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Kale Substitute?

Hi, I am currently living in France and I can't seem to find kale anywhere! Is there anything that I can use as a "subsititute"?

asked by CassandraKashmir about 4 years ago
10 answers 12043 views
added about 4 years ago

How will you be using it in a dish? Sometimes you can find heirloom varieties of spinach that have slightly curly leaves and a more robust texture and assertive flavor than their smooth counterparts; they also hold up well to quick cooking. I remember seeing some in Germany when I lived in Freiburg, which is close to France, so maybe you'll have better luck pinning that down than kale.

added about 4 years ago

I lived in France for a year, and always had great luck with produce at local markets. In big cities, there are also groceries selling only fruits and vegetables. If you are in Paris, this is a great resource: http://paris.angloinfo.... Even if you are living in a small town, green markets are abundant in France. (I'm sure you know all this!) I guess it depends on the recipe, but why not ask your local producer for "chou frisé, ou quelque chose similaire"?

added almost 4 years ago

Hello! I like you wish I could find kale in Paris. Unfortunately chou frisé, while it is a pretty good translation leads to savoy cabbage. But there is a group of people in Paris that really miss and want to have kale! That is why I've launched The Kale Project - a journey to bring kale to Paris. Please join in our journey from farm to market to fork. Best, Kristen @thekaleproject


added almost 4 years ago

I will be keeping an eye on your project. This is the first year I actually found starter plants for Tuscan kale and a couple others (I'M awful with seeds, no success)

If it works Tokyo next?


Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 4 years ago

If you're in the south - what about cavolo nero (Tuscan kale)?

Chard, collard greens, spinach, dandelion greens or beet greens could all work as subs. Depending on your recipe, possibly rapini, though it will be considerably more bitter and have more stalks instead of leafiness, or even cabbage.

added almost 4 years ago

Yes SarahR- good substitutes. Add daikon tops to that list as well.

added almost 4 years ago

Anything leafy, green, and a little too tough to just eat raw will work. Sarah Reinertsen's comment is spot-on. I also use turnip greens or even kohlrabi greens.


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 4 years ago

I'm surprised kale is not easily available in France as "cavalo nero" is plentiful in Italy. I would say collards could be a substitute but I don't recall ever seeing them over there.

added almost 4 years ago

Swiss chard. (sautee in olive oil and a couple garlic cloves. remove the cloves before serving. sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper before service.)

added almost 4 years ago

I know there are some people that have found cavalo nero in Italy (i did!) and in parts of southern france - it's just very sporadic. And in Paris pretty much impossible. I also am horrible with plants, but I know there is a small demand for this! So why not??
@pierino - yes, collards like kale are not grown here. they do everything in cabbage form versus just leaves.
@bigpan - they do have green chard (rainbow is another story...) but it's a different taste than kale.
@petitbleu - i've started using mustard greens as substitute, which are great... but again harder to find in Paris (but I have found them!)
@BoulderGalinTokyo - I saw kale in Tokyo!! very small baby kale when i was there in jan, but at a market... i'm sure it's similar to France where you might see it here and there (although not Paris!) but not at the point where you KNOW where to find it... I love Tokyo, perhaps it might be next for The Kale Project!