As autumn makes way for winter the mornings and evenings are becoming more frosty. This is the perfect weather to curl up with a cozy blanket, a hot drink, some snacks and binge-watch your favourite series. I like keeping a batch of healthy snacks on hand just for these occasions. These snacks are also great for an afternoon snack when the day feels endless.
Kale is branded a superfood online because of its high nutrient levels, especially vitamin K. But any dark leafy greens are healthy additions to your diet and to be quite honest I would much rather consume some spinach or rocket in my salads and sandwiches. The one kale product I can get behind though is kale chips; they are crunchy, crisp and take on any flavouring you desire. Kale chips are available commercially (at health food stores and recently Woolworths stores in South Africa), but they are quite expensive for something that is easy and relatively inexpensive to make. I used a dehydrator to make this batch, but they can just as easily be popped into an oven (check them regularly to make sure they do not burn in the oven).
Chickpeas are a great source of plant protein and delicious in soups, curries, stews and even salads. My favourite way to consume them is by crisping them up in the oven, dressing them with herbs and spices and eating mounds of them instead of traditional potato chips. Similar to the kale chips they are easy and inexpensive to make. They are baked in the oven with a drizzle of oil and sprinkled with herbs and spices while hot.
Both the kale chips and crunchy chickpeas will last at least five days (if you can contain your snacking urges) and are great on standby to ensure healthy snacking.
Serves 1 hungry snacker (but the recipe can easily be scaled up)
180g kale (a large bunch of kale)
2Tbs olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1tsp of chilli flakes (or to taste depending whether you like the heat)
Wash and dry the kale. Remove any tough stalk pieces. Rip any large pieces into palm-sized chunks (the pieces will shrink quite substantially in the oven/dehydrator).
Massage the kale with the oil and lemon juice until slightly wilted. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet or dehydrator sheets (the kale should not overlap/touch; you might have to bake them in batches). Sprinkle with chilli flakes (you could also use other flavourings e.g. onion seeds, nutritional yeast and/or salt).
Dehydrate for four hours. Alternatively bake in the oven on the lowest setting for 30 minutes (this needs to be checked regularly as time varies according to oven and amount of kale). The chips are ready when the flakes have reduced in size and are crispy on the edges. Leave to cool and become even crispier.
Enjoy just as you would potato chips, but without the guilt.
Serves 2 hungry snackers
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2Tbs olive oil
1Tbs mixed herbs
Large pinch of salt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Dry the chickpeas well (you could also cook your own chickpeas). Stir through the olive oil and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or until crispy. Sprinkle with herbs and salt (other flavourings are also delicious e.g. cajun spice blend, lemon pepper or chilli seasoning). Leave to cool and crisp up further.
Enjoy as a snack or sprinkle over salads and soups for some extra protein and crunch.