Vegan Kale Chips with Spicy Red Pepper Cashew “Cheese”

9 Feb

Ok. I have not really understood the whole kale chips are amazing! thing for awhile. I’ve tried all kinds of recipes and none of them made me think “hey, this is a tasty snack!” No. Just no. BUT this time is totally different.

I’ve heard about nutritional yeast for years now. All the vegans I know proudly proclaiming “it tastes like cheese!” and so on. Well, okay. Now I believe you. It does. And that makes me very happy.

So, you’re probably wondering, “what is nutritional yeast and where can I find it?” Well that and probably, “why are you pushing this hippie fairy dust on us all of a sudden, Jessica?”

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that is a powerhouse of B vitamins and is a complete protein. Its good for you, is what I’m getting at. It also kinda tastes like cheese. did I mention that?

You can find it at natural food stores, co-ops, and some grocery stores like Whole Foods, sometimes Winco, and Fred Meyer. Really just check any store that has a bulk section. Do not be put off by the price (usually around $10.99/lb). It’s feather-light flakes and I got a huge bag for around $3.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup of raw cashews (soaked in water for 2-3 hours, to soften)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

Instructions:

Combine everything except the kale into a food processor and pulse until smooth, creamy,  “jar of nacho cheese sauce” consistency. Put kale in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the kale and massage it together. Yes, massage. This will not only ensure the kale is evenly coated, but also tenderize it a bit.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread the kale out in a even layer. Do not overcrowd. They wont crisp properly if they’re touching or layered.

Bake. There are 2 ways you can do this:

The sorta “raw” way: Stick in 200 degree oven until crispy (about 90-120 minutes). Check frequently and flip once, halfway.

The “I want it now, that’s why I’m making it” way: Place in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, flipping once.

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I am absolutely not vegan and I am telling you, this cashew cheese sauce is absolutely delicious. I’m going to start using it on nachos and tacos and whatever. So GOOD. Lick-the-spoon and finger scoop-the rest-out of-the-processor good.

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Let them cool. They should be light and crispy – think potato chip – in texture.

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How’s that for a healthy snack?

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