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Jamaican Jerk Kale Chips

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vegan Jamaican-Jerk-Kale-Chips that are crisp and full of robust flavor

~ raw, vegan, gluten-free ~

Last week I accepted a challenge from Dean (a Nouveau Raw reader) to create a Jamaican Jerk Kale Chip.  Without an ounce of hesitancy, I *bowed* to his challenge and accepted. *smacks forehead*  What was I thinking?!  I didn’t know a thing about Jamaican Jerk spices or flavors.

To be honest, I am not even sure I have ever tasted them, so how was I to know if my recipe was up to par?!  After a few meditative yoga poses, I had calmed my breath and then I turned to Google.

The problem was the more I read, the less I knew.  So keeping that in mind, understand that I don’t claim to be an expert with this fine cuisine but I am excited to report that I am learning a lot.  And with this new-found knowledge, I did my best to create a kale chip for Dean and others who might enjoy this exciting and HOT flavor profile.

Island Flavors

There are hundreds, if not thousands of recipes for jerk seasoning, and many have an ingredient list a mile long. But I have gathered that there are three common ingredients used in most, if not all of these recipes… Allspice, Scotch bonnet peppers, and thyme.  From there, the sky is the limit when it comes to additional ingredients. Today I am going to just briefly touch on these three since I find them so fascinating.

  • The allspice berry, also known as Jamaican pepper.  The dried, unripe berries from the pimento tree are commonly called allspice berries as they are said to combine the taste and aroma of many other spices such as pepper, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon.
  • Scotch bonnet peppers are small, orange, wrinkly, and extremely hot.  They are among the hottest chile peppers available.  (I am quivering already!)  And are closely related to the habanero.
  • Thyme is widely used in Caribbean cooking and adds complexity to the flavor of Jamaican dishes.  Additional ingredients that are often added to jerk seasoning include garlic, brown sugar, green onions, soy sauce, lime juice, orange juice, rum, bay leaves, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper.

Today’s Health benefit list goes to Allspice!

While browsing around Whole Foods, I found an Organic Jerk Seasoning spice mix.  I flipped the container over to read the list of ingredients: paprika, onion, thyme, garlic, pepper, allspice, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Sounded like a wonderful combination to me.

So to get a little flavor experience under my tongue, I decided to try this blend so that I could understand these flavors better. Then in time when I am more confident about what Jamaican Jerk ought to taste like, I can create my own blend.  I posted a link below to the brand I bought and where you can buy it online if you are interested.  Note that I couldn’t find Scotch bonnet peppers so I used Habanero peppers.


yields 1 1/2 cups sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 2 hours
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp Jamaican spice
  • 4 grams fresh Habanero pepper, seeds removed
  • 1 head curly kale


Kale Prep:

  1. Selecting Kale:
    • Don’t use wilted / old kale, it can have a bitter undertone.
    • I prefer Curly Kale because all of the folds really hold onto the sauce.
  2. Wash and de-stem your kale.
    • Start by washing the kale and blotting it dry.  You can also use a salad spinner if you own one.
    • Make sure you get as much excess water off of the kale as possible.  If you don’t it will make your sauce “soupy”.  Set aside.
    • Starting at the bottom strip away the leaf leaving behind only the stem.
    • Tear the remaining leaves into pieces that are a tad larger than bite-size since they tend to shrink.

Sauce Prep:

  1. After soaking the cashew, drain and discard the water.
  2. In a high-powered blender combine the; water, cashews, aminos, lemon juice, Jamaican spice, and Habanero pepper.  Blend until the sauce is creamy smooth.
    • Due to the volume and the creamy texture that we are going after, it is important to use a high-powered blender.  It could be too taxing on a lower-end model.
    • Create a vortex in the blender, this will help ensure that the sauce is getting fully blended into a creamy texture.
    • What is a vortex?  Look into the container from the top and slowly increase the speed from low to high,  the batter will form a small vortex (or hole) in the center.  High-powered machines have containers that are designed to create a controlled vortex, systematically folding ingredients back to the blades for smoother blends and faster processing… instead of just spinning ingredients around, hoping they find their way to the blades.
    • If your machine isn’t powerful enough or built to do this, you may need to stop the unit often to scrape down the sides.
    • This process can take 1-3 minutes, depending on the strength of the blender.  Keep your hand cupped around the base of the blender carafe to feel for warmth.  If the batter is getting too warm., stop the machine and let it cool, then proceed once cooled.


  1. Place the torn kale into a very large bowl.
  2. Pour in the sauce and with your hands gently and evenly coat each piece of kale.
    • This is a “hands-on” job.  Stirring with a spoon just doesn’t do the trick.
    • I would suggest removing any jewelry from your fingers.  I have temporarily lost a ring here and there.

Dehydrator Method:

  1. Have the dehydrator trays ready by lining them with non-stick teflex or parchment paper.
    • Don’t use wax paper because food tends to stick to it.
    • Spread all the trays out in advance because soon your hands will be covered in sauce and you don’t want to get it all over.
  2. Place the kale on the non-stick sheets.  You can do this 1 of 2 ways:
    • Lay each piece out semi-flat if you want to create individual pieces.  More time-consuming and chips tend to be a little bit more fragile.
    • Or, drop clumps of coated kale on the sheets.  This will create hardy clusters that are loaded with sauce and flavor.  This is my preference.
  3. Dehydrate at 115 degrees (F) for about 6-8 hrs or until dry.
    • I tend to pull mine out before it gets 100% dry because I like it a little chewy.
    • The dry time is just an estimate.  The climate, humidity, dehydrator, and how full the machine is can all affect how long it will take to dry.
  4. Store in an airtight glass container and be ready to nibble non-stop till the last crumb is gone!
  5. If the kale chips start taking on some humidity from the house, you can place them back into the dehydrator for a few hours at 115 degrees (F).

Oven Method:

  1. Please use it as a guide and closely monitor the kale chips as they cook.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (F), anything higher, and risk burning the chips.
  3. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place the kale chips on the baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 15 minutes.
    • The bake times will vary based on your oven, but it’s a good starting off point!
  5. Once you pull the tray from the oven, allow the chips to cool on the baking sheet.
  6. Store in an airtight glass container and be ready to nibble non-stop till the last crumb is gone!

5 thoughts on “Jamaican Jerk Kale Chips

  1. millie says:

    Hi Amie,

    I live in London and we have the stenberg organic spice co. that makes weird and wonderful spice blends -jerk being one of them- I love the idea of making these. I have made some of your previous ones and they all have been delicious! I am a sacker for Kale Chips, so I say..bring it on!!
    Thank you,


    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Millie :)

      I am glad to hear that you can find some of these spices. Let me know how you like them once done. Have a blessed day, amie sue

  2. Nina says:

    Hey I’m so happy you took the challenge being a fully raw vegan and being Jamaican I can’t wait to try this :-) as soon as I come off this fast first thing I’m making.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Nina,

      Well, you should be able to find a few recipes here to help with your challenge. Just remember to be gentle on your body as you come out of a fast. :) Blessings and joy, amie sue

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