Sitting on the sofa, crunching on chips or popcorn is a guilty pleasure, especially when watching a good movie or TV show.
Unfortunately, potato chips, once described as a ‘fat delivery system’ by Oprah Winfrey are generally considered to be ‘junk food.’ PopChips® are hugely popular and, while lower in calories are still a processed food.
With a small investment of money and time, you can make your own almost zero-calorie version of crunchy Popchips® at home and your homemade Popchips® will have a six month shelf-life.
That would be, of course if you can manage to keep them around more than a day or two. In addition, these tasty snacks are a nutrient and enzyme rich food because they are made with and remain a raw vegetable snack.
I can’t keep enough of these snacking crisps in the house. The recipe works with zucchini or summer squash and it also works with eggplant.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, this is might just be the motivation to get one. I have occasionally used mine to turn apple slices with cinnamon or pineapple slices into delicious dried chips, but now that we have discovered zucchini chips, the dehydrator runs almost every night while we sleep.
We love our five-tray Excalibur® but a nine-tray version is a better choice for a family of four or more and nine-tray models such as the Sedona® Raw Food Dehydrator offers the option to run just half of the machine for smaller loads.
You can use a knife to slice thin, 1/8 to 1/4 inch zucchini rounds, but with the amount that you will want to be making from now on, a mandoline slicer is a better tool.
If your mandoline does not have a hand guard, be sure to impale the last few inches of zucchini with the tines of a fork and hold the handle to run the zucchini over and over the dangerous blade.
I find that an eggplant is too cumbersome and soft to use on the mandoline, so I slice the bottom off so that it has a flat surface to rest on, and then standing it up, I slice it thinly into ¼ inch slices top to the bottom. I, then slice the stacked slices lengthwise into “bacon” shaped strips.
You can also make 5 trays of crispy kale chips from 2 bunches of kale. Cost? Three dollars a batch for about 20 dollars worth of kale chips.
Place the sliced vegetables into a bowl large enough to hold and toss them in a bit of olive oil, salt and then your favorite flavorings and spices, such as garlic, pepper, sumac, Old Bay Seasoning® or smoked paprika prior to laying them on the dehydrator sheets, in a single layer.
We like zucchini dehydrated with any of those spices, but our favorite method is to make a marinade for the zucchini and eggplant that actually tastes like bacon. You will want to let the veggies sit in the marinade about a half hour before dehydrating.
Using a small whisk or fork, combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (I buy Wright’s brand at CVS)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Place the sliced veggies in a single layer onto each dehydrator sheet lined tray.
Set the temperature to 118° and set the timer for 12 to 14 hours.
Remove the crunchy vegetables and continue to dehydrate the rest until the remaining vegetables are also crunchy.
Store in jars or plastic baggies in a cool dry place, such as the pantry for up to six months.
Sherry Brooks is a healthy, happy and trim “Frugalista” living the lean and green life near Malibu in sunny southern California. Follow Sherry on Twitter