With its hearty flavor, dense texture and amazing color, Tuscan Kale has taken the culinary world by storm.
Being immensely versatile, it can be used in a variety of different dishes from soups to salads, and even pastas.
But when Tuscan kale is not available at your favorite grocery store, you need to know what’s the best substitute for this culinary powerhouse?
Well we have some great options for you that will help make all your favorite recipes just as tasty.
Finding substitutes for Tuscan kale may seem daunting, but with a little research and knowledge of which veggies share the same qualities of richness and bold flavor you’ll be able get those same delicious flavors.
Here are five popular substitutes to try out the next time you want shock your friends with something out of the ordinary.
What is Tuscan Kale?
Tuscan kale, also known as Lacinato or Dino kale, is a cultivated variety of cabbage (Brassica oleracea) that belongs to the same family as broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
While botanically speaking it is more closely related to wild cabbage than kale, Tuscan kale acts similarly to other types of kales in recipes and can easily be used in place of other common kales such as curly kale or blue-green mountain kale.
Tuscan kale has a distinct blue-green hue and appears different from the usual curly-leafed varieties.
Its leaves have dark green stripes running down their length and are often thick with an additional layer of skin along the leaf’s ridges.
The flavor of Tuscan kale is slightly more bitter than others, but not overpoweringly so; when cooked correctly, its texture can be quite tender.
When preparing Tuscan Kale, it’s important to know that they need a longer cooking time than other types of kales – 10-15 minutes versus 5 minutes for most other varieties.
If you plan on sautéing your Tuscan Kale, you’ll need oil or butter for lubrication, plus some spices like garlic powder, onion powder and paprika for flavour—it takes less time by simmering them in stock before searing them in a pan for about 10 minutes with some seasonings like lemon juice calcium-rich foods like pine nuts and almonds or fresh herbs like parsley thyme or rosemary.
It also tastes great when mixed with pasta or gnocchi dishes.
Lastly, you can use the leaves raw if you want a stronger bite—just tear them into thin strips (remove the fibrous stem first) then sprinkle with olive oil & salt/pepper & dress them up further with cheese/nuts/olives & raisins.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Tuscan Kale
While Tuscan kale may be hard to find in some areas, there are numerous substitutes that provide similar texture and flavor.
Consider the following five alternatives:
1 – Baby Spinach Leaves
Baby spinach leaves provide a good substitute for Tuscan kale when you’re looking for a milder taste.
The leaves are tender and have a nutty flavor that pairs well with most ingredients.
When cooked, baby spinach will still be tender and retain its bright green color but it will be sweeter than Tuscan kale.
For best results, use baby spinach raw by adding it to salads, sandwiches or wraps for an extra layer of textured flavor.
2 – Collard Greens
Collard greens are a great alternative to Tuscan kale and are consistently popular in the US.
Seriously underrated, these thick-leaved greens have a mild flavor with just a hint of bitterness and can be used as an alternative for Tuscan kale in many dishes.
Collard greens can be cooked for short or long periods of time and (unlike some other leafy greens) retain their dark green color even after long simmering times.
They can be boiled, steamed, sautéed or braised — just make sure to remove the tough stem beforehand.
Try adding collard greens to soups, stews and salads or making them the star ingredient in side dishes like collards with ham hocks or stewed collard and black-eyed peas.
3 – Swiss Chard
Swiss chard has crunchy, substantial ribbed leaves similar to Tuscan Kale.
While the color is different, Swiss Chard does not lack in nutrients.
Like kale and Tuscan kale it is high in vitamins A, C and K and contains reasonable quantities of calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron.
It also contains oxalic acid which helps promote bone health when regularly consumed.
This leafy green pairs well with a variety of dishes ranging from soups to risotto as it holds its texture beautifully during longer cooking times.
Vegetables like garlic, onion and potatoes are often incorporated when cooking Swiss chard as this enhances its robust flavor.
4 – Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are a wonderful alternative to Tuscan kale with a milder flavor and similar texture.
They are a member of the brassica family, with leafy green stems and deeply fluted leaves that can range in color from speckled yellow-green to deep emerald.
Mustard greens have a high vitamin C content, as well as being rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber.
Mustard greens may be best known for its distinctive spicy/tangy taste and aromatic qualities when cooked.
They can be eaten raw or cooked into soups and stews.
For the best flavor, try not to overcook them because they’ll become bitter or bland in taste.
5 – Chinese Broccoli
Chinese broccoli (or Gai Lan) is very similar to Tuscan kale in appearance, but it has a much heavier flavor than Tuscan kale.
The leaves and stems of Chinese broccoli have a pungent, savory flavor.
It’s also richer in vitamins and minerals than Tuscan Kale, making it a solid alternative for anyone who doesn’t love the mild flavor of Tuscan Kale.
Chinese broccoli can be cooked the same way as kale; by sautéing, boiling, or roasting.
Or you can use the leaves in stir-fries and soups for added taste and texture.
This leafy green vegetable pairs particularly well with sweet flavors like garlic, ginger, and coconut milk–try adding them to your next dish featuring Chinese broccoli.
Overall, whether you’re looking for a substitute for Tuscan kale or a crunchy addition to your meal, be sure to keep these five leafy greens in mind.
From Swiss chard and cabbage, to arugula and spinach, there’s something for everyone’s tastes and preferences.
If you can get your hands on some Tuscan kale, enjoy it as is or use a substitution to switch up the flavor profile of your dish.
By knowing which alternatives are available, you can easily adjust any recipe that calls for Tuscan kale in no time.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Tuscan Kale
- 1 – Baby Spinach Leaves
- 2 – Collard Greens
- 3 – Swiss Chard
- 4 – Mustard Greens
- 5 – Chinese Broccoli
- Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
- Organize all of your ingredients.
- Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.