Chocolate-Covered Kale Chips
February 23, 2012

Raw Chocolate-Covered Kale Chips

I’m fond of saying that I’ll eat anything, so long as it’s covered in chocolate. While not entirely true–I’ll take a pass on chocolate-covered radishes, for example–this statement captures the spirit of my devotion to chocolate. People are often shocked to learn that vegans (and raw vegans) can eat chocolate, because they assume that all chocolate is milk chocolate. Not so! Most brands of dark chocolate (65% or higher) are vegan friendly (read labels, naturally), and the number of raw, vegan brands is multiplying (check out my recent review of Lulu’s Raw Chocolate here).

I’ll also eat anything that involves kale. While most people agree with me about the chocolate part, they’re less enthusiastic about the kale fanaticism. They point out that the vegetable can be slightly bitter, or that the curly texture is foreign. I’ve been eating raw kale for so long (sometimes right off the stem–yep, I’m strange like that) that I can hardly believe it tastes bitter to anyone, but I’m willing to take people’s word for it. Which is why I’m so intent on delivering recipes that make kale more appealing to those who haven’t yet fallen victim to its charms. This week, I thought I’d marry my two obsessions–chocolate and kale–and see if it’s indeed true that a little chocolate can turn any food into a crowd-pleaser. Leafy greens included.

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No, those kale chips aren’t charred to a crisp! They’ve simply been drenched in a rich chocolate “ganache” that’s made from cashews, dates, and raw cacao. They’re then dehydrated and served up for nutrient-dense snacking. Like most kale chip recipes, these can be modified endlessly. Add some chili or cinnamon for a Mexican chocolate flavor. Add cacao nibs for extra crunch and antioxidants. Add coconut flakes for a chocolate-coconut variety, or goji berries for a “superfoods” twist. Kale chips are one of the easiest and most adaptable raw recipes around, so feel free to use the recipe below as a “template,” and vary according to your tastes.

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Chocolate-Covered Kale Chips (raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Makes 3-4 Snackable Servings

1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, washed, and thoroughly dried
1/2 cup cashews (you can soak these for an hour beforehand, but it’s not necessary)
4-5 large pitted dates
1/4 cup raw cacao powder (substitute regular cocoa powder)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp water (you may want to use a little less if you soak the dates; start with 1/3 cup and add until you have a thick mixture that resembles chocolate sauce)

1) Tear kale into pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.

2) Blend cashews, dates, cacao, vanilla, sea salt, and water in a blender till smooth.

3) Pour sauce over kale, and mix with hands until kale is well coated.

4) Transfer kale to 2 Teflex-lined dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 115 for about 5 hours. Flip kale chips (or just shuffle them around) and dehydrate for another 4-5 hours, or until very crispy. Get snacking.

Oven option: As always, you are welcome to make this recipe without the dehydrator! Bake chips at 300 degrees Farenheit for about 20 minutes. Flip chips, and bake for another 15. If they’re still “wet,” allow them to crisp up further, but if they start burning before your 15 minutes are done, take them out. Kitchen intuition, folks!

I love the texture and unusual hue of these chips:

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And I especially love the rich, sweet, chocolate flavor. It’s hard not to eat anything that has been doused in this sauce; on second thought, it might even sell me on radishes.

Speaking of the sauce (or ganache), you can make it simply to enjoy on desserts or as an indulgent drizzle over berries in the morning. It’s amazing. And it’s worth noting that while any cocoa powder will work in the recipe, this is one recipe for which I find the intensity of raw cacao to be really appropriate. I love the Navitas cacao powder, which you can peek at here.

Need more ways to warm up to kale? Well, you could…

Cover it in my outsanding miso sesame dressing:


Put some into a green smoothie:

Chop it up into a warm bowl of whole grains:

Chop some into burgers:

Or put it into a cold cup of fresh vegetable juice!

No matter how you enjoy it, kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods around, and I assure you that the taste will grow on you, recipe by recipe.

Alright–back to chemistry I go. Can’t wait to hear how you like the chips!


Categories: Gluten Free, Raw, Snacks

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  1. I LOVE!!! your recipe for the chocolate covered kale.. i’m making them again today.. rave reviews from friends that i had try them.. awesome work. looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  2. […] before here. I also really want to try the chocolate version that my blogger friend Gena posted here). This was the first time I used the dehydrator for kale chips. The texture turned out great, much […]

  3. I want to make this recipe, but don’t have cashews…can I use pecans, almonds or walnuts?


  4. Just wanted you to know that I won the “unique” award for our workplace Valentine Day’s Cookie Throwdown on Feb. 14 with your chocolate covered kale chip recipe…..and I won out over the bacon chocolate chip cookies! (yay for vegans) People loved eating the kale chips as well, so it was more than a “most weird” award and there were none left over. Okay, they weren’t strictly a cookie, but we agreed the contest could include “hand held treats”…..Thanks for a great recipe!!

