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Snack on greens the crunchy, crisp party-food way

Addie Broyles, Relish Austin

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Tear kale leaves into pieces; toss with oil, salt and pepper, then bake to create crispy chips.

Headed to a Super Bowl party this weekend and aren't quite what sure to bring to balance the bevy of salty, cheesy and greasy finger foods? Try crispy, flavorful chips made from leafy greens like Swiss chard, collards, kale, spinach or even leaves from broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts growing in your garden.

Unlike most potato chips — usually deep-fried discs filled with loads of starch and little nutrients — chips made from leafy greens contain far more nutrients and fiber than just about any other crispy, salty snack you could eat on game day.

(To watch a clip of me making these chips with Susan Leibrock of the Sustainable Food Center on Fox 7's morning show a few weeks ago, go to www.austin360.com/relishaustin.)

To make the chips, just tear the leaves into chip-sized pieces (alternatively, you can leave them whole and make larger chips if you want) and toss with a little olive oil and salt before baking for 15 to 20 minutes at 300 degrees. You also can place the leaves on a baking sheet and spray lightly with oil in a pump or aerosol can before seasoning. You can cook them at a higher temperature for less time, but the high heat gives the chips a roasted flavor that you might or might not like. If you own a dehydrator, you can certainly make the chips with an even lower amount of heat, but it will take much longer for them to crisp up.

I used a basil-infused olive oil, which gave the chips an aromatic layer of flavor; feel free to play around with other flavored oils or oils that naturally have a strong flavor, such as sesame oil. You also can add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, lemon pepper, curry powder or garlic salt for variety.

Don't want to show up to the party with hippie chips? Then bring hippie popcorn. Crush chips into a rough powder and sprinkle on popcorn.

As a gardener, it's a relief to know that I can put those broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprout leaves to use. In years past, I've harvested the heads or sprouts and composted the rest of the plant. I knew you could sauté or braise the leaves, but I can only eat wilted greens so often before I grow tired of them, no matter how much garlic and butter I use.

There are a lot of ways to eat your greens, including the ever-present creamed spinach dip, but I can't think of a more party-friendly way to serve them than this.

abroyles@statesman.com; 912-2504