Welcome to Episode #46 of the Raw Food Podcast. I am your host, Laura-Jane The Rawtarian, and in today’s episode we’re talking all about healthy chips and salty snacks, which is something that is fun to talk about and even more fun to eat! So the essence of this episode is really that we’re just talking about some different dehydrated salty snacks that you can make at home. I do start out at the beginning with a little story about how I know it’s annoying to dehydrate, but, for salty snacks, it’s kind of the best thing to do - from a raw food perspective anyway. And then throughout this episode I’m just sharing some different tips to help you think about your salty snack cravings in a different way and some little stories from my life as well when it comes to salty snacks. So stay tuned and I will be back with you shortly.
Thank you for joining me on another episode of the Raw Food Podcast. I hope you enjoyed our previous episode where I dug into the psychology of snacking. If you haven’t listened to that, I definitely suggest it. There are some really fascinating things that our brain is doing every single day to help us make decisions about what we eat, and so when we can make some environmental changes - like the size of our bowl, how much we serve, and all that stuff - it really helps take some of the load off of our brain. So definitely check out episode 45 if you haven’t listened to that yet, but today what I thought I would go over is just talk a little bit about the raw food lifestyle and some of the salty, savory snacks that we can enjoy to really help you have delicious raw snacks that are salty and just totally doing it for you in terms of your salty craving, and that are not too complicated.
I thought I would preface this by first saying that you’ve probably heard me talk a lot about dehydrating and I personally feel that there’s no need to dehydrate sweets. There are so many beautiful sweet recipes that don’t need to be dehydrated. You can make freezer cakes and cookies, and there’s so much stuff. You can dehydrate, but dehydrating takes a long time - you have to wait for 24 hours sometimes - so don’t bother with the dehydrating with sweets, unless you really have some weird reason why you want to for a special occasion. But when it comes to savory foods, I really have to say that when my dehydrator is going, you can guarantee that it’s something savory in there because in a raw food lifestyle, we make a lot of sauces and soups in our blenders; we make a lot of brownies and pates in our food processor; and the dehydrator is really used for crispy, flaky, drier items, like a veggie burger or that kind of thing. There’s really no other way to get that texture. So, you know me, I love my simple quick and dirty recipes, so some of the suggested recipes - a lot of them actually for salty snacks - are dehydrated, but I do recommend that when you make some, let’s just get that dehydrator completely full of salty snacks and make a whole bunch, so that you can do it once and enjoy them over the long term. So I guess this is my caveat at the beginning to say, “I know it’s annoying to dehydrate, but here are some delicious options in addition to your basic, boring, savory snacks like baby carrots and chopped celery - which, okay, they’re kind of useful, and I was talking about them in the previous episode - but come on, that’s not very exciting when you snuggle down to watch a movie and everyone else in your house is eating popcorn with butter, and you want something that you can get excited about too.” So that’s what we’re going to be talking about today. Really I’m going to be talking about the dehydrated, salty items in two categories: I’m going to talk about chips in one category and then “other” is the other category.
So let’s just talk a little bit about chips - making raw vegan chips. So, of course, just drive out to Whole Foods and get some delicious raw kale chips. You know, Brad’s Raw and all that stuff. But, come on, people, these boxes or little bags of raw chips are like $10 and they are delicious, but that is a lot of money, so, hopefully, you can just make these at home. Hands down, kale chips - for me - have the most bang for the… I usually would say “buck,” but, in this case, bang for your inputs. On therawtarian.com, I have recipes for yam chips and zucchini chips. They are good; I like them; but I am not addicted to them. They’re not completely doing it for me. So we do have yam and zucchini chips that are good, and the idea with those, generally, tends to be to just slice it very thinly, dehydrate it, and season it afterward, because some of these things if you put too much oil before you dehydrate, they will never ever get crispy. So you’ve got the yam and the zucchini chips. Then we have kale chips, which I have a lot of recipes for, and there’s many out there. Now what is it that people like about kale chips? Why are they so much more popular? I think they do get completely flaky and crispy, which people love - people including me. They also absorb flavor really well. So what you tend to do with kale chips is you kind of make almost like a kale salad, with a dressing on it - but you want to use a good dressing that’s going to taste good afterward, once they’re dehydrated. The idea is you’re making this wilted kale salad, so you’re going to massage a bunch of oil and flavoring, like onion powder or nutritional yeast - whatever you like to flavor your kale chips with - and then you’re going to dehydrate that. So somehow kale chips are really just - in terms of effort and the end result - I’m going to say that they are awesome. And they’re actually very easy to do at home if you have a dehydrator, and very satisfying. So I would suggest, if you’re into chips, go with the kale chips first over zucchini chips, yam chips, et cetera. I also have a corn chip recipe, but I have to say, in terms of my recipes, that one is almost more like a corn cracker, and it’s good - especially good salsa and that kind of thing - but it’s not really a chip. Come on. It’s not a corn chip. It’s not the same, but it is good. So those would be some of the chip ideas.
