Maca-Cheezy Kale Chips

If there's one thing I still marvel at, it's just how much people love kale. Don't get me wrong, I love it too (it's my favorite vegetable, for sure!), but in a world where the launch of Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos is news, I can't help but shudder to think about what's really in most refrigerators in this country (hint: It's probably NOT kale!).

At any rate, there are loads of people turning on to the benefits of leafy green vegetables. Whole Foods even reports that lacinato kale (a.k.a. "dinosaur kale") is their number one selling produce item! That's pretty impressive. But since we do live in a time where Doritos Locos Tacos is news, it's no surprise that more and more people want healthy, yummy options so they start living a life that feels healthy and yummy. And kale provides us lots of plant varieties and preparation methods, and of course, those health benefits: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega fats, anti-inflammatory, fiber, and so on.

If you haven't seen the growing kale chip category before, step into a natural food store and ask someone to point it out. They're all the rage right now, combining the healthy goodness of kale with our appetite for salty, crunchy, and snacky foods. But kale chips contain none of the trans fats, artificial colors or flavors, excessive chemical sodium, preservatives, or genetically modified ingredients. Buy a bag at the store and it can cost you more than $10 (really!). But making them on your own can cost you a fraction of that, yield you loads more, and they're super fun and easy to whip up, too.

In this recipe, I've added another superfood fave: Peruvian maca. If you haven't experimented with maca yet, you're in for a treat. This tuber grows at a higher altitude than virtually any other food on earth. Its warming, energizing, and hormone-regulating properties have been revered by Peruvians for centuries, and its slightly bitter, tangy flavor adds a kick to this kale chip recipe while boosting your intake of B vitamins; minerals including calcium, iron, and zinc; phytonutrients; and antioxidants to scavenge those disease-causing free radicals.

This is a raw-food recipe, which means the low-temperature drying method retains the vital nutrients in the kale and "cheese" sauce. I recommend using organic ingredients whenever possible!

What You Need: 1 large bunch of curly kale (not the lacinato) 1 cup raw cashews or cashew pieces, soaked in pure spring water 2-4 hours in enough water to cover the nuts completely (save the liquid for later). 1 medium carrot, rinsed and chopped 1/4 cup parsley, rinsed and stemmed ¼ cup maca root powder 2 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice (about one medium lemon) 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar 2 TBSP nutritional yeast 2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp cayenne (more or less depending on how spicy you like it) 1 tsp mineral salt 1 tsp ground black pepper

Equipment needs: dehydrator, blender or food processor

What You Do: Rinse and dry the kale, stemming the leaves and tearing into large pieces. Set aside. In Vitamix or blender, puree all other ingredients adding ¼ cup of the cashew soak water at a time as needed. The sauce should be fairly thick, a little thinner than oatmeal. (Better slightly thicker than too thin.) Once the dressing is blended, move contents to a large bowl. Line your dehydrator sheets with Teflex or parchment paper. Dip kale leaves into the mixture making sure to coat the leaves thoroughly.

Squeeze off the excess and lay the kale flat on the dehydrator sheets. Dehydrate for 10-12 hours at 115 degrees. Enjoy!


Learn more about Jill Ettinger


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