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Spicy "Cheesy" Kale Chips

Yield: about 12 oz. chips (2 one-gallon zip bags, mostly filled)

  • 2 ½ cups raw cashews
  • 1 large (Holland type) red bell pepper
  • 2-3 red Fresno peppers
  • 1-2 tsp. lemon juice (to taste)
  • 2 tsp. mineralized sea salt
  • 2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
  • 3 bunches curly kale

Be sure to purchase ultra-fresh, organic vegetables for this. I buy my kale at the farmer’s market.

Soak the cashews in water for 3-4 hours. Combine with the stemmed and seeded peppers, lemon, salt and yeast in a blender. Puree. Taste the mixture, and if it needs it, add a little more salt or lemon.

Strip the stems from the kale leaves — you can do this easily by holding the end of the stem in one hand, and firmly running your other hand up the sides of it, dislodging the leaf. The tough part of the stem will come off, leaving the tenderer part intact. Wash and dry the leaves well.

In a large bowl, combine the kale with the blended mixture, using your hands to evenly (as possible) distribute the mixture. Lay the leaves onto dehydrator racks, crowding them but not stacking. Dehydrate at 105°F. for 12-16 hours, until very crisp. Store in sealed zip bags. If you don’t get them dry enough, they will soften up in the bag.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, they can be laid out on a rack over a pan in the oven, with the temperature set as low as possible. My oven goes down to 150°, and you don’t want to go much above that level if possible. The time to dehydrate will be greatly reduced, probably to about an hour or even less. Some nutrients will be lost with the higher heat, but the chips will still be a tasty snack!

Note: the spiciness of the mix will diminish during dehydration. If you want more heat, simply add more hot peppers. I’m going to try a habanero in my next batch.