These cilantro lime kale chips are addicting! A little spicy, sweet, salty, tart and bitter… they hit a nice balance. The cilantro is just enough not to overpower and the lime and creamy nuts keep the heat, which creeps up later, from being too hot. I asked Papa Bird what he thought of the “sauce” after blending it. “Does it need anything?” He said, “A cool ginger beer with tequila to wash it down.” I’ll take that as high praise.
Check out yesterday’s post on easy kale chips, or “kale crunchies” as Little Bird calls them, for more on the basic technique. They are yummy and satisfying, but cook them a little too long and the kale can get bitter. Once I felt I had a good balance of time and oven temperature, I was longing to experiment with a creamy sauce, and came up with this cashew based recipe for cilantro lime kale chips.
I actually started the recipe without realizing that I was almost out of cashews so I used a combination of cashews and raw hazelnuts. Our cilantro plant is taking off which is what pushed me in the cilantro direction. I also used a mild green chili Papa Bird had just pulled out of the garden. I thought the raw kale dressed in the sauce would make a delicious salad without cooking. I was afraid it would be too spicy for Little Bird, but after baking, the spiciness mellowed out a little.
Cilantro Lime Kale Chips Recipe
- 1 head of kale
- 3/4 cups of raw cashews (or cashews and hazelnuts), soaked in water for at least one hour, then drained
- handful of cilantro, washed
- 1-2 tablespoons of agave or coconut nectar
- 1 mild green chili or jalapeño pepper
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne and/or chili powder, or to taste
- a little water, if needed, to process in the blender
1. Wash the kale in cold water. Holding the end of the stem in one hand, firmly and quickly slide your other hand down the center rib. The leaves should tear off of the rib in one move. (This is the Brazilian way–a tip my friend Michelle taught me.) Dry the kale very well and rip any large pieces into smaller bits. (Little Bird likes to help dry, rip and sort the kale.)
Or – Purchase kale pre-washed, such as the cut organic kale from Trader Joe’s. Just make sure to remove the thick center ribs as they do not dehydrate well.
2. Blend the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or a good blender (like a Vitamix.) If the blender struggles, add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, until it blends well. Blend at highest speed until smooth, scraping down the sides at least once.
3. Preheat oven to 200° F. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, massage the “sauce” into the kale. Then spread it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake for 45 minutes or so, checking and gently stirring the kale occasionally, until it is dried but not overly toasted.
Click on any photo in the gallery below to enlarge, or scroll through them all for step by step instructions.