Baked Kale Chips

These kale chips are great as a garnish on a soup or a tasty, healthy snack to munch on (just don’t overdo it with the EVOO & salt). Raw kale has loads of beta carotene, iron and vitamins A, C & K so I’m looking for more ways to incorporate this into our diet. But really, when vegetables taste this good, it’s easy to find a reason!

Baked Kale

Baked Kale Chips

Time: 25 min (5 min prep, 20 min bake)
Servings: 4 (or less if you eat them all in one sitting like we did…)

Ingredients

1 or more bunch kale, preferably the curly leaf version, like Scots Kale
3-5 Tbsp Olive Oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil, aka EVOO)
3-5 Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Sea or flaked salt
Fresh ground pepper

Special Tools: Gallon sized plastic resealable bag, baking or parchment paper (optional)

What To Do

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F.

Wash and drain the kale leaves.

Hail to the Kale

Roughly chop the kale into bite sized pieces, cutting off the stalks at the end. I recommend toasting with a glass of scotch before hacking away (just kidding). If you find that some of your stalks are too thick, just pull or chop the leaves right off the stalk as I did with the stalk on the right above.

Kale in a bag

Place the kale pieces into the plastic bag and pour the EVOO & balsamic vinegar into the bag. Seal tightly (double check!) and shake the bag around until the leaves are evenly coated. I’ve found that this method coats the leaves more evenly with less oil, keeping the fat and calorie content down.

Line a large baking sheet with the baking/parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.

Spread the kale pieces evenly on the pan in a thin layer.

Sprinkle a pinch of salt and grind some pepper on the kale.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy. Turn the pieces with tongs or a spatula about halfway in, after 15 minutes, to ensure that all of the pieces are evenly cooked and crunchy.

When the kale chips look done, take them out and toss in a bowl with a final sprinkle of salt and ground pepper.

Kale as a Garnish

Serve hot.

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Barley & Lentil Vegetable Soup

The finished product- Yum!Winter is back again, and snow on the ground means that a hot bowl of soup is the perfect meal. Cooking in the kitchen seems to make my chilly apartment warmer (nevermind that I have the heat cranked up to 80 degrees). I thought I’d try this hearty soup to use up some of the barley that’s been sitting in my fridge forever.

I found my inspiration for this soup on AllReceipes.com but as usual I quickly deviated from the instructions to develop my own creation. This is a simple but hearty winter soup loaded with veggies and healthy grains (and my favorite legume- lentils <3).

Barley & Lentil Vegetable Soup
Makes 12 Servings

Time: Approx. 15 min prep, 45+ min cook time, 1 hr total

12 cups vegetable (or chicken or beef) broth (low sodium is preferable)
1 1/2 cups uncooked barley (I used quick cooking barley)
1 1/2 to 2 cups uncooked, rinsed lentils
3 large carrots, chopped (Ok, I cheated on this- I used peeled baby carrots)
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 zucchini and/or squash, chopped
1 1/2 onion, chopped
5-8 peeled garlic cloves, chopped (feel free to use more… or less)
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes (you can also used diced canned tomatoes in sauce)
4 1/2 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
3 teaspoons dried parsley
3 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tsp cumin
Pinch of Garam Masala (optional- I had some on hand and thought it would be interesting)
1-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (a couple of good shakes)
Hot Sauce- to taste
Salt to taste, use less if your broth and canned tomatoes have a high sodium content

 

  1. In a large stockpot (and I do mean large!) begin heating your broth on medium high. I used about 3 tsp low sodium chicken bouillon powder mixed with the water- you can add more but that’s all I had left!Stock Pot I microwaved my water prior to adding to the stock pot to cut down on cooking time.
  2. Chop your vegetables so that they’re roughly the same size. If you have a food processor, I highly recommend using it here- it will shave off loads of prep time. I used my Cuisinart with the slicer blade to do the heavy lifting. The pieces were a little larger than I would have preferred if I

    chopped by hand, but that’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make when my stomach is grumbling. Also- feel free to substitute your favorite veggies for the ones listed above. The garlic, carrot, celery and onion are typically considered the core “aromatics”- so try to use them if Chopped Vegetablesyou have them on hand. (I promise you won’t taste the onion).

  3. Add in the barley and rinsed lentils. Stir to mix the ingredients together. Your pot should be pretty much full now.
  4. Add the bay leaves and spices and stir.Spices Since the recipe already called for curry, I thought an Indian flare might be interesting, so I added cumin and garam masala (a blend of spices that has a kind of sweetish spicy flavor).
  5. Let the soup cook on medium high until the mix comes to  a boil, stirring occasionally- for about 15-20 minutes. Cover loosely. The barley and lentils will absorb the liquid and thicken the soup.
  6. Once the soup has reached a boil, reduce the heat to medium or medium low. Simmer the soup for another 15-30 minutes, until the barley and lentils are tender and the soup has thickened.Soup Cooking
  7. Let the soup cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve with a hearty crusty bread or cornbread. Enjoy!

    Pot of Soup

    Yummy Soup!