I know most of you are into eating better (that's why you're here on Mondays, right :) and what could be better for you than minimally processed raw foods? Better yet, what if those foods were chips? Vegan, raw, locally sourced, sustainable chips?
Yes Way! (OK, my 4th grade self got in the way there, but I am so stoked about these things!)
You all know by now that here at Chez QT we eat as much home-grown or locally sourced vegetables as possible. And we hunt and fish for our meat. We are not vegetarian, vegan or raw (though I do enjoy me some sushi) by any menas, but I would describe our eating philosophy as "whole foods" and sustainable. Of paramount imnportance to our family is knowing where our food comes from.
We eat very little processed food, and one thing we cannot do ourselves is make a good tasting, healthy snack chip (though I have a pretzel recipe I'm dying to try). The option for us is to eat crappy Frito-Lay products and feel really yucky afterwards or go without. And homemade granola bars only go so far (that's an upcoming Monday post.)
So I was delighted to learn from a friend about Brad's Raw Chips, a start-up operation just a few miles away from home base here at the PIT. And they were gracious enough to send me a sample of their products to review. (Obligatory disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for this review- except for some delicious free snacks, LOL- and my opinion is strictly my own!)
Brad's Raw Chips are the product of one man's (that would be "Brad's") quest to develop a truly raw chip to fit into his raw diet. All the products are vegan, gluten free and truly raw- dehydrated to become crunchy, not fried or baked. And while you and I may not be on a raw diet, we can still enjoy the benefits of eating healthy with this tasty chip.
I sampled two different types of snacks- two kinds of dried leafy kale, and two kinds of more traditional "chips".
The dried leafy kale came with vegan raw cheese (which is made from a blend of spices, raw nuts and nutritional yeast) in the "Naked" form, and added garlic in the "Vampire Killer" variety.
It is melt-in-your-mouth tasty, with a very light nutty crunch, lighter than popcorn. The "cheese" is very good- I don't know how they do it, but it really does taste like cheese! Before I knew it, I had eaten half the carton.
It's important to note that while the product is much healthier than your average potato chip, there is a large proportion of cashews in the "cheese" and it does add up in calories eventually. But the nuts do add a lot of protein (6 grams per serving!) to the snack, and that is definitely a good thing. They are also incredibly high in vitamins A and C- over 100% per serving.
And best of all, it looks like leafy, green kale- no mystery about what it is!
As you can see in the package above, since the kale is so delicate it tends to disintegrate a bit. If you're creative like me, this can be a plus. I mixed the remaining kale bits into some plain yogurt (sour cream would also work) for a great-tasting dip. They would also be great stirred into mashed potatoes (not raw, I know...) or as a topping for steamed broccoli or cauliflower. In fact, maybe Brad's could market them this way, like a Hidden Valley Ranch-type dip packet.
The other products were more traditional "chips" made from whole vegetables and seeds with a dash of olive oil and salt. Again, they are dehydrated, not baked, so all the ingrediants are still totally "raw". I tried the Red Bell Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato varieties. They had the texture of Sun Chips, but all the flavor of the vegetables they are made from. The Red Bell Pepper was my favorite- it had the sweetness of a ripe bell pepper with a bit of nutty crunch from the flax seeds you can see ground into the chip.
The tomato variety really reminded me of sun-dried tomatoes, but in a crunchy chip. I could totally see myself serving this at a party with some homemade salsa or guacamole, or with a yogurt dip made with the kale bits!
The texture is light and crunchy and not at all greasy, heavy or salty.
One of the best aspects of the company, and one that we here at the PIT share, is that Brad's Raw Chips supports local farmers by buying their produce nearby when in season. And all the waste product is composted and returned to the fields, just like it is here at Chez QT.
Brad's Raw Chips are available mostly on the East Coast, in Wegmans and Whole Foods markets. But you can buy them online at http://www.bradsrawchips.com/collections/all . And if you follow them on facebook, and subscribe to their newsletter, you are entered their giveaway to win three free bags: http://www.facebook.com/?tid=1425698061342&sk=messages#!/bradsrawchips?sk=app_7146470109
Hey Mikey, you'll like them!