As far as snacks go, it’s hard to beat the satisfying, salty crunch of chips. They hit all the right notes of taste and texture and can take on a seemingly endless variety of flavors. While they’re easy to buy (just grab a bag and throw them in your shopping cart) and serve (open the bag and pour them into a bowl — salsas and dips optional), did you know they’re also easy to make? And not just potato chips, either. In less than an hour, you can turn a wide range of vegetables and fruits (like the avocado!) into delicious crisps.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to turn vegetables and fruits into a tasty snack that your whole family will love.
Beets come in a gorgeous array of jewel-toned colors — ruby, garnet, and carnelian among them — so they make for some particularly eye-catching chips. Grab three or four (or five or six—depending on the number of people snacking with you) beets and scrub their skins well, making sure to remove all the dirt. Next, slice them thinly, ideally with a mandolin slicer, as it will create a uniform thickness. Just be careful with your fingers!
Move your oven’s rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the beet rounds in a large bowl and add a generous glug of olive oil, as well as an extra-generous pinch of salt. If you want to add other seasonings, fresh chopped herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, are great options. Once you’ve added the ingredients, toss the beets to ensure they’re coated with the oil, salt, and herbs.
Spread the beets out in a single, even layer on baking sheets; bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crispy. Be sure to keep an eye on the oven so the chips don’t burn.
If you grow kale in your garden or if you’re a member of a CSA (community-supported agriculture) program, you’ve likely asked yourself, “What do I do with all this kale?” Fresh kale, like many leafy greens, is bulky and can seem a little intimidating, especially after you’ve had it for several weeks in a row and you can’t bear the thought of more steamed or sautéed versions. When you’ve hit that low point, it’s kale chips to the rescue!
What looks like a big batch of kale will cook down considerably when you make chips, so don’t be afraid to select a big handful … or two! As with all leafy greens, you’ll want to make sure you wash them thoroughly, knocking off loose dirt. Once you’ve done this, clip the stems and compost or discard them.
Next, you’ll need to make sure the leaves are completely dry. Whether you use a salad spinner or a towel-dry method, be sure you’ve rid the kale of any dampness; otherwise, you’ll have soggy chips (and wasted kale).
While you let the leaves get an extra few minutes of drying, make an oil rub. Take a ½ to 1 tablespoon of olive oil and put it in a bowl and add a generous pinch of a spice of your choice. We like pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika) or cumin, but there are no rules here, so take a look at your spice rack and be adventurous! Once you’ve whisked the oil to ensure the ingredients are mixed, pour the oil over the kale and rub each leaf to make sure you’ve distributed the coating well.
Next, spread the kale leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in an oven that’s been preheated to 300 F. After 10 to 12 minutes, rotate the baking sheet to ensure even cooking, and give the chips another 10 to 12 minutes. Don’t stray far from the kitchen, though; the chips can go from perfection to inedible quickly.
Once you pull the chips from the oven, sprinkle some salt on top, (only if you didn’t add salt to your oil mix) and give them a few minutes to cool before serving.
Plantain chips are a staple snack or side dish in many countries, from the Caribbean to India. If you’ve never tasted them, you’ll soon see why their popularity is nearly global in reach. Yes, they’re that good.
Preheat your oven to 425 F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Slice three to five (again, depending on how many people you’ll have snacking along with you) plantains (the hard green ones — not maduros, or ripe, plantains) into thin rounds. A mandolin comes in handy for this job, ensuring even cuts.
Mix ½ to 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the spices of your choice, whisking well. Add some coarse sea salt, toss the plantain rounds in your oil mix and spread them evenly in a single layer on the baking sheet. Let the chips bake for 20 minutes or until crispy, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time. Check for crispness before pulling from the oven and serving.
Whoever coined the phrase “easy as pie,” never made tortilla chips. Pie-making isn’t exactly simple, but tortilla chips? Anyone can make them, and they’re the ultimate DIY indulgence.
Take five to seven store-bought tortillas and snip them into triangle-shaped pieces. Lay them on your baking sheet in a single layer and place them in an oven you’ve preheated to 350 F. Bake them for five to six minutes and then turn them over with a pair of tongs. Let that side bake for another five to six minutes; then, pull the tray out and sprinkle with salt, paprika, cumin, cayenne, or any other favorite spice.
And serve with guacamole, of course!
You might be thinking that an avocado’s texture doesn’t lend itself to becoming a chip, and truth be told, you’re not entirely wrong. You won’t get the thinness of a traditional chip with an avocado (not unless you’ve got pro-level knife skills and a dehydrating machine, in which case, you probably don’t need our help with a recipe!), but, with a little ingenuity, you can achieve the crispness of a chip.
Slice two or three avocados from top to bottom, scoring the fruit into wedges. Dredge them in some flour (add a pinch of salt to the flour first), then dip them into a beaten egg, and finally, dredge them in panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or homemade bread crumbs. You can also mix in spices of your choice — cumin, paprika, garlic powder, or onion powder are all delicious. Then, place the wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake at 450 F for about 20 minutes. The panko or bread crumbs should be golden brown.