Cheesy Kale Chips with Miso, Garlic and Dulse

Kale for Kale Chips

Cheesy kale chips satisfy my lingering cravings.  You see, I have a love of salty, snacky things – popcorn popped in coconut oil and sprinkled with sea salt and nutritional yeast, cheese and apples, these homemade potato chips, these seaweed snacks.  And while I do my best to avoid snacking (following the recommendations of this book), sometimes the urge creeps up anyway.  I reach for kale chips, those wonderful crispy bites of green and spice.

I’ve tried many a kale chip and have found my self, many times, disappointed.  And while kale chips may be oh-so-passé, I can’t help but share my very favorite version with you.  They’re crisp, and cheesy (though they don’t actually contain any dairy) and full of umami goodness.

How to Make Cheesy Kale Chips

Mild white miso, nutritional yeast, dulse flakes (a type of seaweed, see here), garlic sea salt and olive oil form the flavoring for these kale chips, and that combination of sweet-sour-salty miso and nutritional yeast lend a soft cheesy flavor to these kale chips.  After mixing the seasoning, massaging it into the kale, you simply spread the seasoned kale onto your dehydrator’s trays, dry them until crispy and serve.  It’s impossibly easy.

Using a Dehydrator for Your Kale Chips (and where to find one)

Some recipes calls for roasting kale chips in the oven, but, if you have one, use a dehydrator (you can find good ones online). Favoring a dehydrator allows you to maintain even, low temperatures, while drying kale chips in the oven runs the risk of cooking them through or unevenly.  Nevermind that good quality dehydrators can be used for many, many things: super green veggie powder, homemade fruit roll-ups, herbs, homemade bouillon, making raw milk yogurt, raising bread.

The Issue of Raw Kale

And before you rise to arms and leave comment after comment about my using raw kale: What about goitrogens?!? What about oxalates?!?, let me say just a few words.  Sturdy greens and cruciferous vegetables are beautiful foods, loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, but they (like all foods) can be potentially problematic.  Instead of fearing our food, we should understand it, enjoy it and eat a varied diet.

Kale Chips and Oxalates

Certain raw greens like kale as well as many other raw vegetables and fruits (like strawberries, parsley, sorrel, beets, elderberry, leeks, sweet potatoes, figs, need I go on?) contain a high level of oxalates – which in susceptible people or when eaten to excess – can contribute to pain and the formation of kidney stones.  However, some evidence suggests that microflora in the gut can help to mitigate the effects of oxalic acid which is why it’s always good to 1) not consume foods that cause you problems, 2) never consume any single food to excess, and 3) eat fermented foods and take a good probiotic (you can find therapeutic-grade probiotics online).

Kale Chips and Goitrogens

Kale, like many cruciferous vegetables, can be goitrogenic; that is, it can interfere with thyroid function in susceptible people who consume it to excess (read more about goitrogens here).

And for the Good News

Kale is rich in antioxidants like quercetin, beta carotene and loads of flavonoids.  It is also a good source of vitamin C, minerals, folate and other B vitamins. As kale is so extraordinarily rich in antioxidants, it helps to reduce oxidative stress and may help in the prevention of inflammatory conditions.  And if you’re no cheesy kale chip fan, try these other kale recipes: kale and white bean soup, kale and chorizo soup, sauteed greens with garlic.

kale chipes

Cheesy Kale Chips

Kale for Kale Chips

By Jenny Published: January 3, 2013

  • Yield: 1 Half-gallon Bag (8 to 12 Servings)
  • Prep: 5 mins

These cheesy kale chips derive their flavoring from miso, nutritional yeast, dulse (a type of seaweed) and a bit of sea salt. This kale chips recipe uses a dehydrator which you can find here.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white miso paste
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dulse granules
  • 3 bunches curly kale (trimmed of stems and torn into bite-sized pieces)

Instructions

  1. Combine miso, garlic, salt, nutritional yeast, oil and dulse into a food processor, and process until it forms a smooth paste.
  2. Working in batches, place kale into a large mixing bowl. Massage kale with the seasoned miso paste so that the paste adheres to the kale leaves. Layer the kale onto a lined food dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 125 F until crispy - about 12 hours.

