Recipe for Disaster: A collegiate Culinary Column

Hillary Hoover, Culinary Columnist

Healthy snacking can be quite the challenge for young college students, especially with the availability of delivery pizza and wings, or late night bar menu options like French fries and mozzarella sticks. Forget the dorm room delicacy “Easy Mac.” Even more difficult is snacking healthfully as an herbivore, when most choices point to some dish whose main ingredient is cheese. While we all need a healthy serving of dairy in our diets, even the U.S. Department of Agriculture can’t deny the importance of dark, leafy greens in the food pyramid. According to the USDA, women and men between the ages of 19-30 years old should consume 1.5 to 2 cups of dark green vegetables per week. They also link healthy servings of vegetables to lower risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney stones, and bone loss.

Are you eating enough leafy greens?

Enter: Kale. This vegetable is a dark green form of cabbage, inhabiting the same species (Brassica oleracea) as broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and brussel sprouts. Unlike other cabbages, kale doesn’t grow around a central head but branches out to form wide, leafy, curly greens.  This green veggie is a nutritional powerhouse, filled with antioxidants (those cancer fighting goodies), fiber and tons of vitamins. Kale can be used in many recipes and prepared many ways – raw as a salad base, sautéed with garlic as a side dish, or for the picky, snacking college student I present – kale chips.

Ingredients:

One bag of prechopped kale
Sea salt
Tin foil
Baking sheet

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line the baking sheet with tin foil to prevent yourself from scrubbing later. Clean and dry the kale, chopping first if necessary. Spread the chopped kale out on the baking sheet, creating a fairly thin layer with not too much overlap. Sprinkle sea salt to taste over the kale. Bake until pieces start to slightly brown. You’ll smell the veggie drying out and roasting a bit. It doesn’t take very long, so it’s easy to make two batches in a short amount of time. Once it’s dried out, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let the kale cool, and it will be crispy and dried. Add more sea salt, and potentially pepper if desired. Voila! You have kale chips! They’re healthier than potato chips, but less “health food-ish” than salad. This calcium-rich leafy green becomes crunchy, salty and tastes reminiscent of popcorn. Vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike can all chow down on this recipe! Make a whole bunch and store it for a mid-study snack break – it won’t put you in a food coma, but it will still be satisfying. Have a recipe idea? Contact Hilary Hoover at [email protected]