It’s July, which means kale is everywhere. We’ll admit, kale might deserve a few eye rolls for the health fad it’s become in the past few years. But these super crunchy, savory homemade cheesy vegan kale chips with vegan cashew cheese sauce will have your arms reaching for more!
What makes these kale chips so addicting? It’s all about the vegan cheese sauce
Kale chips are a constant pantry staple in our house. And though we’ve had some delicious store-bought options, with the amount we consume, they’d be an expensive habit. It’s remarkable how vegan cashew cheese in this recipe transforms leafy greens into such addictively crunchy and flavorful kale chips.
The cashew cheese sauce we coat raw kale in before cooking offers an intense cheesy flavor to these chips. To make the vegan cashew cheese, we recommend soaking raw cashews in room-temperature water for up to 3 hours. This soaking softens the nuts up so they blend into a smooth nacho-cheese like consistency. Then, add a hit of nutritional yeast and other savory spices like garlic and paprika. The result is a wonderfully savory vegan cheese sauce you might start putting on everything. It would go especially well on our loaded vegan black bean nachos!
We also add a bit of turmeric to give the vegan cheese sauce an anti-inflammatory boost and the classic yellow color that signifies cheesy goodness. The spice factor is totally up to you. Hit the cashew sauce with a powerful squeeze of Sriracha, a dainty pinch of cayenne, or abstain all together. Either way, you’ll have a delicious sauce for your cheesy vegan kale chips.
Two cooking methods, one beautifully crunchy result
We originally made these cheesy kale chips in our dehydrator. We love this appliance because it always gives the delicious, crispy result we look for in our favorite chips. It’s also a great way to preserve fruits and veggies before they pass their prime. You can make a million different types of dried fruits and chip-ified veggies in a dehydrator. All it takes is a little patience as the machine does the work!
Of course, we realize that not everyone has a dehydrator on hand. Luckily, a dehydrator-less home won’t stop you from enjoying this crunchy, cheesy vegan snack! You can easily whip up some wonderfully crunchy vegan kale chips using a normal oven set to low temperature. Bonus: they won’t take as long to crisp up as they do in the dehydrator. The low and slow temp of the dehydrator requires an overnight grace period before you can enjoy your cheesy vegan kale chips.
Side note: if you are looking to invest in a dehydrator, this is the one we use (affiliate link). We absolutely LOVE it and use it all the time! Feel free to email us if you have any specific questions.
The key to the crispiest chips, as with anything in the oven, is to spread the kale out as much as possible. Overlapping and piled on top of each other, the kale pieces will create steam as they cook. As a result, your “chips” will turn out soggy and sad. Keep things crunchy by taking full advantage of your oven and spreading out. It might require all the baking sheets you own. But you’ll be glad when you crunch into a satisfyingly cheesy kale chip rather than a limp leaf!Print
We’ll admit, kale might deserve a few eye rolls for the health fad it’s become in the past few years. But these super crunchy, savory homemade cheesy vegan kale chips with vegan cashew cheese sauce will have your arms reaching for more!
- 2 cups raw, unsalted cashews, soaked in room temp water for 2 hours
- 1 1/2 red bell peppers, quartered
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2–3 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 10 cups (2 big bunches) curly kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 4 tsp agave syrup
- 1/2 tbsp fine kosher salt
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 3/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Optional: 2 pinches of cayenne or a touch of sriracha
- 2–3 tbsp sesame seeds
- Soak the cashews in room temperature water for 2-3 hours to soften. Drain and rinse.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place quartered peppers on a baking sheet along with the cherry tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over the peppers and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to coat well. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until the peppers start to blacken and skin starts to pull away. Remove from oven and cool until you can remove the skins easily with a fork. Remove all pepper skins.
- Wash kale and pat dry with paper towels.
- Add the cashews, roasted peppers and tomatoes, hemp seeds, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, agave, 1/2 tbsp salt, and all spices to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, taste and adjust seasoning. For some heat, add cayenne or sriracha to taste.
- Put kale in a large bowl along with 1 1/4-1 1/2 cups of cashew sauce, and massage until well coated. Add more sauce as needed.
- Spread dressed kale onto dehydrator sheets and sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds. Dehydrate overnight. Store kale chips in airtight container for up to 1 week.
- If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can bake the kale chips at 200 F for 45 minutes – 1 hour. NOTE: they may not get quite as crispy. We suggest stirring every 15 minutes to make sure they get evenly crispy.