Searching for a savory snack that won’t leave you scouring the kitchen in fifteen minutes for more food? The Plant-Powered Athlete cookbook has got the perfect plant-based pick for you: homemade cheezy kale chips!
Full of flavor, jam-packed with nutrition, and absolutely addictive with its curly crunch, these vegan cheesy kale chips are going to knock your socks off!
Yes, these may be available at the grocery store, but the store-bought kind can be pricey and they can’t compare to the captivating crispiness of a newly baked bunch at home. Free of conventional chemicals and pesky preservatives, these homemade chips win hands-down in both freshness and flavor.
These cheezy kale chips are real powerhouses of nutrition and also crunchy and satisfying. Per calorie, kale provides more nutrients than any other vegetable on the planet. It contains dozens of minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K. Enjoy these chips as a mid-afternoon snack or sprinkled on your salad.
- Preheat the oven to 275°F or set a dehydrator to 115°F. If oven baking, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a food processor or blender, combine the sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, cider vinegar, turmeric, garlic, and salt. Blend until well mixed. If your mixture is very thick, add a little drizzle of water to make it more manageable when massaging onto the kale. Set aside.
- Wash your kale thoroughly. Use a paper towel or clean dish towel to completely dry the kale. Tear or cut the kale leaves off their stem and rip them into chip-sized pieces.
- Place the leaves in a large bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, and using your hands massage the oil thoroughly all over the leaves. Add a generous amount of the cheesy paste and gently massage it through the leaves as evenly as you can.
- Spread out the kale leaves in a single layer on your prepared baking sheet, separating them so they’ll cook quickly and stay crunchy.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, checking occasionally. Remove from the oven and flip them over. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until just crunchy but still green.
- Allow to cool completely before enjoying.
- Spread out the leaves on the mesh sheets of a dehydrator and dehydrate at 110°F for about 8 hours (overnight or while you’re at work).
- Kale chips are best when fresh; however, you can store them in an airtight container for 2 to 4 days.
Pro tip: The cheesy sauce can also be used as a salad dressing. Just mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons of purified water to thin it out.
Keywords: snack, healthy, kale, chips, raw, vegan
A Tale of Kale
Kale is seriously the Superhero of plant-based superfoods! Although this long-limbed leaf sometimes gets a bad rap for either taste or texture, you can count on kale to give your body the very best of its cruciferous care.
One of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, this vital vegetable is highest in vitamins A, C, and K. All kinds of kale are anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants, and rich in calcium, iron, and potassium. It’s amazing how this one glorious group of greens can be so low in calories and so high in friendly fiber.
Though we may have taken your numerous nutrients for granted in the past, we will certainly not now, dear kale. Hail to Cheezy Kale Chips!
Sunflower Seeds for Your Mineral Needs
Healthy fats are essential to a satisfying and sustainable vegan diet. Including mono and polyunsaturated fats in a meal can help to lower your risk of heart disease and support cell growth, as well as hormone function.
Sunflower seeds are also a major source of vitamins and minerals: Vitamin E (anti-inflammatory), folate (DNA synthesis), B6 (cognitive function), phosphorus and manganese (bone health), selenium (antioxidant protection), and magnesium (helps to lower blood pressure and risk of heart disease).
Plus, these small and succulent seeds taste great and create a very creamy sauce!
Feast on Nutritional Yeast
Ahh, nutritional yeast. Every vegan’s best friend. Also known as “nooch,” these tiny flakes of savory goodness are packed with Vitamin B power (B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12) and protein (8 grams per serving). This tasty, cheesy topping packs a punch with high levels of potassium, calcium, and iron. Add 3 grams of fiber to the mix and you’ve got yourself one delicious and nutritious recipe ingredient!
Prepping & Preparing
Here are some tips on prepping and preparing this recipe:
- If you aren’t able to soak the sunflower seeds overnight, use boiling water to cover your seeds for at least 2 hours.
- Delve into a deeper flavor by using toasted instead of raw sunflower seeds for the sauce.
- For the ultimate enjoyment of the cheesy kale snack, allow the chips to completely cool and crisp before eating.
Manage Those Munchies
When you get a case of the crunchies, you can either dive into a bag of pre-packaged snacks or bake up these super healthy, super cheesy kale chips. You’ll not only rack up vitamins and minerals to the max, but also a fantastic amount of fiber with this homemade choice. Fiber keeps you fuller longer and will help to keep your vegan munchies managed.
How to Serve it Up
- Bring Home the Hummus – pair your kale chips with cool, creamy hummus and other crispy veggies, such as carrots, cucumbers, and celery. Try our fantastic 5 Minute Jalapeno Hummus or our radiant Roasted Beetroot Hummus!
- Simulate Salad Croutons – sprinkle into your salad for a satisfying crunch and terrific texture. They would be perfect with our savory Vegan Chickpea Salad!
- Veggie Burger Variation – some people like to add potato chips to their veggie burger, so how about cheesy kale chips instead? An amazing alternative to the usual lettuce leaves. Buddy up with our delicious Quick & Easy Red Bean Burger or Barbeque Black Bean Burger for the best flavor combo!
If you love kale chips as I do, you probably won’t have any leftovers. Dare to double the recipe when you wish to share with friends. Make sure to place each savory batch on a separate baking sheet. Cheezy kale chips need a breathing room while baking to become super crispy.
About the Authors
Zuzana Fajkusova and Nikki Lefler are the founders of ActiveVegetarian and authors of Plant-Powered Athlete and the Vegan Weight Loss Manifesto. They are health coaches and the hosts of The Active Vegetarian Podcast. They live in Vancouver, Canada.
On their website, these prodigious plant-based authors offer a Plant-Based Solution online course and a ton of enticing recipes, as well as helpful tips and practical information to enhance your vegan lifestyle.
I love their Recipe Round-Ups page with recipes categorized by type of food, meal, or activity. The Best Hiking and Camping Snack list made me crave sweet and chewy granola bars for sure! Inspiring ideas to rejuvenate your recipe collection!
Other Savory Snack Recipes to Try:
We want to thank our amazing recipe testers J.J. Steele & Taylor Gillespie (@food.in.focus) for helping us perfect this recipe!
This recipe for Cheezy Kale Chips was reprinted with permission from the Plant-Powered Athlete cookbook by Zuzana Fajkusova and Nikki Lefler (Page Street Publishing Co. 2020). Photography by Nikki Lefler. Please note that this article contains affiliate links that help support our work at World of Vegan!