Kale is untouchably hot right now. We might even go as far as predicting that Kale is going to be the first name of the next unborn Kardashian. We can't blame you all for your obsession, because it's got a lot going for it. It'll help you live longer, it can taste pretty freaking delicious, and it has forever changed our salad game. Everybody wants to take a ride on the kale train -- even chips.
Kale chips have hit the shelves of most mainstream food markets, so it's time to face the music and accept that they're in our lives. We get that there's a slight stigma attached to kale chips, especially for those of us raised on potato chips (that's all of us, right?). If your friends and family grew up shoving Doritos in their faces, it's only natural for them to punch you in the forehead if you put a bowl of kale chips in front of them. But put all your fears aside for a second, because here's the honest-to-gosh truth: Kale chips are delicious. Here's another truth: You're never going to find that out if you buy them at a store.
Food bloggers and home cooks have long asserted that homemade kale chips are far superior to the store-bought kind, and we tend to agree -- but our readers recently reinforced this belief.
While considering taste testing the best kale chips on the market, we reached out to our readers to ask about their favorite brands. In a completely annoying move, only ONE reader suggested a brand, and the rest gave answers like these:
"Homemade!" "I make my own." "The ones I make at home!" "Homemade for sure." "Make your own!" "Homemade is the best." "I make my own with Cajun spice and freshly grated Parmesan. They're pretty boss." "I like to make my own. Kale, salt, pepper, garlic and Parmesan, baked." "Homemade, please."
So in typical HuffPost Taste style, AHOY TASTE TEST. We gathered a large group of tasters to sample four different kinds of kale chips: two store-bought brands, and two homemade kinds. Without knowing that any of the varieties were homemade, our testers ranked them. Here are the amazingly clear results:
- #1: Homemade chips made with Tuscan kale, olive oil, salt and pepper (81 points)
- #2: Homemade chips made with curly kale, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder (69 points)
- #3: Kale Krunch (42 points)
- #4: Brad's Raw Kale Chips (40 points)
Both varieties of the homemade chips were light, shatter-in-your-mouth crispy, perfectly seasoned, and unexpectedly satisfying, with a deep, almost roasted flavor. In contrast, both varieties of the store-bought chips were heavy, soggy, and laden with a thick, gunky coating of unidentifiable flavorings. They weren't even in the same ballpark.
Here's the great news about these results. Store-bought kale chips are EXPENSIVE, and homemade kale chips are not. A 2.5-ounce bag of kale chips costs approximately $8 (!!!). Even with steep NYC prices, organic kale is $3.50 a bunch. Let's be real and assume you have olive oil, salt and pepper in your own kitchen. Turns out, one bunch of $3.50 kale makes the same amount of kale chips that you get in the $8 bag. You can put your eyes back in your head now.
So we're just saying -- if you're one of those crazy hooligans who actually likes controlling what goes into your body and you like to save money, you might want to consider making your own kale chips. They couldn't be much easier to make, and require only 15 minutes of patience. Get a great basic recipe here at Epicurious.
This story appears in Issue 83 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available Friday, Jan. 10 in the iTunes App store.