“Cheesy” Jalapeño-Ranch Kale Chips – A Raw, Vegan Recipe

If you can eat a whole bag of heart-stoppingly expensive vegan "cheese" kale chips without pausing for sharing, or breathe, this is the recipe for you. Add in the fact that it is a bit spicy, a bit "raunchy" (which my MacBook desperately wants to be "raunchy") and we have a serious contender for favourite snack ever. Raw-ish, nutritious, delicious. And affordable.If you can eat a whole bag of heart-stoppingly expensive vegan “cheese” kale chips without pausing for sharing, or breathe, this is the recipe for you. Add in the fact that it is a bit spicy, a bit “ranchy” (which my MacBook desperately wants to be “raunchy”) and we have a serious contender for favourite snack ever. Raw-ish, nutritious, delicious. And affordable. 

I’m Kellie. And I’m a kale crisp addict. Or rather I would be if I could afford to.

I could be addicted to a lot of nice things if I could afford it: sunshine holidays, Jo Malone bath times, Champagne.

Somehow kale crisps don’t quite fit this rather extravagant image, but I don’t really care.

Maybe my next batch will have truffles. 

My nascent love of kale crisps had a serious boost when I threw caution to the wind – and a short-ish list of ingredients in my blender – and made these frilly, healthy snacks. Coated with an umami paste of sunflower and other seeds, miso, lemon juice, vinegar, spices and herbs, my kale chips have made me fall in love with my dehydrator.If you can eat a whole bag of heart-stoppingly expensive vegan "cheese" kale chips without pausing for sharing, or breathe, this is the recipe for you. Add in the fact that it is a bit spicy, a bit "raunchy" (which my MacBook desperately wants to be "raunchy") and we have a serious contender for favourite snack ever. Raw-ish, nutritious, delicious. And affordable.

I previously used it only for drying fruit (mango is the best, imo) and pricey shiitake and porcini mushrooms, but my little warm and humming friend has been promoted from garage shelf to guest bedroom. You don’t however need a dehydrator to make proper kale chips, it just makes it a bit easier; and it is more reliable than an oven to make food for a raw food diet. Not a diet I advocate, by the way. Here is a good article from themessybaker.com on the pros and cons of dehydrators. This dehydrator article from thekitchn is not as informative, but the comments are worth a read.

Kale chips made this way (as opposed to this simpler way of making kale crisps – which is also a winner, and much faster) may even convert Dorito and potato chip lovers, and a rigid tub of them would make an interesting lunch box snack.

Actually, as most schools seem to ban anything looking vaguely crisp-like in lunch boxes, I’m not sure if they would pass muster past the school gate, so maybe just keep them at home. All to yourself. Too good for the kids to be honest. #kiddingnotkidding.

Do share. If you can bear to.

P.S. These would be great at your Super Bowl party.🙂

If you can eat a whole bag of heart-stoppingly expensive vegan "cheese" kale chips without pausing for sharing, or breathe, this is the recipe for you. Add in the fact that it is a bit spicy, a bit "raunchy" (which my MacBook desperately wants to be "raunchy") and we have a serious contender for favourite snack ever. Raw-ish, nutritious, delicious. And affordable.

Cheesy Jalapeno-Ranch Kale Chips

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This umami-lover’s dream of a recipe is very flexible. Not only can you spice it up to your heart’s content (be bold!), you can play around with the two basic ingredients – the greens and the nuts. I have tried this out with cavolo nero and curly kale, as well as with fashionable flower sprouts – all with great results, although the sprouts need a bit more time in the dehydrator/oven. I’ve also used sunflower seeds rather than more expensive and typical cashews, but most combinations of mild nuts and seeds will work.

Many coated kale chip recipes are far too salty to be truly healthy, but I think this is firmly on the side of not only health but incredible, more-ish, taste. You decide, of course.

Have fun making these and saving yourself a whole heap of money.  xx

110g (3/4 cup) raw sunflower seeds*

2 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp sesame seeds

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (zest if you wish)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 rounded tbsp nutritional yeast

2 tbsp mild miso paste (yellow/shinshu miso)

½ rounded tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried onion powder

1 tsp dried dill

½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp dried jalapeno flakes, habanero or other hot chillies OR rounded ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper

75ml (5 ½ tbsp) warm water

300-400g (10.5 – 14 oz) prepared** kale or flower sprouts, washed

What you need: blender or food processor; dehydrator, or oven and several large baking trays + parchment paper. Instructions are given for both methods of baking/drying.

*It is more typical to use cashews. If you want to do so then use one cup. Soak them for one hour in warm water and drain well before popping in a blender with the rest of the ingredients. I use sunflower seeds as they are cheaper and easy to get raw. They taste great too.

**Prepare the kale by washing the whole leaves, removing the ribs with a knife (run the blade on either side of the rib) and tearing the leaves into small bite-sized pieces. A typical UK-bought bunch should yield about 300 grams of prepared leaves, but of course that can vary. To prepare the flower sprout, cut in half or into quarters, depending on the size of the sprout.

Method and (Overbearing) Advice: For a dehydrator, select 50C/120F. For an oven, turn it to the lowest temperature. For both, be prepared to wait up to 8 hours before you have kale chips. A good time investment, I’d say! But also a reason to make a full batch.

Most people do their batches overnight but I do mine in the daytime if I am working from home. Here is an article on themessybaker.com that gives some decent pros and cons for owning a dehydrator. The thing I would add is that you can get used, or even brand new dehydrators, online from eBay, Craigslist, Gumtree and the like. I got my Swiss-made Stockli dehydrator a few years ago but have only last year become more adventurous with it. This is a pricey brand but you can now get good ones from other makers with timers and adjustable temperature (crucial) for around £40.

Now it is really just a matter of putting all of the ingredients, bar the kale, into your blender or food processor and blending until it is mostly smooth. If you are using a blender you may need to use the pulse function to make sure it is equally distributed in the jug. My Froothie handles it no problem, and in about 15 seconds.

Now add the kale in batches to a large, wide bowl, and add a proportionate amount of yummy mixture. Stir with your fingers to coat the pieces and equally distribute the coated kale over the dehydrator trays or parchment-lined baking trays. Try to keep the pieces separate so that air can circulate between them and ensure thorough drying. If you are coating flower sprouts you may wish to not only toss them around in the mixture, but also dunk the flowery heads through any excess. The frilly leaves of the sprouts hold the umami-riffic paste very well indeed.

Dry/bake until completely dry and brittle. Many variables will affect how quickly (or not) your food dehydrates, so time varies greatly – about 6 hours for curly kale and 8 hours for flower sprouts. You can use a higher temperature and achieve excellent results in less time, but I am trying to keep this a raw recipe. Start sampling for doneness at 5 hours. No hardship. Enjoy.

Keep your kale chips/crisps up to one week in an air-tight container. They will re-dry very well if they get a little chewy.

Leftover jalapeno-ranch paste? Coat sweet potato wedges and place on a wire rack or crumpled foil (to let air circulate underneath); bake 25 minutes at 200C/400F.

 cheesy-jalapeno-ranch-kale-chips4.jpg