Kale is a rare commodity in Qatar. There was a little kale rage when we first discovered a company who would import it for us from Belgium. But that supply fell through and we’ve been kale-less for most of the winter. The “we” here is the little group of Doha-living, kale-loving folks I know. There are about 5 of us.
Fortunately for me, I visited my sister in Munich last April and we made sure to visit a garden store to purchase kale seeds, or as they say in Germany: grunkohl. Some I kept to grow as sprouts, but most of the precious seeds were planted in our backyard boxes.
When the kale plants started to grow, I transferred some of them to my plot at the brand new community garden my workplace created this year. It grew tall and strong. The leaves were delicious. Unfortunately, the bugs agreed with me on that point.
Because of the precious nature of this vegetable, I continued to harvest it despite the infestation of what I think were cabbage worms. I would soak the leaves in water, and then meticulously go over each one a few times, removing the many, many worms, larvae and eggs. Eventually, to save myself this madness, I had to pull out the kale plants and determine to start again next year, armed with better tips for keeping the pests away.
The day I said goodbye to my kale plants was was a sad day. But instead of mourning the end of my precious kale babies, I made a conscious decision to be grateful for the kale I had been able to enjoy before the bugs did. At the same time, I shifted my focus to another crop which hasn’t reached the same level of infestation yet: my beets! I’d already been using beet greens in smoothies and scrambled eggs, so why not give them a try as chips? The result: not bad at all. (How’s that for a resounding endorsement?!)
Beet greens have a stronger, “greener” flavour than kale. In fact, when eaten one after the other, I find the savoury kale chips a little bit sweet. Big Handsome and I agree that beet green chips will never create the rage that kale chip have, but my beets are flourishing right now, so this is what we’re getting, and dare I even say, enjoying.
I make my kale and beet green chips in the dehydrator but they can be done in the oven as well. I use a cheesy, garlicky coating that I adapted from here. Please note 2 things:
Note 1: All measurements are approximate. I don’t actually measure when I whip up the sauce. Just taste it before rubbing it on the leaves – if it tastes good wet, it will taste amazing dry!
Note 2: While these are best right out of the dehydrator, they will definitely keep in a sealed container for at least a week, maybe even indefinitely. If they do get a little soft (i.e., the lid wasn’t shut properly), I just pop them back in the dehydrator for a few minutes and they’re as crispy as new! But all this is unnecessary information unless you have immeasurable self-control.
Leafy Green Chips
Tough greens (kale, beet greens, chard), washed and ripped into pieces (uniformity doesn’t matter)
2 Tbsp. cashew butter
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
water to thin
Instructions: Whisk all ingredients except greens in a bowl, adding water to reach desired consistency (like a think salad dressing). Add greens and mix by hand, making sure each leaf gets coated. Lay on dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 115F about 3 hours or until crispy. Enjoy!