Do you ever get the craving to just crunch on something even when you’re not hungry? Or find yourself reaching for a bag of potato or tortilla chips when you’d rather munch on a healthier snack? These cravings are what drew me to seaweed snacks, particularly when I’m on a full-day road trip and just eating because I’m bored of being behind the wheel.
Although I quickly developed a love for packets of toasted, flavored, seaweed chips, I just as quickly found I hated the excessive layers of packaging used to keep them whole during transport and on store shelves. They require few ingredients and no special equipment, so I soon began making my own. Then I decided to take it a step further: Could I satisfy my crunchy craving with something from the garden instead of seaweed, which I have to buy? Kale and chard chips became easy homegrown substitutes. Now I tend to make some of each, particularly when I’m prepping for a road trip or sailing adventure, to keep a mixed bag of flavors within reach.
Ready to give seaweed snacks a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You need just 1 main ingredient plus a little oil and, if desired, spice.
1. Brush the seaweed with oil.
2. Cut the sheets into pieces.
3. Bake and enjoy.
Homemade Seaweed Snacks
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon wasabi or horseradish powder, or more to taste
Combine the oils in a small bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, lightly coat the seaweed sheets with oil. Stack the sheets, and using scissors, cut them into 9–12 pieces. Sprinkle with salt, and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 250°F for about 15 minutes, checking after 10 minutes and rotating the pan as needed, until the pieces are baked evenly and changes color slightly from black to green. As soon as you pull them from the oven, dust the chips with wasabi powder. Once cool, store at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days or freeze in a zip-close freezer bag for up to 3 months. Makes 36–48 pieces.
Tips & Tricks
- Unless you live in an area with a large Asian population, you’ll likely only be able to get your hands on toasted nori, like you would use for rolling sushi. These work fine for seaweed snacks, but you’ll get better results if you can find untoasted nori or, better yet, parae-gim. The latter is thinner, more finely textured seaweed than sturdy nori.
- I love wasabi-spiced seaweed snacks, and you’ll get the best flavor if you don’t bake the wasabi or horseradish powder. Other flavor options can be added before baking, such as minced garlic or garlic powder and ground chili or other spices. If using Pickled Ginger brine, sriracha, or Home-Smoked Chili Paste, mix the flavoring into the oils.
- Seaweed chips are best eaten within 3 days. If you’ll eat them quickly enough, double the recipe and make two trays at time, like you would for veggie chips (see below).
Twice as Tasty
I was surprised when I became hooked on homemade kale chips. It took me a long time to appreciate kale; I wasn’t a fan until I started growing my own and could harvest younger leaves than I ever found at the market. Learning to massage kale (rubbing it with some oil and salt between your fingers for a couple of minutes) made eating fresh kale a joy instead of a it’s-good-for-you chore.
I put off baking kale even longer. I rarely like commercial veggie chips, finding most flavorless and unsatisfying. But when I started experimenting with replacements for seaweed snacks, they became easy stand-ins. I tried dehydrating them first: oiled chips became simply chewy, and plain dried kale leaves just tasted like I was eating a dried herb. Oiling and baking the leaves brought out their crispness and a lightly toasted flavor.
Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You need just 1 main ingredient plus some oil and optional flavorings.
1. Tear the leaves from their ribs.
2. Toss with oil and any desired flavorings.
3. Bake and enjoy.
Roasted Kale Chips
about 8 ounces kale or other hardy vegetable leaves
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon white and/or black sesame seeds
Rinse the leaves and thoroughly blot dry with a tea towel. Tear the leaves from the ribs, and then tear them into pieces about 4 inches square; compost the ribs. Pour the oil and soy sauce into a large bowl, add the kale, and toss to coat evenly.
Spread the leaves in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets, ensuring they don’t overlap. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 350°F for 15–20 minutes, rotating the pans after 10 minutes, until the leaves are crisp but not brown. Once cool, store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks for the best flavor. Makes 50–60 pieces.
Tips & Tricks
- Many vegetables with hardy leaves can be used for these chips, including various varieties of kale and Swiss chard. Freshly harvested leaves will give the brightest color, but ones that are starting to wilt in the fridge will get a new life if you bake them into chips.
- The flavorings here are just one option for spicing up these snacks. Any of the flavors suggested for Homemade Seaweed Snacks are appropriate here, as are flavored salts, freshly ground black pepper, finely grated Parmesan, or nutritional yeast. Other oils can be swapped in as well.
- Veggie and seaweed chips have other uses besides snacks. Crumble or cut them apart to sprinkle on rice, beans, or popcorn. Torn baked leaves pieces can replace croutons on a fresh salad or just be mixed in with fresh greens for a little crunchiness.
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