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What people are saying

  1. says

    Thanks for this post, Jenny. Especially in covering a bit about oxalates and goitrogens. I really liked how you emphasized in “excess.” I’m going to have to try these kale chips. They sound wonderful!

    • jenny says

      Thank you, Diana! Yeah – I’m not fan of kale smoothies every morning, raw kale on sandwiches at noon, kale salads at dinner and kale chips for snacks, but when you eat moderately, then all is well.

  2. says

    Hi–these look super! I’ve made Kale Chips several times for friends and they get devoured–I especially like the addition of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor! I’ve always made them in the oven in the past and recently purchased an exalibur and super pumped to try these in it. My question is comparatively, do these stay crispy after you dry them? When I make them in the oven they are great if eaten right away, but get soft over time. I’m wondering if they are dried low & slow if the crisp factor lasts. Thanks :-)

    • jenny says

      I left these in an open bag on top of my counter and they stayed crispy for 2 1/2 weeks until they were all gone. I’m not sure if that’s due to my using a dehydrator or the fact that I live in a relatively arid environment. Maybe both?

    • Diane says

      I just made a batch of “sour cream and onion” kale chips in an Excaliber at 105 degrees using pureed onion, cashews, water, sea salt. lemon juice and ACV as the flavoring, everyone loves them. Mine stay crispy at least a few days to a week inside a ziploc bag, that’s a long as they ever last before getting eaten. I did notice that if the topping is on pretty thick, you have to dehydrate them long enough to thoroughly dry out before packing. My last batch needed over 24 hours.

    • Alissa Effland says

      I make HUGE batches (24 bunches last time) of kale chips in my dehydrator using various recipes (cheesy, just salt & coconut oil, etc.), and they keep well in airtight containers for months. I did a test last time adding rice wrapped in a cloth as a moisture remover. It did appear that the containers that had the rice kept the kale chips a little crispier. I live in a humid climate with a dehumidifier in my house. With the airtight containers and make-shift dessicant (rice) I’m not sure if climate matters. Hope that helps :)

  3. says

    I want to try this recipe as I have the curly kale on hand. However, I seem to be ingredient challenged… lol I don’t know where to shop for “dulse granules” and I don’t know if “nutritional yeast” is different from regular baking yeast. I live in rural TN and I’m not sure where to begin looking for miso paste. Any suggestions you can give would be greatly appreciated. I do have a dehydrator so I’m good there. Thanks!

    • kitblu says

      Hi Darcy – nutritional yeast is NOT the same as baker’s yeast. It and miso can be found in health food stores. Miso can also be found in Asian grocery stores. Miso must be refrigerated after opening and sometimes even before; it is a fermented food. The colour is from the ingredient fermented; white is very mild, red has a stronger taste. There are many other ‘colours’. There is a good chance neither of these ingredients will be available in rural TN. Go to the store (or phone) most likely to have one or both. If that doesn’t bring luck, ask their advice or ask if they could get them for you. Of course, there are on-line stores willing and able to serve you.
      Since you will likely get more than you need for this recipe, find other uses on line. Miso can provide flavour to soup; mix it with tahini (sesame seed butter) and a little honey and spread it on salmon fillets and bake. Nutritional yeast is high in B vitamins and can be sprinkled on salad, steamed veg or in smoothies.

        • Ben says

          brewers and nutritional yeast or similar in that they come from the same strains generally, but they are different in both flavor and nutrition. imagine though if you subbed brewers in , the recipe would still be decent but would be more aptly named towards “bitter” instead of “cheesy”

  4. Barbara says

    Hi Jenny,

    I have just purchased Excalibur and I have not had a chance to use it yet but I have been dying to try kale chips. I have done them a couple of times in oven but they did not turned out so great.
    Anyways, you say to dehydrate the kale for 12 hours. I have looked in the “Preserve it naturally” book from Excalibur and there it says 3 to 7 hours depending on your humidity. Right now I have 30% humidity therefore it should take 3 ½ hours for the kale. I am confused here. How long should I dehydrate the kale for then? I could be checking on it every now and then but once I go out or to bed then I will not be able to check on it. I do not want it to get burned. Your feedback is appreciated.

