There’s no nacho cheese in these “nacho” 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 one-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 at school drop off: sour cream and onion. 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
These nacho 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 and Phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Go vitamins!
Pro Tips: 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.
I hope you enjoy them! I try to keep some in the pantry at all times.
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!
- one 11.9 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
- ½ c raw cashews, preferably soaked
- ¼ c nutritional yeast
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 T tahini
- 2 t tamari
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 bunches of kale
- Mix all ingredients except the kale in a food processor or blender.
- Destem kale and tear into bite sized pieces in a large mixing bowl
- Pour dressing over kale. Mix thoroughly using tongs.
- Spread marinated kale in a single layer in a food dehydrator.
- Allow to dehydrate 12- 24 hours, until crunchy.