If I could eat a bag of potato chips every day, without consequence, I probably would. I love the crunch and the saltiness. In an effort to improve my diet many years ago, I came across a variety of other vegetable chips in a local health food market. I was intrigued and tried a bunch of brands. Unfortunately, these were expensive, had unusual additives, and not all were tasty or had a good texture.
When kale hit us over the head as the new superfood, I found kale chips at my local farmer’s market. They were $6.00 for a small bag. I liked them, but they were terribly greasy. I decided I could buy a bunch of kale for $1.50 and make some chips in my oven. These were healthier than the bagged kale chips I had purchased, but they were still a bit too greasy to feel like they were a healthy alternative to my favorite potato chips.
Recently, I tried making kale chips in my air fryer with much less oil and salt. I reached into the crisper bin of my fridge and pulled out my bag of super fresh kale. I seem to always have organic kale on hand. I opened the bag and realized I had bought Swiss chard instead of kale. The stems were deep red and the leaves a beautiful dark green. I figured why not just make the chips with the chard.
I will be honest that I have grown to prefer the flavor and texture of chard chips to those made from kale. I have discovered that many greens will work for this recipe. Try curly or dinosaur kale, Swiss or rainbow chard, and even beet greens. Beet greens are very nutritious and crisp up nicely. They are quite good when tossed on top of a salad.
Air Frying Tips for Leafy Greens Chips
While the recipe is fairly simple, there are a few steps for success when using the air fryer to make chips.
It is important to rinse all the grit off of the greens under cold water. Dry them completely. I either lay them out on paper towels to air dry, or I will run them in my salad spinner.
Once dry, pull or cut the leaves off of the woody stems. You can also fold the leaf halves over the stem, like closing a book, and just slice out the stem with a sharp paring knife. Alternatively, use kitchen shears to snip off the leaves. Then, slice the leaves into approximately 3 inch pieces. These will shrink up when air fried.
The next tip is to place the rack insert over the dressed kale that you have placed in the bucket of your fryer. This will keep them from flying around inside the air fryer. If there are collapsible legs, make sure they are opened up to allow for some room for the air to circulate around the kale. I learned this tip the hard way. The first time I made air fryer kale chips I didn’t use this method and found chips stuck to the heating element and underneath the bucket. Oddly, they were actually still edible and good. So, don’t panic if you don’t have a rack insert. Just be prepared for a little extra cleanup of the inside of your air fryer.
You want to lightly toss the kale pieces in some oil. I am partial to extra virgin olive oil for this recipe. However, avocado oil, walnut oil, and sunflower oil will work well.
After the greens are lightly coated with oil, season the pieces with a dusting of salt. You can stop there, or keep going with a variety of seasonings. Here are some that I enjoy:
- Nutritional yeast flakes for a cheesy flavor
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Lemon pepper
- Chili powder
- Gomashio (seasoned and toasted sesame seeds)
- Creole or Cajun seasoning blend
- Lawry’s seasoning salt
- Old Bay seasoning
Mix and match any of these for your own spin, or just make up your own seasoning blend.
Crispy Air Fryer Kale Chips – (Vegan, Paleo, Keto)
- 1 bunch fresh kale, washed and dried (chard or beet greens also work)
- 1-1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of seasoning blend of your choice (see notes above)
Total time:15 min – Prep time:10 min – Cook time:5 min – Serves:2 people
1. After you have washed the kale, dry it on paper towels or in a salad spinner. Remove the leaves from the tough inner stems. Discard the stems or use them for soup broth. Slice the leaves into pieces, approximately 3” each. Place in a bowl.
2. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F for 5 minutes.
3. Drizzle the olive oil over the greens and toss to coat. Add your seasonings and toss again to distribute evenly. If using nutritional yeast, add a full teaspoon.
4. Place the dressed kale or other greens in the fryer basket or on the crisper plate. Spread them out in an even layer. If you have a rack insert place that over the greens to keep them from flying around. Close the bucket and air fry for 2 minutes. If your air fryer is on the smaller side, you can cook in 2 batches.
5. At 2 minutes, shake the bucket or flip the chips over. Close the fryer and continue to cook until the chips are dry and crispy, approximately 2 to 3 more minutes. Air fryers differ, so give the chips a quick taste test for doneness.
6. Place the chips on a serving platter and serve soon after cooking. I would tell you that you can store the chips in a sealed container, but they won’t last because you will eat them all.
Nutrition of Air Fryer Kale Chips
These chips are really good for you. Kale, and most leafy greens, are quite nutrient dense. Cooking them in an air fryer allows you to use less oil and much of that will drip into the bucket. Here are the approximate nutritional values per serving.
Calories: 102 Kcal
Fat: 5 grams of monounsaturated fat
Carbohydrates: 2 grams
Vitamin A: 1750 IUs
Vitamin C: 23 mgs
Calcium: 45 mgs
Potassium: 110 mgs
Iron: 0.6 mgs
Fiber: 1.25 grams