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I wish I could take credit for that great line; it was Post Punk Kitchen’s facebook status the other day.  But it makes a great introduction for a recipe about delectable, crispy, nacho kale chips!

These chips are the best things to ever come out of my dehydrator!  If you don’t have a dehydrator, you could try these in an oven on low heat but I never got great results from kale chips in an oven; some pieces get burned, other pieces are soggy.  From the dehydrator, these are perfectly crispy and crunchy, like your favourite potato chip.

A dehydrator doesn’t just pull moisture out, it intensifies the flavours of the ingredients while preserving all the nutrients.  I have an Excalibur Dehydrator, bought from Upaya Naturals.

I tried kale chips at a health fair in April and was blown away by the taste.  I didn’t have the recipe but knew it had red pepper, cashews and jalapeño.  It was slightly too spicy for my taste so I decided to try to make my own jalapeño-free version.  As my friend said when she sampled one of mine at the Upcylcing Party: “These taste like Doritos!”

Nacho Kale Chips
1 large bunch of kale (we like curly kale but any kind will work), washed and patted dry
1 red pepper

1 cup raw cashews, soaked several hours, then drained and rinsed (why soak nuts first)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
a splash of lemon juice
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil
optional herbs and spices: 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder, 2 tsp Italian seasoning, pinch of crushed chilies, dash of black pepper and 2 Tbsp fresh chives, finely diced
sea salt or Herbamare seasoning

You can adjust the seasoning to suit what you like and have on hand, but the red pepper, cashews, garlic, salt and nutritional yeast are the key ingredients.  I had tons of chives in my garden, so I threw them in.

In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients except for the sea salt/Herbamare seasoning and process until smooth.  Cut tough stems off the kale and tear into chip-sized pieces.

Prepare to get messy.  The cashew sauce gets massaged into the kale on both sides, so use your hands, then spread the kale pieces on dehydrator trays covered with Paraflexx sheets.  Sprinkle with salt/Herbamare to your liking.

Dehydrate at 105 degrees for about 8 hours or all chips dry and crispy.

Kale chips coming out the dehydrator.  I try not to eat them all!

Update July 28, 2012: I love these chips so much I shared them for the first Healthy Vegan Fridays blog party, hosted by The Everyday Vegan Girl, Carrie On Vegan and The Veggie Nook.