Spicy Thai Kale Chips

Spicy Thai Kale Chips

So we’re doing this “Health Thing” for the month of August. No alcohol, no dairy, no sugar, no gluten. Good God almighty, what the hell are we thinking?!

Actually, so far it’s pretty awesome. And that’s coming from a couple of booze hounds. The first three days, and I’m embarrassed to admit this, we had what seemed to be alcohol withdrawals. Yikes. Granted, we self-diagnosed through the internet so we can’t be certain, but did you know that a feeling of jumpiness or nervousness, feeling of shakiness, difficulty with thinking clearly, and bad dreams are all symptoms of alcohol withdrawal? Also, we found out that even just moderate-but-consistent alcohol users should consult a doctor before going “cold turkey”. So, I guess, beware or something. We seem to have lived through it and now we’ve both been sleeping WAY better than we did before with the added bonus of not waking up hungover! Winning!

Anyway, the no gluten (and very limited grains) part of the “Health Thing” makes it REALLY HARD to snack. And I love to snack. And I can only eat so many celery sticks dipped in guacamole (yes, it’s good) before my jaw starts to hurt and I start to hate celery.

But Chris found this snack called Kale Krunch at the Flag Store on Duval and Ho. Lee. Crackers. Those sonsabitches are magnificent! They are also horribly, terribly expensive. So I did what any crafty cheapskate would do: I copied the hell out of that shit.

The ingredients were only kale, cashews, red bell pepper … aaand some other things. While it didn’t explicitly say they were dehydrated, there’s a bunch of stuff on the package about “alive!” which I have learned after my 8 days of doing “Health Thing”, is healthy-person-talk for “raw” and the only way to get that crunch without cooking has got to be drying. Fortunately, I have an antiquated dehydrator that still works after 10 years of disuse. (Let it be known that I have tried baking kale chips before and they were barely just okay; I could never get them evenly crisp and the outcome hardly seemed worth having the damn oven on for that long.)

I did some googling to get an idea of how to use my dehydrator, and found this recipe that looked similar to the Kale Krunch we had. I didn’t have sun dried tomatoes, though, or cashews, so I made up my own version inspired by those totally awesome Spicy Thai kettle chips — know what I’m talking about? These are spicy and sour Β and garlicky and just a tiny bit sweet naturally from the virgin coconut oil. Man, they are so good, you will find that eating an entire bunch of kale all by yourself is no longer unthinkable and in fact, NOT eating an entire bunch of kale is almost impossible when it’s prepared this way.

This is what washed and dried kale looks like in a colander. I can’t make this stuff up!

All that stuff from the previous photo, but reorganized inside a blender.

This is when your hands will come in “handy”.

Oh, brother.

It’s true, though.

I can’t tell if my photography skills are getting better or worse now.

Spicy Thai Kale Chips


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5 from 4 reviews


  • 1 large bunch kale
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 lime, juiced, about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • 12 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Tear the kale into bite-size pieces and discard the stems (they just turn rubbery in the dehydrator).
  2. Wash the kale well and dry. If you have a Salad Spinner, that would work great. I don’t have one so I put the kale in a large colander, held a clean tea towel over the top and shook it really hard over the sink. That worked pretty well. I’ve also heard of putting wet greens in a clean pillowcase and swinging it around but that seems kind of gross to me.
  3. Combine all the other ingredients in a blender until smooth. Give it a taste and adjust the salty/sour balance to your taste.
  4. Put the kale in a large bowl, pour the sauce over, and use your hands to coat every leaf well. I like to massage it a bit to get the sauce in all the little crevices. Taste a leaf now and sprinkle a little more salt or red pepper over them if you think it needs it. I think some sesame seeds would be a nice touch, too.
  5. Spread out in a single layer in your dehydrator and turn that mother on. My antique dehydrator has only one setting and I have no idea what temperature it runs at, but it only takes 4 hours to do a batch. That other recipe I found said 12 hours, but that’s probably a much lower temperature. My dehydrator might even run at too high a temperature to still call these “raw” but they are delicious and healthy and that’s all I care about.
  6. I guess store these in an airtight container, but I doubt you’ll even need to. I bet you will eat them all within 20 minutes. Just a heads up.

