Thursday, 17 December 2015

Faux-Cheese Vegan/Paleo/Gluten-Free Kale Chips Recipe

Tasty kale chips are great diet food and are paleo-friendly
Homemade Kale Chips - so addictive!

Just in time for the Christmas season I present: Something red and green! This recipe is vegan, gluten-free paleo and dukan diet friendly. It's an awesome substitution for chips when you want to eat healthier or need to lose weight. I also love using up kale because it grows really easily in Ontario and I like to eat local whenever I can. Kale keeps growing into the fall when other leafy greens get bitten by the frost. Kale contains tons of nutrients like other leafy greens and the nutritional yeast provides extra B vitamins which are essentially if you're a vegan or vegetarian. Vegetarians don't get B vitamins from meat so if you're vegetarian consider adding nutritional yeast to your daily diet. It has a cheesy buttery taste so is great to add on to popcorn or make your own vegan cashew cheese.



Fresh Kale
Local kale grows into the fall in Ontario
In an attempt to eat healthier and save some money I set out to make kale chips at home. I was also curious to try a version of faux-cheese sauce made from cashews. Could it really be that cheesy? I turned to Angela Liddon for help from one of my go-to blogs Oh She Glows.

Cashews soaking for faux-cheese sauce
Soaking the cashews

Start by soaking a cup of cashews in water (for an hour) and cutting the kale into chip sized pieces. I opted to leave the stem since I couldn't bring myself to waste the nutritional goodness to the compost. This was a bit of a mis-step since this makes the kale "chips" more like sauteed kale - a little on the damp side. I recommend cutting out the stems and spines and using them in a smoothie. After the cashews have soaked sufficiently combine them with nutritional yeast, garlic, water, salt, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil in a food processor and blend. The nutritional yeast is what gives the sauce the cheesy flavour. It's good for you too! Try it on pop-corn.

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast can be difficult to find - it's not at most grocery stores. Try finding it at your local health food store or try the health food section of larger grocery stores. If that fails you it's shelf stable so you could try ordering it from Amazon

Kale Chips before baking
My kale chiips ready for the oven

Then comes the task of rubbing the faux-cheese sauce. I'm not going to lie - this takes forever. The recipe also leaves you with A. a TON of kale chips (I couldn't eat them before they went limp) and B. lots of excess cheese sauce. Use the excess sauce in a stir fry and you may be pleasantly surprised (thanks for the idea K!). I will admit though, even though they were a little on the soggy side, they were still pretty addictive. I could've ate them all myself if given the chance. If you don't have an exorbitant amount of time on your hands I would recommend skipping the cheese sauce and simply tossing the kale with a bit of salt and olive oil. Oh and yes, it does taste cheesy - even better than Parmesan! 

Kale Chips complete
Faux-Cheese Kale Chips are highly addictive

Faux-Cheese Vegan/Paleo/Gluten-Free Kale Chips Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large bunch of kale, stems discarded and leaves ripped up
  • 1 Cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 Cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 3/4 Cup water
  • 2-4 Tbsp fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt to taste
Directions:
    1. Soak cashews in water for at least 1 hour then drain
    2. In a food processor or high-powered blender, with the machine running, drop in the garlic and process until minced. Add in the rest of the ingredients.
    3. Wash the kale leaves and tear the kale into pieces, discarding the stems.
    4. Massage the sauce on the kale leaves and place individual pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread them as spaced-out as possible or you'll get some soggy chips.
    5. Bake on the lowest setting possible in the oven for 1-3 hours with the door open. Test out a chip or two to see how they're doing.
    6. Enjoy! Store in an airtight container.