Original story by Christine Gallary, updated by Colleen Rush
If you haven’t had a veggie chip epiphany yet, it’s tough to describe the curious mix of gluttonous joy and health-food smugness one feels as one power-eats a sheet pan of hot, crackly kale or crispy carrot chips. It goes something like: “sweet Lord, I can’t stop eating these” and “I’ll never jaw my way through a kale salad again!” and “I’m getting vitamins and fiber–WOOO!”
All because you realized that slicing veggies super-thin, slicking ’em with oil, seasoning, and roasting makes an unbelievably delicious vegetable 2.0, with all of the satisfying appeal of crunchy potato chips, minus the grease and gluten.
Think of these recipes as your gateway to crispy-fying almost any vegetable or fruit. Once you get the hang of it (and, really, it’s as easy as it gets), you’ll never look at turnips or rutabagas or apples the same way again. Also, if you’ve been looking for an excuse to splurge on a mandolin or dehydrator – tools that facilitate a faster or healthier batch of veggie chips – we’re giving you the best rationale ever.
Baked Kale Chips
Oh, kale. You’ve had your moment and the fooderati schadenfreude is peaking (read Dear Kale for the best farewell ever), but we will always and forever love you when you’re kissed with oil and crisped in an oven. No matter what the cool kids say. Get our Kale Chips recipe.
For anyone who recoils at the baby food texture and watery sweetness of steamed carrots, the earthy, subtle sweet and crunch of carrot chips will make you love Bugs’ favorite snack all over again. Get our Carrot Chips recipe.
You’ll want to take some before/after selfies with these chips. The funky woody potato exterior belies a purple-flecked flesh that makes these chips an ideal delivery platform for a punchy ceviche or a dip or spread that needs a pretty surface. Get our Taro Chips recipe.
Sweet Potato Crisps
If you love barbecue-flavored potato chips, these crisps deliver the goods–smoky, tangy, salty crunch–minus the nuclear flavoring agents. Get our Sweet Potato Crisps recipe.
Sweet Potato Chips
If you make veggie chips often, think of this as template recipe for any root veggie type of produce. The splash of vinegar is key. The acid prevents vegetables from turning mushy or soft while cooking, so you’re guaranteed a truly crispy chip. Get our Sweet Potato Chips recipe.
Oh, hey there, coconut milk. Didn’t expect to see you here. Thin slivers of garlic are soaked in coconut milk before frying, and we’re not sure why, but the results are so outstanding, the recipe should probably come with a three cloves per “snack” limit. Because you (if “you” are…me) can eat all of these in one sitting, easy, and you will reek for days. Get our Garlic Chips recipe.
Let’s get one thing straight: you can skip the Cauliflower Parsnip Soup portion of this recipe and face directly into the beet chips Animal-style, but the soup is mighty good, too. And remember that parsnips make a fine, crispy “chip,” too. Use a veggie peeler to cut long, thin strips of, and oil, season, and bake the parsnip strips just like you would the Carrot Chips. Get our Cauliflower Parsnip Soup with Beet Crisps recipe (or just the beet crisps).
Truth is, a crackly, seasoned veggie chip straight out of the oven is perfection on its own, but there’s also something irresistible about dunking it in a dip or schmearing it with a spread. For a veggie chip, we love the contrasting texture and flavor of these:
Basic Ranch Dressing
You wouldn’t be here perusing food porn on Chow if you were the kind of person who settles for bottled ranch dressing and the list of mysterious ingredients that go in it. This one’s for you. Highly recommended for root vegetable chips, like Carrot Chips or Taro Chips. Get our Basic Ranch Dressing recipe.
White Bean and Edamame Hummus
This riff on hummus swaps chickpeas and tahini for a combination of legumes and sesame oil. It’s a heavy spread that requires a hefty chip to hold it, like a fresh Taro Chip. Get our White Bean and Edamame Hummus recipe.
Jalapeño Cilantro Yogurt Spread
You can use this punchy spread on sandwiches or as a sauce on roasted veggies, but the creamy, spicy yogurt-based dip is also a perfect foil for sweet and earthy sweet potato chips. Get our Jalapeño Cilantro Yogurt Spread recipe.
Caramelized Onion Dip
Sorry, Lipton Onion Soup mix French onion dip. You were a vital nutrient in college and the crowd favorite of our early 20s game-day throw-downs, but we’ve got 401Ks and health insurance now (seriously, we’re eating veggie chips), and our chips deserve better. Get our Caramelized Onion Dip recipe.
Roasted Red Pepper Feta Dip
There are few things that wouldn’t taste just a little bit better dipped in this combination (grilled chicken, French fries, falafel, roasted cauliflower). Get our Roasted Red Pepper Feta Dip recipe.
Dill, whether dried or fresh, has a bright, light flavor that pairs well with earthy, roasted beets and carrots. This dip packs a little bit of both (dried and fresh) to maximize that intense and herbal flavor. Get our Dill Dip recipe.
Colleen Rush is a food and travel writer who eats, drinks, cooks, and writes mostly in New Orleans, but also … everywhere else. She is the author of “The Mere Mortal’s Guide to Fine Dining” (Broadway Books, 2006), and coauthor of “Low & Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in 5 Easy Lessons” (Running Press, 2009) and the upcoming “Low & Slow 2: The Art of Barbecue, Smoke Roasting, and Basic Curing” (Running Press, 2015). Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.