Spicy Nacho Collard Chips

If you spend any time (or too much time) on Pinterest, the recipes tend to be geared toward special diets.  My husband thinks words like ‘vegan’ and ‘gluten free’ make food sound unappetizing. Even though we often eat food in both of those categories, I avoid using the labels.

One thing I love about those Pinterest recipes is how creative people are with vegetables.  I don’t know where kale chips originated, but that’s where I discovered them.  My first batch was just kale with olive oil and salt, baked.  They were airy flakes of kale nothing.  It seemed like a waste of good greens.

Then I found kale chips in the health food store.  These things were (vegan) cheesy clusters of kale.  I could sink my teeth into them.  The nacho cheese flavor was intense.  The bag was only the size of a single-serving bag of potato chips, but they were $7.  I had to figure out how to make them that good.spice paste

Further research on Pinterest turned up lots of recipes for cheesy-style kale chips.  Now I know the secret to a snack-worthy kale chip is a good coating of spice paste.  I’ve made lots of variations and I’ve come up with my favorite blend.  I usually use collards because that’s what grows best here, but any sturdy greens work.  Curly kale holds more spice paste and makes clusters, but collards turn out flat, more like Doritos.  My husband thinks they taste like Doritos, too.  He scarfed a bowl of them along with a Jai Alai from Cigar City.  It’s a perfect combination.

It’s the end of May now, and it’s getting too hot and buggy for my garden greens.  Today I picked the last of what I could salvage.  Then I ripped out the giant plants and heaped them on the compost pile.  This recipe is the last hurrah of collard season.collards and a little kale

Spicy Nacho Collard Chips


  • 8 cups of collards and/or kale, washed, large stems removed and leaves ripped into 2-3 inch pieces,  baby leaves can be left intact
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened/ unflavored milk of choice (I used almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • dash of Crystal hot sauce (to taste)
  • salt, pepper, cayenne (to taste)


Preheat the oven to 225.

Lightly grease two baking sheets with olive oil.

The greens need to be completely dry.  Give them a shake or a spin, and then pat them dry with a clean dish cloth or paper towels.  Place them in a large mixing bowl.

Make the spice paste by adding all the other ingredients to the jar of a blender and puree until smooth, like peanut butter.  

Plop it on top of the greens and toss them around in it.  Clean hands are the best tool to get each leaf nicely coated.

Spread all the spice-paste coated leaves on the baking sheets in an even layer.  Bake them for 45 minutes.  Use a spatula to flip the leaves.  Return the pans to the oven on the opposite rack they were on.  Continue baking for another 30 minutes.  Lift the chips off the pan with a spatula.  If you have any that still feel soft, leave them on the pan and return it to the oven, checking them every few minutes until they’re nice and crispy.

They’re best eaten fresh out of the oven, but you can keep them for a day in an air-tight glass container at room temperature.