This is a great way of helping to develop your children’s palates to accept vegetables — even beets!
Homemade vegetable chips are a delicious, healthy alternative to the store-bought version. Chips are best eaten right away, or can be crisped in the toaster oven if leftover.
“Any vegetable can be turned into a chip,” according to Jen Perry, community nutritionist for The Open Door, which runs a food pantry in Gloucester. “All you need is a sharp knife or a mandolin to thinly slice the vegetable. You then brush it with olive oil and you bake it. It’s really that simple and they are delicious.”
Perry shows how to make several types of chips in this video, starting with the zucchini. She slices it “thin and even” using a paring knife. The slices need to be even so that they will all cook evenly.
Beets, potatoes and sweet potato are different. Because these vegetables are so hard, it is difficult to get a consistently even slice using a knife, so using the mandolin is best. “The mandolin is easiest for getting thin slices that are consistent in size,” according to Perry.
She points out that you can use any type of potato, red or white, and can leave the skin on or peel it, depending on your preference. The secret to a crispy chip is to make the slices thin. “If they are too thick, they will not get crispy. They will still taste delicious, but if you are looking for a crispy chip, you want to make your slices as thin as possible.”
No matter what type of chip you are making, the preparation process is always the same. The baking process, however, is different. “The sweet potato will take about 20 to 25 minutes, and the regular potato about one half hour,” explains Perry. The zucchini process is much different, almost like a de-hydrating process. Beets can burn easily because of the high sugar content, so they are actually covered in the oven “for the first ten minutes of cooking and then uncovered so they can crisp up.”
When the chips are done, serve right after cooling. Perry wants you to remember though that the sweet potatoes and zucchini should be eaten right away because they will become soggy.
1 medium beet
1 russet potato
1 medium sweet potato
Olive oil (as needed)
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the beets:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Peel beets and slice 1/16 inch thick with a mandoline. In a large bowl, toss beets with extra virgin olive oil.
On two rimmed baking sheets (or use one sheet and bake in two batches), arrange beets in a single layer. Stack another rimmed baking sheet on top of each. Bake until edges of beets begin to dry out, about 20 minutes.
Uncover and rotate sheets. Bake 10 to 20 minutes, removing chips as they become lightened in color. Transfer to a wire rack; chips will crisp up as they cool.
For the potatoes:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in center and lower positions. Peel potatoes if desired and slice 1/16 inch thick with a mandoline. Divide sweet potatoes between two rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with oil, toss, and spread them in a single layer on sheets.
Bake, flipping once, until centers are soft and edges are crisp, 22 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with salt.
For the sweet potatoes:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray; set aside. Peel potatoes and slice 1/16 inch thick with a mandoline. Put potatoes, oil and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl; season with pepper. Toss to combine. Arrange potato slices on prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1/4 inch apart.
2. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until potatoes are crisp and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Spread out potatoes on parchment paper; let dry 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, if desired.