UnFoodie Tries Collard Chips – Twice

By Karen

“At 20 calories per (1-1/2 cup) serving, these collard chips crush the potato variety on virtually all nutritional fronts.”

Reading that in the Wednesday food section of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, I was all over this recipe because, at 20 calories with no fat, 4 grams of carbs, and 2 grams each of fiber and protein, that’s a Weight Watchers® zero PointsPlus snack.

(FYI on “veggie chips” in the grocery store: Not so great. When you calculate the points, you’d do just as well to eat Baked! Lay’s® Potato Crisps.)

Making Collard Chips is incredibly easy. All you need is…

  • 1 bunch collard green leaves (10-11 leaves)
  • Cooking spray
  • Sea salt, to taste

What could go wrong, right?

Well, I’m sharing my second attempt because the first one turned out so badly, I figured I must have screwed up. Fool me once…

Backstory: I never heard of collard greens until I moved to the South. Which is not to say I’m a greens snob. My Italian grandmother used to speak lovingly of dandelion greens, although I never actually saw her pick and eat any.

But dandelion greens are sheer lace next to collards, which are large, thick, and tough…


On the elitist foodie pyramid, collards must be the vegetable equivalent of roadkill.

The recipe says to preheat the oven to 375°. Wash the collards (it neglects to tell you to dry them, a CRUCIAL step), then remove the center stem and rip the leaves into “chip-size” pieces. Next, “coat” each piece with cooking spray.

I discovered the hard way that you don’t “coat” the leaves, but toss them with the merest spritz or they go soggy. The first time, I also over-salted. It doesn’t take much.

This time I tried adding some some onion powder for flavor. Big mistake: it burns.


So far, so good.

The recipe says to “mist a baking sheet with cooking spray.” But again, too much spray equals soggy mess. This time, I lined the sheet with foil and no spray. Arrange the collards in a single layer.


Is your mouth watering yet? (Sorry for the blurriness. Still getting the hang of the Nikon.)

Bake for 8-9 minutes “until slightly brown and crisp.” Go put a good movie into the DVD, pour your favorite beverage, and get ready to nosh.


Would you serve these at your next party, let alone put them in your own mouth?

Would you serve these at your next party, let alone put them in your own mouth?

Bottom line: It doesn’t matter if you follow the recipe to the letter or not, the result is the same. If your house burned to the ground and scorched all the trees in your yard, collard chips are like what you’d find in your driveway the next day. Just add salt.

They turn surprisingly thin and delicate so they crumble in your mouth, but they still taste like torched weeds.

I’m still looking for that elusive low-point chip snack food. But I’ve learned one thing…

Any damned idiot can get a recipe published in the paper.


12 Responses to UnFoodie Tries Collard Chips – Twice

  1. Trisha says:

    “They still taste like torched weeds.” LOL I probably shouldn’t mention that I have also juiced/drank collard greens in my ‘green drinks’ and once again, barely noticed ’em. I am from the south but never ate collards, assuming they’d be gross. I recently tried some stir fried at a green market near my apt here, and yep, they were. Just too tough for me.

    I saw Dr Oz yesterday reco’d drinking beet juice. Now THAT is vile tasting. Even mixed with fruits and other tasty things, it’s bareable at best.

    Karen, just get yourself a nutribullet and start juicing – you’ll feel great, your colon will get nice and cleaned out and depending on what else you eat you will lose weight. Way less trouble than trying to cook up the stuff, which kills off some of the nutrients anyway. I am the pickiest eater on earth, remember? So if I don’t dislike green drinks, you should love em. haha

  2. catsworking says:

    That collard chip recipe was so off the mark, it wasn’t funny. It says to use a “bunch” of the leaves. I only used 2 and had to bake them in two batches. Both came out disgusting. The only way collards are going to come out “slightly browned and crisp” is to batter and deep-fry them.

    So now I’ve got this pile of collards taking up almost a whole shelf in the fridge. What to do, what to do?

    I’m not crazy about cooked spinach because it turns slimy, and I bet the collards would be the same, but also tough and stringy.

    The first time I bought them, the young male cashier at Food Lion asked me, “You’re just getting one bunch?” I’m guessing his mother prepares a “mess of collards” when she cooks them.

    Adele (the cat) was quite intrigued when I brought them home and left the bag on the living room floor. She’s known to filch greenery. She sniffed them a lot, but never took a chomp. That should have told me something right there.

    I’ve never liked beets. When I was 5 or 6, I had surgery on my lazy eye and they had my eyes bandaged for a few days in the hospital (now it’s probably outpatient surgery). I remember the nurse telling me beets were cherry Jell-O to get me to eat them. YUCK! What a shock. I’ve hated them ever since.

  3. Bacardi1 says:

    Try Kale Chips – there are dozens of excellent recipes for them out there but the gist of all them pretty much is: Oven at 350 degrees. NO “cooking spray” – extra-virgin olive oil only, & thoroughly applied (I can tell from your pics that most of your Collard pieces have no oil on them). Sea salt + any other seasongs you wish (lightly applied). Lined baking sheet & Kale pieces in a SINGLE LAYER (your pieces are seriously overlapping). WATCH them constantly while they’re baking. They should remain green – NO browning. Collards aren’t my favorite, so I’ve never made chips from them, but I can tell from your pics that you overbaked them, thus giving you that “scorched weed” taste. These are something that require constant attention while they’re in the oven.

