Time for a word association game – Nutritional Yeast. Go on now, tell me what delicious recipes you thought of first? If you said anything close to scrambled eggs, jalapeno poppers or kale chips then we should become BFF (Best Foodie Friends) right now!
Through managing a popular health food store I have access to all kinds of weird and wonderful ingredients, but instore there are few as popular as nutritional yeast flakes (also known as savoury yeast flakes in Australia). We regularly sell out of all three sizes of the Lotus brand available at our store, so I’m obviously not the only person in love with this tasty and versatile ingredient. I also only just found out that some people call nutritional yeast ‘nooch‘ – how adorable is that?
Now, nutritional yeast has a lot of delicious uses (due to it’s cheesy, savoury and umami flavour) and I’ve seen it added to everything from soups and stews to sandwiches and popcorn sprinkles. It’s also a fantastic source of B vitamins and minerals including chromium, selenium and zinc, making it a beneficial nutritional supplement (particularly for vegans). Today however we’re only going to cover it’s most famous application (IMO) – the perfect ingredient for vegan and dairy-free Cheesy Kale Chips!
Making these kale chips is a fantastic excuse to fire up my dehydrator (I actually have two of them now, an Excalibur and an Optimum) and the crispy texture and cheesy flavour of these chips is absolutely addicting. I first came across the recipe idea for the ‘Best Ever Cheesy Kale Chips’ here (and backed up by this food blogger who agrees) and who could resist trying out a recipe with those sort of claims? I’ve inevitably given this recipe my own little spin over a few different batches – now I think my take is even more delicious!
There’s all the usual suspects for a cheesy vegan snack here (creamy cashews, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic) mixed with a dash of turmeric, chilli, and apple cider vinegar. This all goes straight into the blender of food processor before being lovingly massaged into your Tuscan or curly kale for dehydrating. Please note that this recipe makes a lot of cheese sauce, so be prepared to have a dehydrator full of kale (as if that would be a problem)!
Now I know what you want to ask – how can you can oven bake these cheesy kale chips if you don’t own a dehydrator? Well, don’t you worry, that’s all covered in the recipe instructions too 🙂
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1⅓ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in water and drained
- ⅓ cup savoury yeast flakes (nutritional yeast)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup spring or filtered water
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp fine Celtic sea salt
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- Carefully remove stems and center ribs of kale leaves with a sharp knife, then coarsely chop until you have 4-5 cups of loosely packed leaves. Wash and thoroughly dry kale, place into a large mixing bowl and put aside.
- To the bowl of a high powered blender or food processor, add all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy with the consistency of a thick sauce.
- Pour sauce over kale and gently toss and then massage into the leaves to tenderise and ensure adequate coating of all leaves.
- Dehydrator: Line dehydrator trays with baking paper or tray liner sheets and lay out kale in a single layer with plenty of space between leaves for air circulation. Dehydrate at 50C/130F for 10-12 hours, or completely dry and crispy.
Oven: Line baking trays with baking paper and lay out kale in a single layer with plenty of space between leaves for air circulation. Bake at 135C/265F for 20-25min or until the edges are browned.