During the months that our farm share is inactive, I have to make a conscious effort to get greens other than romaine into our diet. We do well with eating cauliflower, broccoli, and even Brussels sprouts, but kale, collards, mustard greens, and swiss chard definitely are consumed less in the winter than the summer. That’s too bad, because these hearty, hefty greens are perfect for cold weather.
Aside from throwing greens into soup (try Vegetarian Navy Bean & Kale Soup or Creamy Cauliflower & Kale Soup) or making Garlicky Kale with Toasted Breadcrumbs, this crispy baked kale has become another repeat way to get greens into our bellies.
The cheesiness of “Cheesy” Vegan Crispy Baked Kale comes from nutritional yeast, an ingredient I bought specifically for this dish. It is simply inactive yeast, which means it won’t make bread rise. I had tried New York Naturals’ Vegan “Cheese” kale chips and loved them, so I was pretty sure I’d like the flavor. I bought my nutritional yeast at Mrs. Green’s, but you should be able to find it at any health food store.
I’ve made this recipe using a whole bunch of kale, leaving the leaves long and wide after I took them off their stems. I’ve also made it with bagged kale from Glory Foods, which is pre-washed, tough stems removed, and cut into much smaller pieces. Both work well.
“Cheesy” Vegan Crispy Baked Kale
Adapted from Cheesy Kale Crisps
12 oz. curly green kale (about 1 bunch)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Preheat oven to 250° F.
If using a whole bunch of kale, slice the leaves off their stems and tear them into approximately 2-inch long pieces. Wash the kale and dry thoroughly. Arrange the kale on 1 or 2 baking sheets — 1 works fine but will take longer, 2 will take less time to bake.
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients, making sure there are no lumps. Spoon drops of the mixture evenly over the kale, and then (with clean hands!) massage the kale and coating together, gently smooshing it in your hands until the kale is lightly and evenly coated. You will feel the kale leaves soften in your hands as you do this.
Bake for 45 to 75 minutes, or until dry and crispy, using a spatula to turn the kale every 15 minutes or so. Make sure it does not burn.
This recipe is best eaten immediately, but it can also be stored, once cooled, in an air-tight container.