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  1. Valerie on August 10, 2012 at 10:52 am

    These look yum – I’ve tried plain ole kale crisps at home and they were good, but these look OTT good. I’ve got about eight cavalo nero plants on the go in the garden right now so I’m going to make the hell out of these over the winter!

    • Hilah on August 10, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Oh you are going to LOVE these, Valerie! I was even thinking about trying it with chard, but I think it might be too delicate. Collard greens, though! I might give those a shot, too.

  2. Norman on August 10, 2012 at 11:01 am

    So glad you posted this!! I love snacking. I’ve been eating healthy for the past month, and almost no meat – just salads and veggies. I’ve found it to be great! I’ll probably never go back to any kind of diet heavy in meats. And I used to think the only way I could loose weight was Adkins. Now I feel better, and yes, losing stubborn pounds! And, the food is awesome. I just don’t miss the meat.

    I have to try this recipe! Hilah and Chris Forever!!

    • Hilah on August 10, 2012 at 11:34 am

      That is wonderful to hear, Norman! I’m so glad you’re feeling great. It’s been a fun and delicious challenge for us to make dinners without using wheat or many other grains. Lots of fruit and veggie snacks, and nuts, which we love.
      I’ll be posting some more healthy snacks as I come up with them. Thanks for writing! πŸ™‚
      Yours in Snacking,

  3. Brycen on August 10, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Well it’s official….you’re a woman after my heart πŸ˜‰ I LOVE kale and it is so very healthy! I love using my Ronny P food dehydrator (mainly for deer jerky and fruit for my pemican bars), I can’t wait to make and try these!!!

    • Hilah on August 10, 2012 at 11:30 am

      Thanks, Brycen! I’m really inspired to try making some other dehydrated snacks after my kale chip success! Pemmican bars sound interesting. I haven’t thought of pemmican since probably fourth grade American history class. πŸ˜‰

      • Brycen on August 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm

        LOL on the history class. The native americans used fat from the game they hunted……I use peanut butter as a healthier, vegetarian friendly alternative! They make for great snackies, food for camping, and they keep for a VERY long time!! I used to just buy raisins and craisins for them, but then one day it occured to me….dry out what ever you like fool!!

  4. Cynthia on August 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Back when I cooked more and experimented with cooking, I used the dehy to make ‘eggplant jerky’ (using a recipe I learned in Mexico for beef jerky–lime juice, salt, chiles, etc.) It was good, but it would not stay dehydrated/crisp.

    • Hilah on August 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      Hi Cynthia! Thanks for that idea! I’m going to experiment and see what I can do. I love jerky and eggplant, Chris doesn’t really like eggplant that much but I bet he would like it jerky-style! Maybe I’ll just try to get it chewy instead of crisp, or try baking it at a higher heat after it’s dried? Hmm…. πŸ™‚

  5. chris on August 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I love you Hilah! I have never heard of these but me and partner are on a slow carb type diet and missing my chips AND we just got a new convection oven with a dehydrator function that I have been wanting to use. I’ll let you know how they turn out. Cheers

    • Hilah on August 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      That sounds perfect, Chris! Have fun with your fancy new oven. πŸ™‚

  6. Steph on August 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Because I am a dummy, I thought I’d try this in the oven (and I don’t have a fancy one with multiple functions…JEALOUS). As soon as I’d poured the sauce on them I *knew* that they were not going to come out right, as I’ve noticed it’s tough to get kale chips just right in the oven with very little moisture, much less a lot. So yeah, they were a big ole’ mess.


    I used the extra sauce on some chicken thighs and OH MAH GAWD they were crazy delicious. Like, insanely tasty. But I really love Thai food, so I should have known that this sauce would be good on pretty much anything. I may try it on some steamed broccoli next.

