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Smokey BBQ Kale Chips

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close up of raw vegan Smokey BBQ Kale Chips on a piece of wood

~ raw, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free ~

My husband and I are huge fans of kale chips.  They never seem to last more than a few days, shoot if I have any left on the dehydrator sheets by the time they are “done,” I am lucky. :)  They are that good!  Today, I came across a raw recipe for a BBQ sauce that was developed by Yum Universe.

I had a head of kale in the fridge patiently waiting to be used, so I brought the two together to make BBQ Kale Chips.  They are in the dehydrator right now, and I tell ya what…the smell emitting from that room is heavenly!  We like our kale chips well coated, so I used a complete recipe of BBQ sauce to one head of kale.  This BBQ recipe is a bit on the sweet side.  We loved the outcome but will play some more with the flavoring.

I know that the photos aren’t too appealing. I struggle when it comes to taking pictures of kale chips. But regardless of how the picture turned out… the flavor turned out wonderfully.

If you are familiar with my other kale chip recipes… you will know that I LOVE thick sauces.  This recipe is a little different in texture.  The chips are crispy, just not as heavily coated.  The BBQ flavors greatly intensify when dried…yum.




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 sun-dried tomatoes, drain 3/4 cup of water and set aside. Place the dried tomatoes and the other 3/4 cup of soak water into the blender.
  2. The reserved soak water will be used if you want to thin the BBQ sauce out.  For kale chip purposes, I don’t recommend it.
  3. In a high-powered blender combine; vinegar, honey, olive oil, lemon juice, coconut amino, liquid smoke, onions, and spices. 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.
    • I used 3 dehydrator trays for this batch.  I use a 9 tray Excalibur machine.
  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 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!

2 thoughts on “Smokey BBQ Kale Chips

  1. Sarah says:

    How many hours do you dehydrate them for? You left it out of the last sentence.

    • amie-sue says:

      By-golly I did Sarah. Thanks for pointing that out. I added in the time frame. These times are always approximate. I like my chips on the chewier side, rather than crispy dry. Have a great day!

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