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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 over 5 years ago
10 answers 14864 views
3274dd01 68df 403c a7b7 dc04541caaf8  dsc 0102 2
added over 5 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.

16f72ccb 3197 434b a946 8e9e68a3715f  cristina 014 web final
added over 5 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"?

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 5 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


C1aa93d7 c7a4 4560 aa6d 6dca74cc98ca  smokin tokyo
added about 5 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?

0bc70c8a e153 4431 a735 f23fb20dda68  sarah chef

Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 5 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.

C1aa93d7 c7a4 4560 aa6d 6dca74cc98ca  smokin tokyo
added about 5 years ago

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

120fa86a 7a24 4cc0 8ee1 a8d1ab14c725  me in munich with fish
added about 5 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.

79ca7fa3 11e3 4829 beae d200649eab49  walken the walk

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

added about 5 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.

516f887e 3787 460a bf21 d20ef4195109  bigpan
added about 5 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.)

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 5 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!

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