Kale chips have long been heralded as the go to, nutrient dense potato chip alternative, and for good reason. With their crunchy texture and crisp bite, the mouth feel is enough to convince any skeptic. Pile that on top of their powerhouse nutrient profile and ability to take on the flavor of whatever seasoning might tickle your taste buds and you’ve got one heck of a snack. But, living the fast paced, multifaceted lives we do, it’s no question that variety is important to keep us interested. This is why we’ve dished up this easy to assemble, make ahead snack food, perfect for tail gates, Halloween parties, kids lunch box or your desk drawer. Just be sure to make enough to go around because these babies will go fast!
Before we break down the recipe, let’s dish really quick about ‘snacking’. More importantly, the not so subtle difference between ‘snacking’ and ‘treating’. In working with clients, when I get to the part where I say, ‘So tell me what you like to snack on.’ It’s not uncommon to hear a muffled, coy and often guilt ridden response along the lines of, ‘Well, sometimes I’ll have cookies, or ice cream, maybe chips when I’m having pizza.’ I make it clear to my patients that snacking everyday, multiple times a day is okay! What’s not as healthful of a behavior and should be regarded as an entirely separate concept is, treating.
Snacks, by my not so official definition, are nutrient dense foods or combinations of foods that serve to get us from meal to meal without drops in energy, blood sugar, and mood. They should be roughly 100-200 calories and should have a good dose of protein and fiber. Think the classic peanut butter and apple or deer jerky and carrot sticks. While a meal should fit in both hands, snacks should easily fit in just one.
Treats on the other hand are foods we know to be high calories with low nutrient contents. Foods that are only available for special occasions and that we still factor into our daily energy needs. Treats include foods like Halloween candy, birthday cake or a hotdog on the Fourth of July. These are typically foods we associate with some sort of nostalgia and should be taken in moderation as part of a balanced meal. Don’t be fooled by foods that are marketed as a ‘healthy snack’. Forget the front label and flip it over to do your own investigation. If the first ingredient is sugar or flour and you could not find the rest of the ingredients in the grocery store if you tried, just leave it!
For a satisfying snack that’s made from real, whole foods we call on the aubergine, more commonly referred to as eggplant. While some say this recipe is a fakin’ bacon, I’ll stick with the less dramatized name, Eggplant Chips. The marinade is similar to how bacon might be cured, but the neat part is that you can get as creative as you’d like with the taste. We’d love to hear what flavor chips you’ve concocted.
Eggplant Chips Recipe:
1 large aubergine/ eggplant
1-2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
A pinch of chipotle powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
A dehydrator (optional)
*Makes about 20-25 Eggplant Chips
Preheat oven or dehydrator to 225* F.
Slice the eggplant into very thin strips and then again lengthwise.
Place single layer in a casserole dish.
Mix all other ingredients into a small bowl with 6 tablespoons water.
Pour mixture over the eggplant and let marinate for 15 minutes.
Remove from dish and transfer to baking sheet or dehydrator sheet, reserving leftover marinade.
Brush the strips with remaining marinade.
Bake for 4-6 hours (until crispy) or 16-20 hours in the dehydrator.
Enjoy with a friend.