  5. […] Kale chips sound dreadfully healthy, and probably are; add a little salt and you have a crispy-crunchy snack.  Weirded out by kale?  If you  freeze-dry any vegetable it retains very little flavor (they fare better dehydrated).  Kale is kinda cool-looking when it’s all stiff like that, all frilly like green coral.  (I was raised in the grip of Southerners for whom all greens were cooked into submission; greens with distinctive shapes still intrigue me.)  Yeah, kale is vegan and can be organic and all, but did it really need to be improved by dipping it in chocolate (which removes the vegan beatitude anyway)? […]

  6. I have been seeing kale all over the place these days and I have yet to try it. I feel like I am missing out on something! I tend to like leafy greens, so I think I will like it without any whistles, but I do love salty things and I love chocolate so I think I will have to check out the elusive kale chip.

  7. I am going to try this! I have one child who has a hard time loving vegetables, and I have a feeling this would convince him! Thanks for the idea.

  8. Gena, the only way I “eat” my kale, is in green smoothies and the kale chips my wife makes at home. I’ve never imagine, not even in my wildest dreams to mix kale and chocolate.
    Definitively I’m trying them!


  9. I love Kale. I dehydrate 2 bunches every Sunday and needless to say, they only last until Monday. So, I am very excited to try this recipe! I already sent it to 4 of my friends. Thanks for your love of KALE, I now do not feel alone!

  10. Just curious Gena, does raw cacao powder need a lot of sweetening? I’m not sure if that’s a stupid question but I was at Whole Foods and wanted to buy some today to put in smoothies to make them taste more like chocolate since my raw vegan protein powder adds a little bit of a weird taste to the smoothies I’ve made recently.

  11. these look yummy, but I love my savory kale chips so much, I’d probably just eat the ganache w/ a spoon! Kate Magic has lots of chocolate + greens in her book Raw Magic from a few years ago, it’s one of my favorites

  12. I have to admit at first read I was …. what? but after contemplating this and realizing my love of both of these ingredients I think I may just have to try these! Going to check to see if I have all the ingredients!

  13. This is probably the most fantastic kale idea I’ve come across! Seriously, chocolate-covered kale? I’m absolutely in love with the “sour cream and onion” kale chips and I can see myself loving these too. I can’t wait to try them…definitely worth digging out the dehydrator for.

  14. these look awesome! i started relegating all the purple kale from last summer’s csa share to making chocolate kale chips! mine i sweetened with agave & included a bit of coconut & cacao nibs for texture – SO good! looking forward to trying your recipe 🙂

  15. You know how people but net nannies on their kids’ computers to prevent them from looking at naughty websites? I need a kale net nanny, because it’s simply too cruel that the blogosphere is bursting with delicious kale recipes and I can’t find it here.

    At least I can make the sauce. Though I’m a bit of a ‘chocolate only in bar form’ purist for the most part, the cashew part sells this for me 🙂

  16. I know this is a ridiculous question, but is there anything that might substitute well for the kale in the kale chips? I’m sure your other readers outside of the US might be interested too since we can’t get kale here in Europe! Would swiss chard or “chou frisée” which is apparently savoy cabbage in English, or any other greens work in place? Cannot wait to try these – my two favorite things married to each other, can’t wait to taste the delicious offspring!

  17. I made and blogged about chocolate covered kale chips about a year ago. I made the chocolate sauce with cashews and cocoa powder, too. I know you hate link dropping so I won’t but they were so good!

    Your look great. I love chocolate…in any way, shape, or form 🙂

    • You and me both!

      I think obsessive link dropping is a little annoying, but I’m hardly militant against it. Go ahead and share your link if you want to — I’m sure yours were delicious!

  18. I am always struck by the uniqueness of some of your recipes! I’m not sure about this one, I admit. I’ve noted before that I’m more timid about these sweet salad type things (which this kind of is, just in baked form and maybe sweeter), but I did just get brave enough to try your curried grape and carrot coleslaw. Sans raisins, it wasn’t too sweet, but I still don’t know if I am brave enough for chocolate and kale!

