There’s no nacho cheese in these Nacho Mama’s Kale Chips. But boy do they satisfy! Gluten-free, dairy-free, nutrient-dense, and full of crunch!
One of the toughest habits for me to break in adopting a cleaner diet was my bag-of-chips-a-day habit. Chips were my go-to comfort food. When I felt moody or stressed, that’s what I’d reach for. Tough day at the office? Bag of sriracha kettle chips. Kids acting up on the way to school? Sour cream and onion for breakfast. Client meeting not go well? Cool ranch Doritos. I could find a flavor for every mood and every excuse.
Getting Control of my Chip Addiction
What I didn’t understand was that the more chips I ate, the more I wanted to eat. I didn’t realize how addictive the salt, sugar and fat in highly palatable foods can be. Before I knew it, even though I wanted to quit chips for good, I found again and again that I just couldn’t. I felt ashamed at what I assumed was a lack of willpower. I had no idea that all the salt in those chips was flooding my brain with powerful happy neurotransmitters. Did you know – salt can be as addictive as nicotine and alcohol?!
For me, cleaning up my diet for the long haul – not just a week or two – means learning new ways to satisfy the cravings that just aren’t going to go away. I’m not just going to stop wanting crunchy, salty foods. But I can find healthier ways to satisfy that craving.
The Crunch That’s Good for You
Nacho Mama’s Kale Chips do exactly that. They are crunchy and light, enough salt to satisfy but way lower in sodium than anything you’d buy in the store. They get their tang from freshly squeezed lemon juice. And of course because they are made from nutrient-rich kale instead of starch-filled potatoes, they contain fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. Go vitamins!
Pro Tip: I’ve found kale chips come out best when you a) use sturdy, dense kale and b) when you cook them in a food dehydrator. Although it is possible to cook them in the oven on the lowest setting, they are easy to scorch and have to be watched constantly.
When you mix the marinade into the kale, you will want to really get in there. I will use a pair of tongs in one hand and then use my other hand to massage the marinade into all the nooks and crannies. Also, I enjoy Nacho Mama’s Kale Chips at maximum crunch. So typically I’ll leave them in the food dehydrator for a full 24 hours. But if you are short on time, you could check them after 6-12 hours.
I try to keep some in the pantry at all times. But my kids try and make them disappear immediately. I love these “chips” so much that one year I even made them as Christmas Gifts!!! Oh my sweet family is so kind to put up with me.
This recipe was inspired by a similar one I found in The Vegeterranean Diet by Julieanna Heaver. Her recipes are vegan and oil free. I recommend checking out her book!
I hope you enjoy Nacho Mama’s Kale Chips! Let me know what you thought in the comments.
Nacho Mama’s Kale Chips
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon
- 1 Tbsp tahini
- 2 tsp tamari
- 3 garlic cloves
- 8 cups kale leaves (2 bunches)
- Combine all ingredients except the kale in a food processor or blender. This makes the dressing.
- Destem the kale and tear it into bite sized pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the kale pieces. Mix thoroughly using tongs. Thoroughly coat all surfaces of the kale with the dressing.
- Spread the dressed kale in a single layer in a food dehydrator. Dehydrate on medium heat for 24 hours. Kale chips should be crunchy when done. Remove with a spatula.
- You can store these in a glass jar or other food container, if you like.
- 1 Food dehydrator
- 1 Food processor or blender