My Low-Carb/Keto Alternative to Popcorn


OK, so before you turn away from this post because you can see the above photo is obviously kale, and you are disgusted, please hear me out.

Yes, kale eaten raw, or cooked until it is wet and slimy and then eaten cold, yeah, that tastes gross. I agree with Jim Gaffigan, in the video below, that kale can taste like bug spray, IF it’s eaten those ways.

Funny story: one time one of my teen sons was asked to bring a salad to a party. He forgot to tell me about this so I could get some fresh lettuce leaves. When it was time to go, I wasn’t home to give any sort of direction. He raided the fridge for some salad fixings. All he could find that was green and leafy was kale, so he grabbed that and took it. It’s no surprise that it remained untouched the whole night, haha. He finally realized that yeah, raw kale is usually used for decorations on the table or buffet line in restaurants, not for actually eating. It tastes like bug spray when raw because it’s not supposed to be eaten raw.  All kinds of problems come from eating it raw, even if you eat it as a “healthy” kale smoothie.

But…if you eat kale that is butter pan-fried to a crisp, lightly sprinkled with sea salt and nutritional yeast, it is divine! So absolutely deliciously yummy! (I’ve been eating a keto again, after dropping it a few years ago, and this time it is working. I’m not having the problems I had before. A post is coming up about that in the next awhile.)

This is my newest, improved version of my previous crispy kale recipe I used years ago. I like this recipe better because it doesn’t involve getting my fingers covered in butter, or using a ziploc bag for the buttery coating. I also don’t have to heat up my whole oven.

Crispy Kale Chips

  1. Put 1 Tbsp of butter in a big frying pan. Let it melt on the lowest heat setting. Be patient and let it melt on low heat. Trust me on this. I’ve burned plenty of butter when I do this on high. 🙂 Do something else in the kitchen while waiting for the butter to melt.
  2. After the butter is melted, spread it evenly all over the pan with a pancake turner, what some people call a “spatula.”
  3. Put in a big handful of kale leaves, stripped from the stalks, if you bought the kale leaves on the stalks, or grew the kale yourself. If you bought the kale leaves shredded and bagged, just throw it all in, enough to fill the pan.
  4. Stir the kale around and/or flip it over with the pancake turner so that the kale gets evenly coated as much as possible. It’s a bit hard to do this if the pan is so full of kale without spilling it over the edge of the pan. Just be careful and slow and don’t get impatient about getting the butter spread over all at once. Keep the heat on low.
  5. Sprinkle on sea salt and nutritional yeast to taste.
  6. Keep the pan on low, and stir every few minutes, until all the leaves are toasted to a crisp. Turn off the heat.

Put the kale chips in a bowl and gobble them up while the family gorges on popcorn and watches a movie. I love popcorn, but when I eat this, I feel satisfied by the light, buttery crisp goodness of the delicate leaves. I don’t even feel tempted to snitch the popcorn, which is a no-no on the keto diet.

I actually love this so much I eat it every night as part of my dinner, whether the fam is having popcorn or not! I wish I had know about eating kale this way in my childbearing years. It’s such a great way to get leafy greens in! But you do want to be careful about kale if you have any type of thryoid disorder, as the Healthy Home Economist post I linked to suggests.

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