We are calling all snack lovers! When you need something delicious, kale chips save the day. But why settle for bland when you could be crunching on incredibly flavorful Vegan Cheesy Kale Chips?
Life is about balance, and these indulgent but nutrient-packed kale chips are the perfect snack. With just ten simple ingredients, whipping up a batch of cheesy kale chips is easier than ever!
So let’s get ready to bake (no frying is involved!) because these little bites are an extraordinarily healthy snack.
These kale chips are an irresistible snack for game day or game night; for more ideas, try these recipes: baked sweet potato fries, guacamole, horseradish aioli, and beet hummus with horseradish.
Try a batch of homemade kale chips for a nutritious snack; I bet you can't have just one! This leafy green packs in goodness, including fiber, antioxidants, and plenty of vitamins. And to top it off - this recipe uses just enough oil and salt for flavor. Learn about the additional health benefits of vegan cheesy kale chips with nutritional yeast.
Are kale chips healthy?
Yes, kale chips are healthy. Kale keeps its nutritional value when made into chips, unlike potato chips. It is high in antioxidants, calcium, fiber, vitamin A, and calcium, as well as B vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium. Adjust the amounts of olive oil and salt to your preference.
Here are the simple ingredients you need to make this homemade kale chips recipe with healthy fats:
- Cashews - we use raw, unsalted cashew pieces. The raw cashews I buy are heat treated for safety. I purchase a 5-pound bag and store it in the freezer.
- Pine nuts - I love their flavor, like in this vegan basil pesto.
- Kale - You can use curly kale, as I did, or black kale, dinosaur kale, or lacinato kale. I used one bunch of kale.
- Roasted red bell pepper - I used canned roasted bell pepper for flavor and to add color.
- Garlic powder - this is for seasoning.
- Lemon juice - use fresh lemon juice.
- Apple cider vinegar - we use the one with "the mother."
- Sea salt - to bring out the flavor.
- Nutritional yeast - this is 100% vegan -adds umami flavor and savory flavor. It is found in the healthy section of the grocery store or near the dried seasonings and spices. You can also buy it online. Nutritional yeast is packed with protein and has a deliciously cheesy flavor, making it perfect as a cheese alternative in this recipe!
- Water - thin the "cheesy" sauce as needed.
See the recipe card for the exact quantities.
What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast is an inactive form of yeast and has undergone a heating process that deactivates the yeast. It is a food supplement and is grown for that purpose.
It is a good source of protein, with 5 grams of protein per serving, and contains many nutritional compounds that boost immunity. Depending on the brand, nutritional yeast is fortified with vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. B vitamins are important for brain development, energy metabolism, and the health of the skin, hair, and nails.
It is also known as "nooch," although I prefer to call it nutritional yeast. It contains all nine essential amino acids that have to be obtained from food.
How to make these vegan cheesy kale chips
It's simple to make this savory snack with a great cheesy flavor, even if it is your first time. You can soak the cashews in boiling hot water while you prep the kale.
Prep the kale
Prepare the kale by washing it; we soak ours in a clean kitchen sink, drain it, and rinse it. Tear the kale into large pieces by holding the stalk of kale, and pull towards you along the stalk, to strip the leaves from the stalk.
Dry the kale: sandwich the leaves between two large kitchen towels and roll them up to absorb water. If you have a salad spinner, you can use that instead to dry the kale leaves.
Preheat oven and prepare cashews
Preheat a standard oven to 275ºF - line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Drain and rinse the soaked cashews with fresh water.
Make the "cheesy" sauce
Place the cashews in a blender. Add roasted bell pepper, garlic cloves, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and half of the sea salt.
Blend to combine for a couple of minutes. Add water, more lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar to achieve a creamy consistency. The dressing should be slightly thick yet pourable. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Mix the "cheesy" sauce with the kale
Place the kale pieces into a large bowl and pour the nutritional yeast mixture over the kale.
Coat the leaves evenly with the nutritional yeast mixture, using your hands, lightly massaging the kale.
Place the kale onto the prepared sheet pans, making sure not to overlap the kale leaves. Sprinkle the kale with the remaining sea salt.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes; turn the kale leaves over to ensure they bake evenly for another 25 minutes, just until crispy.
Keep a close eye and watch the kale to ensure it doesn't burn. Take them out of the oven when crispy. They will continue to crisp once you take them out of the oven and let them sit for a few minutes.
Serve and enjoy these kale chips as a snack, crumbled them on top of salad, in wraps, or add them to whatever you are eating! These kale chips are addictive!
