Jan. 15, 2013 at 4:17 PM ET
Anyone can make their own healthy vegetable chips.
Whether you're providing your kids with snacks or munching on a bowl of chips yourself, there's an alternative to those packaged, processed potato chips at the supermarket. All you need to make your own healthy vegetable chips at home are potatoes, salt and oil—ingredients that everyone has access to. If you want to make them even healthier, experiment with a variety of vegetables. Chips don't have to be made from white potatoes—try sweet potatoes, carrots, beets and even leafy greens like kale, which crisp up to melt-in-your mouth nutty deliciousness in the oven.
Making your own vegetable chips is easier than you think, and best of all, you have complete control over the ingredients. For sturdy vegetables like potatoes and beets, we highly recommend investing in a mandoline, which will quickly and uniformly slice your veggies to various thicknesses. A basic mandoline costs around $15 and can become an invaluable tool in the kitchen—it slices to various sizes, and juliennes and waffle cuts so many fruits and vegetables. However, if your knife skills are steady and reliable, the chips can be made without a mandoline. If you're making kale chips, the prep work is even simpler—just remove the leaves from the tough stems and tear into bite-size pieces.
No matter what vegetable you're using, the process is essentially the same—lay slices on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and then bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through. Your homemade chips will stay fresh in an airtight container for several days, so make a large batch for plenty of guilt-free snacking.
Want to mix things up? Using the same preparation—brushing with olive oil and sprinkling whatever spice you like—you can make many variations of these delicious chips:
Parmesan and Black Pepper Potato Chips: Instead of salt, sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper on one side of the potatoes. Proceed with baking.
Seasoned Salt Potato Chips: Sprinkle with seasoning salt and proceed with baking; the seasoning salt imparts a barbecue-like flavor.
Baked Sweet Potato Chips: Substitute one medium-size peeled sweet potato. Proceed with recipe above, altering the baking time to 22 to 27 minutes.
Cinnamon Sweet Potato Chips: Substitute one medium-size peeled sweet potato. Sprinkle with cinnamon and salt for a warm and spicy flavor. Bake 22 to 27 minutes.
Baked Beet Chips: Slice two medium-size beets 1/8-inch thick, place on baking sheet and lightly brush with oil. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 40 minutes.
Baked Carrot Chips: Thinly slice two large carrots; place in bowl and toss with olive oil and salt. Lay slices on baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees F for about 30-35 minutes, checking often to make sure they don't burn.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.