    • jenny says

      You should dehydrate them until crispy: usually 12+ hours. Keep in mind that you’ll not only need to dry the kale, but also the topping which is viscous and wet, so it will extend the dehydration time by a considerable amount.

  5. Angel says

    Ohh.. This looks lovely! My partner would love them as well, but we’ve found (sushi girl, teriyaki boy.. heehee) that anything from the sea seems to set his stomach off – even seaweed wraps.

    What would you suggest as a replacement?

    • says

      I’ve used a little roasted red pepper as a wet ingredient with the nutritional yeast, and seasoning (mustard, garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika, etc). Tastes great, and saves you from sea vegetables as well as some sodium from the miso. The only thing is that red pepper will offer you more moisture than a miso and dulse combonation.

  6. Crystalline Ruby Muse says

    Jenny, my husband & I gave up delicious nutritional yeast some years ago because of its naturally-occurring free glutamate acid functioning as an excitotoxin. Do you have any concerns about this? I’m assuming you’re aware of this issue, because you are so well-read, but if not I can send you some links. Anyhow, if you have looked into this at all, I am wondering your thoughts.

    • jenny says

      No, I don’t think it’s an issue except in people who are particularly sensitive to MSG. Broth is also a source of free glutamic acid as are many, many other nutrient-dense foods.

    • Holly says

      Hey crystalline,

      I highly doubt you will see this, as your comment was 6 months ago, but i would like to see your links, I know free glutamic acid is an issue that causes brain damage and it is created by nutritional yeast among other foods ..msg… there have been studies that linked brain lesions to them, which is scary, but info is very sparse so the more the better,
      Thank you

  7. says

    Hi Jenny,

    Thank you so much for this post! And I am one of the folks who had asked you about the raw kale! Ha Ha! So sorry if I was a pest. :-)

    Also, thank you for the funny link about the kale chips and other passé food things from 2012. That gave me such a laugh.

    You have the best WAP/Nourishing Traditions site on the web! Just love it.

    Love,
    Mary

  8. Keren says

    Hi Jenny,
    I live in New Zealand and as a family also have taken this journey to better and wiser eating/living.
    I am aware Olive oil should not be used to cook with as it changes and then becomes bad for us internally so we only use it raw.
    Hence I am concerned about using the oil on the leaves and then dehydrating them, as it would cook with the heat? And I am assuming – turn rancid after a day in room temp, as olive oil needs to be stored in the fridge?
    So can I use coconut oil instead?

    • Jenny says

      That’s in accurate information regarding olive oil. Olive oil shouldn’t be OVER-heated, but mild heat and light cooking is fine. For drying, the heat is so very low it’s not an issue. Olive oil is primarily composed of monounsaturated fats which are fairly heat-stable. It certainly won’t turn rancid after a day at room temperature, and it should be stored at room temperature where it will last 18+ months without deterioration.

  9. says

    Great web page!
    Kale is such a great superfood, I personally love it for it’s high calcium content! Your recipe sounds good and reminds me of our Zen Nori raw kale chips. Also, dehydrated kale or anything for that matter becomes very hygroscopic–that is water seeking, so its best to seal dehydrated items well.

    Sheila, It Takes a Village Foods

  10. Laura says

    Hi and let me tell you that I ADORE your cookbooks. They are sooo reliable. I always look forward to trying new recipes, because they turn out well.

    I know we’re supposed to ‘try’ substitutions ourselves before asking – I just wanted to ask if you’ve experimented with other types of leafy greens for any type of kale chip? I live in Singapore, and kale chips, while occasionally available, are rare and cost prohibitive (US$10-12 for a small bunch).

    No worries if you can’t help. I can at least buy them pre-packaged.
    THANKS!

  11. says

    Yum yum yum. Kale chips are by far my favorite way to enjoy this bitter but nutritious recipe. I’ve never tried them with nutritional yeast though and I just bought some for the first time so I’m super excited to try this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing!
    -Scott

  12. Erin says

    Hi. I just mixed up the paste and tried to massage it into the kale but it isn’t working. I followed the recipe exactly but the paste seems rather thick-maybe it needs more olive oil? It won’t adhere to the kale. Please help!

