It's okay to admit it, oily, salty, crispy-crunchy chips, (or crisps if you hale from across the pond) are delicious and addicting. But as with many indulgent pleasures, there are downsides — such as the trans fat and saturated fats used in commercial frying and the potentially carcinogenic chemical acrylamide, which forms most abundantly in starchy chips that are fried at the high temperatures employed in food factories.
Happily, there is another way you can achieve snacking nirvana — a way that produces chips with less fat and more flavor, variety and nutrition than the food factory fried versions. Follow these tips and recipes for perfect oven-baked potato chips and colorful, fantastically flavorful root vegetable chips of all kinds including sweet potatoes, beets, carrots and parsnips.
Tips for baking root vegetable chips
- Using a mandolin slicer is recommended, as it allows the chips to cook evenly and ensures they all cook at the same rate. If you do not have a mandolin slicer, you can carefully slice the roots using a sharp knife.
- Make sure the vegetables aren't covered with excess water before adding oil and placing them in the oven.
- Evenly space chips, without allowing them to touch or overlap, on large non-stick baking sheets, or on baking sheet/wire rack combos.
- Avoid baking two sheets of chips at a time, as it will affect the internal temperature and moisture of the oven. For best results, bake in batches one sheet of chips at a time.
- Check on the chips periodically and remove the chips that cook faster than the others.
- Keep your oven light on while baking root chips and check on them periodically, because they go from the perfect crisp to burnt in short order.
- Chips are best when served fresh out of the oven. They can become soft and chewy if there is humidity present and when they are stored in plastic. If you end up with leftover chips, store them with a paper towel inside of a zipper top bag. Before eating them, heat them on a baking sheet for 2 minutes in an oven that is pre-heated to 375 degrees – this will help them crisp back up.
The best thing about these potato chips is that they actually taste like potatoes, not merely oil and salt. Move beyond white starchy potatoes and use sweet potatoes, yams, and colorful heirloom varieties.
Beets aren't everyone's favorite. Turn that notion around and wake up picky palates with a crispy, baked (and just as nutritious) version of this colorful root vegetable.
The subtle sweetness of parsnips and carrots is intensified in the baking process of these chips, making them an addition that adds interest to your snack bowl.