    Now, a request: how can I make these with this flavor but without a dehy? I love kale chips and have just had the worst luck with my stupid oven.

    • Hilah on August 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Oooh Nooo! I’m sorry, that sucks, Steph! I wonder if it might work if you made the sauce without the water. The reason I had it in there was to make it easier to mix up and distribute on the kale, but I imagine you could leave it out.
      Or maybe toss them with melted coconut oil first, then sprinkle with a tiny bit of soy sauce, red pepper, lime, crushed peanuts? Then bake?
      Or just make regular ones and dip them in the sauce.
      Anyway, I’m stoked that you found some other ways to use the sauce! Let me know if you get the oven to work for you. I will post again if I have any more brilliant ideas. πŸ™‚

      • Steph on August 11, 2012 at 10:30 am

        Thanks, Hilah! I’ve followed your instructionals for what seems like years now, but this was my first time to comment, as I too am on a no dairy-gluten-grain-alcohol kick for august. It really is incredible how much better you sleep without the booze.

        • Hilah on August 13, 2012 at 9:34 am

          Right? And have you noticed that you seem less sensitive to hot temperatures? Chris and I have both been more comfortable outside in the 100+ weather than we have been before, and keeping the thermostat at 72 has been too cold since we started this. It makes sense to me, since alcohol dilates your capillaries and makes you feel “warm”, but I wouldn’t expect it to have such a long-lasting effect. I can’t think of what else it could be, though.

  7. Rachael on August 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I am sold! I had the same experience with baking them- not quite right and not quite worth the trouble.

    Can you get the ingredients to work out the ‘original’ flavor for us? Did you know Central Market has ground sun-dried tomatoes in the bulk spices section??? I love that stuff!!

    I’m totally trying this way though… seems to me I recall I have a dehydrator someplace in my pantry… πŸ™‚

    • Hilah on August 13, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I hope you have a dehydrator! These are so so yummy! And like Steph said, above, the sauce doesn’t quite work in the oven.
      I haven’t tried the original flavor (of Kale Krunch, right?) but now I guess I will have to… for research. πŸ˜‰

  8. annie on August 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Yum! I’ve been making Kale chips in the oven, but not with all of these wonderful, fancy schmancy additions! They never even get off the cookie sheet at my house, we stand around and eat them all! Thanks for another great recipe… can’t wait to give it a go!

    • Hilah on August 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Thanks, Annie! Let me know how it goes in the oven. Steph (commented above) that the sauce is too liquid to dry fully in the oven. I thought of some ways to maybe make it work, but if you come up with a solution, please share!

  9. Robert on August 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I gotta make these, as I love me some kale. Any idea if the nutrition in kale is preserved through the dehydration process?

    • Hilah on August 13, 2012 at 9:28 am

      These are ridiculously delicious, Robert! You’ll love them. I think the nutrient loss will depend on at what temperature the dehydrator runs. Lower will retain more nutrients. I’m not an expert on dehydrating or dehydrators, but I know that some higher (more expensive) models have adjustable temp control.
      From what I know about nutrition, some of the B vitamins and vitamin C are very susceptible to degradation through heat, but others (vitamin A, D, E, K) are pretty stable. So I’d guess that it’s still got a goodly amount of nutrients in it after drying. Hope that helps!

      • Oleum on September 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm

        Did you know that kale has more vitamin K than just about anything else? I thought I might need some a while back, so I looked up which foods are highest in K and kale was at the top of the list. Thanks for the great recipe. I’m going to dust off my dehydrator and get going. This will be great for a lot of the people I cook for (and me too).

        • Hilah on September 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm

          I did not! Thank you! I love that kind of information. I hope you and your people enjoy these!

  10. Kendra on August 16, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Nice, Hilah.

    • Hilah on August 16, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      Thanks, Chef!

  11. ilhan on August 18, 2012 at 4:28 am

    very well I think your one of best masters

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