Hint: Keep the pieces of kale as large as possible since the pieces will shrink considerably once baked in the oven.
Here are some substitutions you can try:
- Cashews - instead of cashews, you can use sunflower seeds.
- Pine nuts - use cashews or sunflower seeds instead.
- Water - use plant-based milk instead of water, or use more lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
- Roasted bell pepper - use fresh red bell pepper instead.
- Garlic powder - use fresh garlic cloves instead, or try onion powder or a combination of both.
- Extra virgin olive oil - use grapeseed oil or avocado oil instead.
- Apple cider vinegar - feel free to omit it or use coconut vinegar.
- Nutritional yeast - For umami, you can try a small amount of organic chickpea miso. Do not use brewer's yeast or active yeast.
Here are some tasty variations you can try:
- Spicy - add a pinch of cayenne pepper, black pepper, or chili powder. Or replace the roasted red bell pepper with roasted green chile.
- Smokey - add smoked paprika.
- Deluxe - sprinkle Everything But the Bagel Seasoning on the kale leaves before placing them in the oven.
- Kid-friendly - leave out the garlic.
- Oil-free - leave out the oil.
- Two baking sheets
- Parchment paper
- Large bowl
- High-speed blender
Let the kale chips cool completely before placing them in an airtight container to prevent soggy kale chips.
I usually keep them on the counter in a bowl; they don't last long! They are best enjoyed within 24 hours; otherwise, they lose their crispiness. If needed, bake the kale chips briefly on a baking sheet to get them crisp again.
Turn the leaves over halfway through cooking to ensure they bake evenly. Watch the kale to ensure it doesn't burn to a crisp!
Chances are, you overbaked them. If they are brown and crispy, they have been in the oven for too long.
Baking kale retains the nutritional value of kale. It is a nutrient-dense snack that is beneficial to your health.
No. Unlike active yeast, which helps bread rise during baking, nutritional yeast stays inactive.
Spread the kale chips onto dehydrator sheets and dehydrate them at 120°F. After 3 to 4 hours, when the top of the kale is firm, turn the leaves over, and place them back in the dehydrator to dry the other side of the chips. This will take another 3 to 4 hours.
More vegan healthy snacks
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with these vegan cheesy kale chips with nutritional yeast:
Vegan Cheesy Kale Chips
- 2 Baking sheets
- Large bowl
- blender high-speed if possible
- ½ cup raw cashews soaked in hot water for thirty minutes minimum, or sunflower seeds
- 1 roasted red bell pepper
- ¼ cup pine nuts or sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water, optional If needed, add another tablespoon or two of water if needed to get a creamy consistency, or use more lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt divided
- 8 cups fresh kale washed, de-stemmed, torn into small pieces, 5 oz
- Preheat oven to 275ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drain and rinse the cashews.
- Place cashews in blender. Add roasted bell pepper, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt.
- Blend to combine. Add one to two tablespoons water or more lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to achieve a creamy consistency. The nutritional yeast mixture should be slightly thick and pour easily. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Place the kale pieces into a large bowl and pour the dressing over the kale. Coat the leaves evenly with the dressing, using your hands, lightly massaging the kale.
- Place the kale onto the prepared sheet pans, making sure not to overlap the kale leaves. Sprinkle the kale with the remaining ¼ sea salt.
- Bake for approximately 25 minutes, turning the kale leaves over to ensure they bake evenly. Bake for another 25 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning the kale. Serve and enjoy!
Resplendent Kitchen offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site as a courtesy. Although resplendentkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information from online calculators, these figures are estimates.
What an amazing flavorful snack idea! Love it! Can't wait to give it a try!
Thank you for your wonderful review, Nora! I am so pleased to hear that you're eager to give this healthy snack idea a try!
These kale chips are such an awesome snack! Love the cheesy flavor!
Hi Andrea, thank you for the fabulous review of my kale chips! I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed the cheesy flavor.
Tasty and healthy kale chips! I love that you used nutritional yeast for a vegan cheese alternative.
Nancy, thank you for your fantastic review! I am so pleased to hear that you enjoyed the kale chips!
I love these vegan cheesy kale chips! Perfect to munch on while watching my favorite netflix shows.
I am delighted that you are enjoying these vegan cheesy kale chips, Mina! Thank you for the kind words and five-star review!
These kale chips are so good! They're so addicting, my family gobbled them up. Will make again!
Thank you for your glowing review of my kale chips recipe, Colleen! I appreciate hearing about the great reaction your family had to them!