  19. Looks yum. I made red pepper-chipotle kale chips this past weekend. I always cook my chips at 375 for 7-8 minutes, because I have little patience waiting for my food. I monitor them religiously starting at 7 minutes so they don’t char. Is there any reason to prefer cooking at 300? If I’m already cooking, any greater nutrient loss at that higher temp?

    • No, I always find that at higher temperatures, mine burn without “drying out” the way the dehydrated ones do. So when I started at a slightly lower temperature, I got more of the dried out effect. If what you’re doing works, keep doing it 🙂

  20. I agree with your sentiments on both kale and chocolate. My boyfriend was one of those chocolate misbelievers! I did feel bad this weekend when he handed me a square of dark chocolate. I said no thanks, and he said “WHAT?! It’s dark!” (a testament to my love, he was surprised I refused). Unfortunately it was Lindt, and I know from experience they use milk powder.

  21. The first kale chips I ever made were chocolate kale chips! They were good, but eventually I decided that a saltier chip worked better. Mostly because I was trying to make kale appealing to my friends/family (I raised so much kale last year) and no one was a fan of the kale chips–they love their junk chips too much.

    I don’t love kale as much as some other veggies, but I like it a lot in green smoothies, etc

  22. So creative! Love the idea.

    And about kale being bitter: I read an article once about how some folks have some gene combination to be able to taste a certain bitter chemical in some vegetables (such as brussel sprouts or cabbage), and some people don’t. Perhaps kale is on that list? Interesting!

    I taste kale as bitter when not dressed up all fancy like the ways you portrayed. Keep these ideas flowing! 🙂

  23. Oh yum, those look so good! I wish kale was easier to find in Australia. I’ve seen it only once at the market (you can bet I jumped on it!).

    I have a question for you Gena. I know you are friends with Brendan and you love Vega products so you might be able to answer me. I’ve emailed them 3 weeks ago but still no answer. Do you know if the new version of Vega Sport protein powder in chocolate as any iron at all? It use to be very high and clearly indicated on the label but it isn’t anymore and it’s not on their website either. Thanks for your help! 🙂

    • Where do you live in Oz? I live in Perth, so if you need any tips on where to get kale and Perth, I can list all the suppliers. Ha! I am kale-obsessed, and luckily it’s much more widely available in Perth than it was when I first arrived.

      • I live in Melbourne and the only place I’ve found it (and only once in 5 months!) is the South Melbourne Market… I though it may be because kale is more of a northen veggie but, if you can find it easily in Perth, there is no reason why I can’t find it here!!

        • Hello other Melbourne reader! You can sometimes get it at Surace Fresh (Chapel St, near intersection with High St) – great veg store. Woolworths Balaclava has it sometimes as “Tuscan Cabbage”.

          The curly stuff seems to be nonexistant here but the “dinosaur kale” or “tuscan kale” variety seems to be more common. Let me know if you see it anywhere else. I’m planning to check out Prahran Market and see if they have some too!

        • I used to think that too, but once it started to grow like crazy in Perth I realised it must be able to grow in warmer climates as well! The bunches of kale we have here are HUGE too – just one fills up an entire reusable green shopping bag! Good luck in your kale hunting endeavors 🙂

  24. Chocolate covered kale chips?! They sound crazy and amazing! I never would have thought of this combination, but I’ll have to make them now 🙂

  25. are the dates enough to sweeten the cacao/cocoa then? we are not having any sugar/honey/maple syrup “for Lent” and I am only sweetening with dates, and I had written off chocolate creations because I didnt think dates were punchy-sweet enough for cocoa/cacao? is this sweet, or bitter-sweetISH?

  26. I like kale chips and raw chocolate, but somehow my mind thinks it would be wasteful to put it on kale like this. I think I eat plenty of both so this might save me the trouble of making two things. A chocolate kale green smoothie is yummy too.

    fingers crossed comment works….

  27. say what?! i did a double take on these. i love kale chips but covered in chocolate? do you get a sweet/savory thing or…well it’s hard for me to imagine chocolate on kale you know? i love both just not sure i can take them in one bite 🙂 if you ever decide to become a chemist, we are hiring medicinal chemists at the moment. even though i’m on the bio team, i have you covered haha!

  28. I love kale in all forms. I eat it at least three times a week, and could probably enjoy it every day. I love that you’ve paired it with chocolate – such an interesting flavor combination. I can’t wait to give this a try!

  29. I’m going to make these for my friend who says kale is to bitter. I don’t understand that! Before that I’m going to go grab my leftovers – another way to enjoy kale – in a coconut curry sauce. YUM.