If you don’t know about the health benefits of coconut oil you’ve either been living under the rock for the past 5 years – or maybe like me – you’d heard about it but never actually investigated further. I’ve jumped on the (already very full) bandwagon, and want to share with you today a quick, easy and most importantly, healthy snack that uses coconut oil.
Firstly. Why is coconut oil so great?
Coconut oil contains medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which are a “healthy” form of saturated fat. Most common vegetable or seed oils comprise long chain fatty acids (LCFAs). The things these different types of fats do to your body are endless, but as an example, LCFAs (the bad ones) are difficult for your body to break down; increase cholesterol, and are predominantly stored in your body as fat. On the other hand, MCFAs (found in coconut oil) are easily digested, putting less strain on your digestive system; are sent directly to your liver where they are immediately converted to energy rather than being stored as fat, and help to stimulate your body’s metabolism.
Another good way of using coconut oil in the kitchen is for cooking food at high heats. I’m a big fan of olive oil, which is rich in Omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acids and has also been associated with many health benefits. But did you know (I didn’t!) that when cooking at high temperatures (which olive oil is not intended for) the oil will decompose under the high heat producing smoke. Not only is this smoke toxic and shouldn’t be inhaled, but it also signifies the antioxidants we usually love in the oil are breaking down and being replaced by free radicals and other dangerous molecules. What the hell, science?! This is where coconut oil comes in; refined coconut oil is stable for medium-high heat cooking.
1 bunch kale
1 tbsp. organic coconut oil
½ tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius
- Wash and dry the kale. I use paper towel to make sure there are no big water droplets left. Remove the kale stems and cut or tear into smaller pieces
- Melt the coconut oil in the microwave (this takes about 20 seconds) and toss with the kale leaves in a big bowl, massaging it into the leaves. Depending on how much you are preparing I do this stage in batches, and while it might look like you need a lot of oil you really don’t – a little coconut oil goes a long way!
- Spread the kale leaves onto a baking tray – aim for one even layer. Again, I do this is batches because I only have one baking tray that actually fits in my tiny oven.
- Crush salt, pepper and chilli flakes with a mortar and pestle and sprinkle over the baking tray.
- Bake for about 12 minutes and then give them a toss, continue cooking until crispy (about 5 minutes).
A little coconut oil goes a long way – don’t use too much.
Use less salt then you think you need – you can always add more later.
Customize with practically any spices you can think of!