DEHYDRATOR VS. OVEN
Now of course you’re going to ask me, “Well I don’t have a dehydrator. Can I do these in the oven?” And generally, my answer’s always like, “No! Go away! Don’t do it in your oven.” I usually say this because back in the early days when I was experimenting with raw I tried to do a few things in the oven, and it’s just not the same as a dehydrator. I have an article that goes into all the reasons why they’re actually different. It’s not a moral thing; it’s just they don’t turn out the same. So if you’re not 100% raw - which is totally cool - don’t try to modify a dehydrated recipe. If you want to make kale chips, just go to the internet and use a recipe that requires an oven because then you're going to be able to actually follow the instructions a lot better that way. You know me - I don’t love the idea of substituting things that way. I get funny comments - and I love them, and I answer them - but people will be like, “I don’t have tomatoes or onions or kale, but can I use like carrots and squash instead?” Because once you start to substitute too many things, the original integrity of the recipe gets lost, and then it just doesn’t taste the same. So really, again, going back to the caveat, I know a lot of these required a dehydrator, but they are worth it - particularly the kale chips.
“OTHER” SALTY SNACKS
Now, moving on to the “other” category: I think some of these recipes are actually in my members-only area, called The Rawtarian’s Kitchen, but you can probably find lots of different recipes out there. In my “other” category, some of my really favorite delicious salty snacks would be onion rings. They are so good. I just actually made them and rephotographed them lately, and they’re so delicious. Basically you’re taking a sweet onion (you can get these at the grocery store; usually they’re called “sweet onions” - where I shop in Canada anyway. They’re a lot different than just the white onions. Sweet onions have a more subtle flavor and of course a sweeter flavor and a less, like, “Whoa! Onion!” flavor. If you’re going to make onion rings, you do want to try to get an onion that has a milder flavor, and a sweet onion works really well for this). Basically you’re just slicing up onions rings and breading it in this nice mixture - oh my gosh, what’s in it? I just made it lately. I think it’s nutritional yeast and flaxseed. Just ask me for it if it’s not available for free. I’ll give it to you! But basically those onion rings are super good.
Now one thing we should talk about - this is a bit of a sidetrack - is storage. So, onion rings are awesome right out of the dehydrator. I think if you’re not going to eat them all right away, they’re not going to store that well. You’re really going to want to dehydrate them a bit again, because some things have a tendency to absorb moisture again - and you’ll find this with your chips as well. They might be super crispy when you get them out of the dehydrator, but then if you let them sit in a tupperware container for twenty-four hours, they’re going to not be as crispy. Sometimes I do suggest just store them in the fridge - if they’re done and you didn’t eat them all, store them in the fridge - and they’re going to get a little bit more moist again, and then just get ready to almost think of it as a microwave in a way. Use your dehydrator to re-dehydrate them a little bit again, just to get rid of that excess moisture and to get them a bit crispy again. So that is a little bit about onion rings. But particularly onion rings don’t keep that well, so you might want to start with a smaller batch. I love those onion rings.
MORE SALTY SNACKS
Let me think for a sec. I also have a nice corn nuts recipe, and it’s kind of similar to the onion rings - the recipe is, anyway. It’s that same nice kind of breaded - salty, breaded, yummy shake ’n bake kind of recipe that I created, so that is a really nice idea too - corn nuts.
Of course very popular is the idea of cauliflower popcorn. This is for people who don’t even really love cauliflower, because especially if you dehydrate it, it’s still a little bit cauliflower-y, but it’s more about the seasonings than it is about the cauliflower. So basically with the cauliflower popcorn, you are simply making small florets out of the cauliflower - you just want little popcorn-sized pieces of cauliflower florets - and discarding the stalk. Then you’re going to put that all in a big ziplock bag and combine it together with really nice seasonings - again, probably some salt, I think a little bit of olive oil, maybe some dill. I have recipes for these. You’re coating them in some delicious savory seasoning and then you’re going to dehydrate that as well. So that turns into these little kernels. Now they’re not going to get super crispy, because cauliflower actually isn’t that moist, so it’s not going to be super-duper crispy. (If you want super crispy, try the kale chips.) But that is a really nice option as well, and, even if you don’t have a dehydrator, cauliflower popcorn is a nice thing to try as a savory snack. It’s better dehydrated, but you don’t have to, whereas a kale chip - you must dehydrate it; otherwise it’s a salad. It’s a wet salad.
I also have kind of a weird recipe - either you love it or you hate it. It’s based on seaweed, and basically you make little seaweed sandwiches with a weird savory filling in the middle and dehydrate those and they become weird little crunchy addictive things. So those are my seaweed crunchies, and that’s some of my favorite salty snacks that are dehydrated.
