sometimes i “learn” things that, looking back, seem like they should have been obvious to me. in this case, i did some learning about baking kale (aka making kale chips for dinner). while i consider myself still in the learning phase of making spicy baked kale, i have figured a few things out:
- don’t use frozen kale. in retrospect, this is super obvious. anyone who has seen a bag of frozen spinach and compared it to fresh spinach could have told me they are not the same. and yet.
i like to toss bags of chopped, fresh kale from trader joe’s in my freezer for green smoothies and thought i was being so clever and resourceful, just grabbing one of those bags i already had so that i could quickly photograph this recipe that i had tested previously. what i was actually doing was learning that previously frozen kale makes passable but not nearly as crisp baked kale. we’re still getting the benefits of eating kale, it’s just not in its most crispy, addictive form. sadly.
also? coconut oil loves to be solid at room temperature. frozen is colder than room temperature. frozen kale doesn’t exactly inspire coconut oil to stay liquid and spread out evenly. so, learning.
- the type of kale matters too. in my recipe for baked tofu with coconutty kale, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms (which, yes, i blatantly stole this spicy baked kale with almonds from), i used curly kale. this time i used lacinato (aka dinosaur/tuscan) kale, which has a flatter leaf. i really like lacinato kale thinly sliced in raw salads but for baking, curly kale wins because all of those curls make for lots of surface area to crisp up. yum!
other things i’ve learned in the past that are relevant here:
- tastes can change. i mean, hi, i’m eating kale. and liking it. when i first tried kale a few years ago, i thought it was nearly inedible because of how bitter it is. determined to try to like it (this was during whatever year it was that i dubbed “the year of leafy greens”), i sought out kale recipes with lots of other “stuff” (cheese, nuts, spicy sauces, etc.) and slowly, over time, got to the point where i just actually like kale. don’t get me wrong, it’s still way better with “stuff”, but the bitterness doesn’t bother me anymore.
- that said, it helps to know that bitterness can be balanced by other flavors and elements, such as salt, spice, fat, sugar, acid, and umami (hence the “stuff”). oh, look! we have almost all of those here, in various quantities. it’s not a coincidence that i’m excited about spicy baked kale, rather than plain, dry roasted kale…
so, hooray for learning! and hooray for spicy baked kale with almonds! my husband even liked this recipe! that’s a giant stamp of approval when it comes to anything with kale…
did you make this recipe? i’d love to know what you think of it! leave a comment below and share a picture on instagram with the hashtag #tastyseasons.