    • jenny says

      Please don’t adjust the recipe – it’s been tested multiple times as it is, and it does work. It’s a gentle, but laborious process to lightly coat the leaves by hand. Make sure the kale is thoroughly dry so that the paste adheres to the leaves better.

  13. says

    It is so good to read this statement you made. I teach cooking where I live and talk everyday to people about food and I am so concerned that so many people are detached from the love of food instead they are fearing it! How very sad as we get sicker we are depriving ourselves from the foods that can heal…. Eaten the right way and in moderation…
    I so love your work and refer many people to your site, thank you for your time and knowledge and passion

    Sturdy greens and cruciferous vegetables are beautiful foods, loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, but they (like all foods) can be potentially problematic. Instead of fearing our food, we should understand it, enjoy it and eat a varied diet….

    Read More at nourishedkitchen.com/cheesy-kale-chips/ © Nourished Kitchen

  14. says

    Hi Jenny, I’ve been a follower of your beautiful, informative blog for some time now, but this is my first comment (:

    In your post you state…
    “Kale is rich in antioxidants like quercetin, beta carotene and loads of flavonoids. It is also a good source of vitamin C, minerals, folate and other B vitamins.”

    It is my understanding, and please correct me if I’m wrong, that these nutrients are tightly bound by the cellulose in the greens. Dr. Natasha Campbell Mcbride states that regardless of a laboratory analysis of the actual nutrient content of plant foods, those nutrients are simply not available to the human digestive tract until cooking or fermentation releases them from the cellulose.

    I would appreciate your thoughts. Blessings.

    Copyright 2013, Nourished Kitchen, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this content may be republished without express, written consent.

  15. says

    Jenny: I follow the gaps diet and have struggled with it but doing better. I do not eat yeast. What else can I use with the kale chips. I’m wondering if I will be at a place that I might be able to go to Italy to the workshops you are planning for May.
    I eat meat, broths, no dairy but eggs and ghee ok, vegetables, some legumes, no desert, no grains, cooked fruit. I do cheat from time to time only a bit. I do believe too much restriction is not good. I am an imagery psychotherapist and do not believe in behaviorism. I have seen problems with it. Nanette

    • Jenny says

      Hi Nanette –

      If you’re on GAPS, I’d discourage you from using this recipe – as raw greens can be very difficult to digest for someone who’s healing their gut. If I were making this without nutritional yeast, I’d add a bit more miso or maybe some ground nuts as a replacement.

      In terms of the Italy trip – it’s going to be fantastic! I know Jovial does their best to accomodate the special needs of their guests, and 2 of the workshops I teach should be really good for you (seasonal vegetables and nose-to-tail eating) while the grain-based/baking workshop might be challenging.

  16. says

    Great post. We recently added dehydrated daikon to our list of crispy veg snacks and it’s quite lovely as well.

    I really must say I was *relieved* to see you adopting a more measured and balanced approach to the kale & oxalate issue.

    We seem to be able to find fault with almost any food these days and I fear that it is making people in this community a bit food phobic. Eat a wholesome, real food diet. And enjoy your kale chips once in a while :)

    p.s. massaging kale with a bit of unrefined salt can help make it easier to digest as well…

  17. says

    This recipe sounds amazing, I don’t own a dehydrator (yet) but I love Kale, and I’m always looking for a healthier alternative to snack on for me and my husband who works late doing security where the temptation of unhealthy snacks is there staring him in the face. Thanks for sharing this!

  18. says

    Thanks for a cheezy sauce that doesn’t use cashews! We made this last night and it had the flavor of bacon-flavored cheeze wiz! I am reducing oils, so added 1/2 a red pepper and about 4 tbs of water instead of the oil. It was very thick and so added a few more tbs of water (I figured it will dehydrate out anyway). My daughter lovingly massaged every kale leaf. We dehydrated at 145 for 1-2 hrs, then about 5-6 hours at 115. It doesn’t have the bacon flavor, when done. Very Yummy!

  19. kelly greene says

    My husband and i have a greene smoothie every morning and we use our own kale that we grow in our garden along with chard and spinach. Instead of doing something wonderful for our bodies as you saying we may be harming ourselves?

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