    As far as cooking Collards – that’s the only way I even remotely enjoy them. I de-rib them, roughly chop, & braise in some chicken broth along with a smoked turkey wing or drumstick until the greens are tender to my preference. Serve with a dash of vinegar & crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce to taste. I’ve also cooked them with Pimiento Cheese (via a recipe from the “Chowhound” website) that was quite good. Just do a websearch on Collard recipes, & you’ll get plenty of inspiration. If nothing else, they’re quite nutritious & good for you.

  4. catsworking says:

    Bacardi, no argument that I don’t have the touch for cooking collards. Before I bought them the second time, I looked at kale because you suggested it, and decided against it because its frilliness looked like a disaster waiting to happen (was I looking at the right stuff?). I figured those little ruffles would burn worse than the collards.

    I plead guilty to slightly overloading the tray, but this batch overlapped a lot less than the first one you never saw. Either way, they came out exactly the same.

    I guess the pics didn’t show that they WERE all moistened with cooking spray. What happens with that is they go flat and mushy and you have to scrape them off the sheet unless you leave them baking the entire 8-9 minutes. I did watch them, and they never hit a point of “golden” brown. It’s green and soggy to dry and burnt. No middle ground. The recipe said they should be brown when done.

    Using olive oil was an option in the recipe, but I thought I’d have to use too much to get it to coat, which would have resulted in mush. It was a real Catch-22.

    Suffice it to say, I will never be making “chips” out of any greens again. Pass the Baked Lay’s!

  5. Bacardi1 says:

    The “ruffles” in curly-type Kale (there are flat-leaved varieties as well) actually work quite well, as the ruffles help to keep the leaf pieces from cooking flat to the pan – raises each piece up a bit.

    But whatever – greens chips aren’t for everyone. My fave at the moment are commercial “Seasoned Roasted Seaweed” that we buy in bulk from Costco. Addictive & absolutely DELICOUS.

  6. catsworking says:

    That’s a good point. The ruffles would help to elevate the kale. But making my own green snacks is off my radar now.

    I think I’ve seen the Seaweed in Costco. One day I did a points calculation on all those supposedly “healthy” snack foods in Costco (though I can’t claim I included the seaweed) and found that the points were no better than Goldfish or baked potato chips. That’s not to say they aren’t more nutritious, but considering whatever junk they have to put in them to make them palatable, it’s probably debatable. But not with you, Bacardi. I know I would lose any debate on cooking technique or nutrition with you, so let’s not go there. I declare you the winner by default. 😉

    I need to make a Costco run, so maybe I’ll try the seaweed.

  7. Bacardi1 says:

    Lol – you’re too cute!! I love to cook – & cook healthy. Have for decades.

    That said, since Costco only sells their “Seasoned Roasted Seaweed” in packs of a dozen or so, am not sure it would be worth your while to try it that way unless you have friends/family willing to take them off your hands should you hate them. Better to see if something similar is available locally (perhaps an Asian market?) in single packs. While they do have a decent sodium count, they ARE nutritious as far as iodine & minerals go. Plus uber-low in calories. I snack on the darn things all day. If you’ve ever had maki-style sushi, they’re like the seaweed wrapping, only toasted & seasoned.

  8. catsworking says:

    Hmmm… good point. I’d hate to end up with a mess of them if I hate them. Have had that problem with edamame.

    What’s all the hype about that being so delicious anyway? The first bag I bought had wasabi seasoning that totally blew out my sinuses. So then I tried another bag that was just lightly salted. OK, but a little like eating bugs.

    Bacardi, if you tell me you think dried edamame is delish, then I will know that seaweed is probably not my thing. But I’m willing to try it. Good idea about the Asian market. I’ve been thinking of checking one out in my never-ending quest for interesting noodles. Damn you, Bourdain!!

  9. Bacardi1 says:

    Lol!!! Re: edamame – have never had them dried, & am not a fan of them as a snack, although have enjoyed them cooked as a salad bar addition, in the same way other beans (kidney, garbanzo, etc.) are offerred.

  10. Nancy says:

    I’m a little late to this party, but here goes: I use a Nesco American Harvest food dehydator, not the oven. 350 degrees in an oven equals burnt and wasted food. I used the recipe posted below as a guide. I used a sweet, wonderful rose vinegar, avocado oil, and tossed in a little of this combo for more flavor: (pulverized with a morter and pestle) > onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and sesame seeds< I set the dehydrator at 155, and forgot about it for an hr and a half. I unstuck and rearanged the chips, and dehydrated them for an hour more at 115. They were perfectly done, crispy, a little sweet, and a bit tangy. They're oh so tasty and flavorful, and with out a bit of burnt or bitterness. My advice? Get a decent food dehydrator, and watch miracles happen.

  11. Nancy says:

    I forgot to add the link to the recipe for the above comment. Sorry. Here it is:

  12. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Nancy! Since I wrote this post, I haven’t touched another leaf of kale. I can’t believe you could leave the stuff in a dehydrator for over 2 hours and not have it come out ashes.

    I’ve never thought of owning a food dehydrator, but now you’ve got my wheels turning… And thanks for the recipe. Maybe the UnFoodie will strike again!

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