Of course we could talk about having salty snacks that are just not dehydrated. Generally, I love to just use fruits and vegetables in their pure form as snacks. Now they’re not - okay, it’s not the same as a chip - but I do love cherry tomatoes or baby carrots. Kind of boring, but it works, just to have something to nibble on. That also works too. I’m hesitant to suggest that you snack on mixed nuts because that can be dangerous in terms of getting way too much heavy sort of fat into your body, especially with no major payoff because snacking is a lot about, “Oh, I’m watching T.V., and I’m just going to snack on this thing.” It’s kind of like you don’t want to be eating fifty almonds. But it’s okay to eat fifty… maybe fifty cherry tomatoes is a lot. I’m hesitant to suggest that you make a real trail mix kind of thing that’s too nutty just to snack on, so I’m going to steer you away from that. If you’re going to do that, try to opt for some sort of non-nutty thing instead.
So those are some of my favorite salty snacks. I definitely suggest - although I rambled a little bit, probably, in episode 45, I think there were some good tidbits there about snacking and why we snack and what are some things you can help do to control your snacking. I think the gist of it, though, is to get into some routines. If you’re like me, you’re doing a lot of things repetitively. You might be sitting at your desk. Think about it: when and where are you snacking? Maybe you’re a person that drives a lot for work, or you’re commuting and you’re snacking in your car, or you’re snacking in front of the T. V. So where are you snacking? What are you usually snacking on? You kind of have to help yourself by looking at, “Okay, where are my weak points?” Maybe I’m at work and I’m too rushed in the morning and I don’t bring my lunch and I’m at my desk and I’m hungry - or maybe I’m not hungry but I want a snack, and I usually whatever - go to the vending machine and get a bag of chips. Well, let’s think, in advance, about your weak points - we all have them - and think, “Well, what can I do to set myself up for success next time?” And usually that all comes back to a lot of preparation. I know you’re busy and dehydrating all these things may not be a realistic solution for you. Maybe you need to do the less sexy thing and, I don’t know, have some boxes of raisins in your desk. That’s not even a salty snack, but sometimes there is an issue where maybe you don’t even care what you’re snacking on, you’re just kind of bored and you want to help your brain focus and you want to snack and get your TPS reports done at work. I think it does all, again, come back to preparation, and these salty snacks - the dehydrated ones - I would say out of everything I talked about, hands down, I think my favorite is just kale chips that I make myself. And I love to use dill on them, but of course I follow my own recipes, so I suggest that you look for a recipe and try out the kale chips if you haven’t ever made any salty snacks. Nutritional yeast tends to be called for in a lot of them, and that’s just because it does lend a really cheesy flavor, which is really nice to have on your chips. That’s basically it.
One other tidbit I might share with you, which you might find interesting: in my research for my previous episode about the psychology of snacking, I read about gender and snacking that guys tend to lean more toward the salty snacks and women tend to want more sweet snacks on average. Now normally I’m not huge on making, you know, big bold statements about men versus women, but I do know that in my house, I’m a sweet person all the way, and I don’t tend to need salty snacks, but I always need sweets, which I find really easy to fulfill with fruits or easy to make raw desserts like my brownies or whatever else - granola bars that I make, stuff like that. For me, I don’t tend to have too many salty cravings, but my husband is a salt craving man, and he loves the salty things, and he doesn’t ever really need sweets at all, which I find to be crazy. That’s just a little tidbit.
As always, thank you so much for joining me. If you have any ideas for future podcast episodes, I would love to hear them. It’s hard for me to believe, actually, that this is episode 46! It kind of feels like I’ve done maybe fifteen, but every time I actually come in to record one, I feel like it’s a little bumpy at the beginning. I feel like, “Oh this is weird talking to myself.” But by the end of it, I think, “Oh! This is not so bad. I should just keep talking to myself all day.” So I will leave it there. If you’re having a salty snack craving right now, what can I do for you? Try the kale chips, and, if all else fails, remember - if you’re having a salty craving, usually it’s probably more like because you’re bored and you just need something, so just try to put a bowl of something boring and healthy in front of you instead, like raisins or grapes or some sort of fresh berry or frozen grapes - something in front of you. And see if that does that trick because a lot of snacking is just about shoving something into your face and it doesn’t actually matter what it is. So that is my handy tip for you. Signing off. Enjoy your raw adventure. Love you. Bye.
You have been listening to the Raw Food Podcast with your host, The Rawtarian. Be sure to visit me at therawtarian.com where you can browse over one hundred of my absolute favorite simple, satisfying raw vegan recipes that you’ll find pretty quick to make and with just a few ingredients and that taste amazing. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for my newsletter, and once you’ve signed up for that, you’ll automatically get a PDF copy of eleven of my most favorite, most satisfying, most delicious recipes including Raw Vegan Alfredo Sauce, Raw Brownies, and a whole host of other delicious recipes that you can make at home that are raw and taste amazing. Thank you so much for joining me, and I hope to hear from you very soon. Until next time, enjoy your raw adventure.
This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with like-minded, qualified health care professional(s). I wish you success on your raw journey!