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"?

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Rachel Sanders
Rachel Sanders January 27, 2012

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.

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Cristina Sciarra
Cristina Sciarra January 27, 2012

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.com/information/6/markets.asp#produce. 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"?

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Kristen @thekaleproject

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

http://thekaleproject.com/

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BoulderGalinTokyo

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?

Reiney
Reiney May 8, 2012

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.

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BoulderGalinTokyo

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

petitbleu
petitbleu May 8, 2012

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.

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pierino
pierino May 8, 2012

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.

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bigpan
bigpan May 8, 2012

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.)

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Kristen @thekaleproject

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!

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