history with kale was sketchy, at best. My mom, with her Eastern European roots, served us cooked kale and kielbasa on a regular basis. I honestly don’t remember whether I liked or disliked it, because that detail was drowned out by an unfortunate kale incident involving a worm. More specifically, a plump worm corpse.

Stuff gets into food, especially wrinkly, foldy kale leaves — it happens — but I was at some ‘tween age where worms were neither kindergarten cool nor adult just-scootch-that-portion-discretely-to-the-side. A worm in my dinner was just plain gross, and man, did it scar me (in Mom’s defense, I’m fairly certain she was using packaged frozen kale, which one could reasonably expect to be worm-free). Kale and I went our separate ways for many, many years.

But, bygones must be bygones: kale’s health benefits simply can’t be denied. Getting reacquainted with kale has been a pleasant, non-scarring experience. Kale made regular appearances in my soups last winter, and warmer weather welcomed back the kale chip, the only snack that, for me, is a satisfying alternative to the potato chip.

Recently, after investigating the health benefits of various herbs and spices, it hit me {bonk!} that I should be using these spices everywhere … including on my beloved kale chips. And so I whipped up my own super simple superspice mix, sprinkled it on, and holy. moly. You might already be spicing up your kale chips, but I wanted to share my blend and the health benefits each spice provides.


And here’s the amazing thing about this spice mix: you don’t even need salt. Most spiced baked kale chip recipes I see on the Interwebs include liberal sprinklings of salt. The spices I gathered here would make baked cardboard taste delicious, much less something already as addicting as baked kale chips. So, feel free to forego the salt without flavor worry.

Meet the Superspices:

Cinnamon — has anti-clotting agents and antifungal properties, can help moderate blood sugars, can help treat headaches (source)

Cumin — boosts immune function, aids in digestion, may have anti-cancer properties (source)

Garlic — contains health-critical sulphur compounds, helps lower blood triglycerides and total cholesterol, protects blood vessels from inflammatory damage, and lowers blood pressure (source)

Ginger — aids in digestion, provides relief from nausea, has anti-inflammatory properties, provides relief for the pain and swelling of arthritis, may have anti-cancer properties, boosts immune function (source)

Paprika — contains anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agents, may lower the risk of cancer (source)

Turmeric — may delay liver damage from cirrohsis, may inhibit the growth of certain cancers, may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s (source)

This is a vaguely Indian/Morrocan spice blend, and is so delicious, balanced, and versatile that I store a small amount in a teeny salt shaker, for easy access and application.


The next time you bake kale chips — and that’s really soon, right? — sprinkle on your favorite superspices for an extra boost of health benefits … and flavor.

Oh! A word to the wise: turmeric is awesome, but it stains like the dickens. Keep a damp paper towel handy while you’re munching so your fingertips — followed by your cheek, your pants leg, the TV remote — don’t end up smudged in dark yellow. :)

Karen xo

P.S.: if anyone has any tips for keeping the chips crisp overnight, please share! I’ve tried adding a piece of bread to the bag they’re stored in, which sort of worked for the chips nearest the slice, but was not completely successful.


Print This Recipe

Superspice Kale Chips

Spices high in anti-oxidants and other beneficials give a boost — both healthwise and flavorwise — to the already amazing and addictive baked kale chip. This spice blend is awesome for other dishes, too, as it’s Indian/Morrocan in nature.

Ingredients:
kale leaves, center ribs removed, torn into 2″ pieces (I use dinosaur kale)
extra virgin olive oil
pinch of regular table salt (optional)*
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon powder (preferably Ceylon)
1/8 teaspoon cumin powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ginger powder
1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika (or sub cayenne pepper if you want a heat kick)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 275°F.

Place the torn kale leaves in a bowl and drizzle just a bit of oil over them — you don’t need much at all. Sprinkle very, very lightly with salt, if using. Gently massage the oil into the leaves until all are coated and have turned a brighter green.

Mix the spices together in a bowl and sprinkle some over the leaves. Toss the leaves in the bowl and add more spices, being sure to coat all sides.

Spread out the leaves in a single layer on a parchment paper- or mat-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Check for crispness — the leaves should be crispy but not browned or blackened. Bake for a few minutes longer, if necessary.

If the chips are still slightly oily, add them to a bowl with torn pieces of a paper towel and toss gently. The paper towel will pick up some of the extra oil.

Serve immediately, as the chips will soften over time.

*Salt is definitely not necessary in this recipe, but if you are using it, in the interests of selecting health(ier) ingredients, use regular table salt with iodine, a mineral we often have lacking in our foodie sea-salt-rich diets (sea salt does not contain iodine).

Prep Time: 10 minutes       Cook time: 15-20 minutes


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