Figure 1 ‘Cheesy’ kale crisps

We all know that dark leafy greens are good for us, the problem is finding ways to get them in.  Some of us are not ‘bitter tasters’ (did you know your genes can determine this?) and find steamed kale a grind to get down.

Enter the kale crisp.

A moreish snack that gives you the crispy & salty crunch yet nourishes every cell in your body. Win/win!

And of course, like every recipe I provide, it is a super gut-friendly snack.

As always, I give you the nutritional low down first (skip straight to the recipe if you prefer).

Kale – a superstar veg

A few things you ought to know:

  • Kale is a highly nutritious vegetable due to the amounts of vitamins & minerals packed into its leaves. The most notable are vitamins A, B6, C & K and minerals calcium, potassium, copper, iron and manganese.
  • Kale is a superb source of fibre.
  • As a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, it has anti-cancer properties (along with Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, kohlrabi, swede, turnips and bok choy).
  • Kale has three times as much calcium as phosphorus, which is a beneficial ratio to reduce the excretion of calcium from the body (think healthy bones). High phosphorous intake has been linked to osteoporosis.


DID YOU KNOW?  Kale is better known as cavolo nero in European countries

·         Kale has a beneficial ratio of calcium to magnesium (unlike dairy products), as is found in nature.  Adequate levels of magnesium in the body are essential for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and Vitamin D.  And to help peristalsis, the muscular movement that pushes stool through your large intestine.
·         Kale has high levels of chlorophyll, which is chemically like haemoglobin, a protein essential in red blood cells to carry oxygen around your body.  Chlorophyll is also a good cleanser, helping your liver to eliminate the toxins it accumulates daily.
·         Research shows that leafy greens contain a specific type of sugar that helps fuel growth of healthy gut bacteria.  Your microbiome loves kale! N.B. You may need to limit your kale intake if you have oxalate containing kidney stones or take the blood thinner warfarin. Kale is available all year round, but best from mid-September to late February.

‘Cheesy’ kale crisps

Yield: will fill a 1 litre mason jar

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes



110g kale (or 90g without stems) – approx. 4 large or 10 small pieces
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon rock salt or pink Himalayan sea salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

6 Tips For Perfect Kale Crisps

1.       Use the freshest kale you can
2.       The kale must be dry, so if you wash it, spin very well and leave to dry before baking (personally, I don’t bother washing if organic)
3.       Give the leaves space to breathe on the baking tray
4.       Massage the oil in well (this helps the spices stick to the leaves) and gets them super crispy
5.       Adjust your oven heat to ensure you cook them well but don’t burn them
6.       Don’t add liquid seasonings at any stage (this makes them soggy)


  1. Preheat oven to 120⁰ Line a 40x30cm baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Remove leaves from the stems and tear into medium pieces. Layout the kale on the tray just to measure that they are not too crowded.
  3. Mix together the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt & pepper in a small bowl.

Figure 2 The ‘cheesy’ spice mix

  1. Add the kale leaves to a large bowl. Add the oil then massage into the leaves with your fingers to ensure good coverage. This may take a few minutes to do thoroughly.
  2. Sprinkle the spice mix onto the kale leaves and toss well to combine.

Figure 3 Going into the oven

  1. Spread the kale on the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the tray and bake for a further 10 minutes (the kale will shrink slightly as moisture is drawn out).
  2. Leave to cool completely before storing in a glass mason jar (they will go soggy if you do this too early).

The crisps are quite delicate hence why I use a glass jar, so they don’t get crushed.  These keep for about a week as long as they stay airtight.

Figure 4 Store in a glass mason jar

This quantity is perfect for one person to use up over a week, but if you have a family who like to tuck in, double the recipe and use 2 trays.

You can add different seasonings if you like – paprika, cayenne pepper, chilli powder, curry power all work well.


A quick word about nutritional yeast If you have yeast overgrowth, you may be concerned about consuming nutritional yeast. Worry not, the yeast is inactive.

It has a nutty, umami flavour that mimics Parmesan, so is a good way to add a ‘cheesy’ flavour.

Nutritional yeast is high in B vitamins which helps support your nervous system & mood.  B vitamins are often lacking in those with compromised digestive systems.

It is also a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot create, and we must source from food, just like meat, fish & eggs.  This makes it a great choice if you are vegetarian or vegan.

This recipe is a well-balanced snack that provides essential fat, protein & a low level of net carbohydrates making it supremely healthy compared to munching on standard potato crisps.

Creating tasty and nutritional treats can be a challenge, which is why I’ve created the 14 Day-Gut Friendly Meal Plan that includes delicious treats (both savoury & sweet) that nurture your tummy and mood.


Jane Barrett is a registered nutritionist and expert in digestive health helping women & children with digestive issues take control of their health through food. She offers support through meal plans, online courses & personalised 1:1 programmes on Zoom.