Alright, here it is. Strawberry Jell-O Salad. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day. This odd little concoction consists of three layers of the following (from the bottom):
1. Crushed pretzel crust, with butter and brown sugar
2. Creamy filling, with cream cheese, sugar and whipped cream
3. Strawberry Jell-O, with sliced strawberries
Of course you’re just thinking, say whaaaat??? You might have a mental block about this dish, especially when I explain (or let Rebecca explain) to you that it’s not even dessert. It’s a dessert salad, defined as follows:
“…this is technically a salad, a dessert salad, which is any sweet dish made with gelatin and whipped topping that’s meant to be served as a side rather than a dessert.”
And I have two points to make to emphasize why I was on board with this right away, and also why I could not stop eating this thing.
First of all, let me quickly address my brother Chris’ lifelong obsession with Strawberry Pie. I’ve touched on this briefly in the past. Growing up, my Mom (hi Mom!) would frequently make Strawberry Pie. No judgement, but this consisted of a Tenderflake frozen pie, with a filling of Cool Whip mixed with Strawberry Jell-O and perhaps some sliced strawberries folded in. Even today, every time I show up for a family event and say – guess what I made for a treat! – my brother wistfully answers Strawberry Pie? – and I don’t think he’s joking. All this is just to explain that Strawberry Jell-O Salad is basically just a deconstructed Strawberry Pie (h/t my other brother Joel for pointing that out) with a salty pretzel crust, instead of a pie crust. So I did not think Strawberry Jell-O Salad was weird at all.
Secondly, if we use Rebecca’s definition of a dessert salad above, there is another one I’ve been eating my whole life. 5-Cup Salad made a frequent appearance on our dinner table growing up, especially in the summer, and usually when we had company over. And just like Rebecca explains, it’s not dessert. You eat this alongside your barbecue chicken, potato salad and other summertime goodness. Five cups of what you ask?
- Pineapple tidbits
- Mandarin orange segments
- Shredded coconut
- Mini Marshmallows (the fruity coloured ones)
- Sour Cream
Are you horrified? I just love it, and it reminds me of my childhood. This also goes by the name Ambrosia Salad, but we always just called it 5-Cup Salad. I’ll eat it with anything, case in point (this was our Christmas Eve-post-church-snack):
Anyway, back to the dish at hand. I actually made the Strawberry Pretzel Salad last weekend and brought it to my niece’s 4th birthday party. No one wanted to eat it alongside their burgers/hot dogs/corn/salad, but I tried to get everyone to try some after lunch. Not surprisingly, the biggest endorsements came from Mom and Chris, while my other family members kind of just tried it because I told them to. My sister-in-law was too scared! She wouldn’t even take a taste! (I’ve also tried to peer pressure her into trying 5-Cup Salad in the past, but she will not be swayed).
So obviously, I just loved this, and just like 5-Cup Salad, it was kind of scary how easily I could put it away! I feel like if you invite me to a barbecue this summer, I’m automatically showing up with this thing. Consider yourself warned.
The only thing I would do differently next time is pour over the Jell-O first and then place the strawberry slices in neat rows overtop. I just poured the whole Jell-O/strawberry mixture together and it kind of looked a little messy. Otherwise, this is summertime perfection.
You can find the recipe here (Do it! Be brave! Confuse/amaze your family & friends!)
More Baked Sunday Mornings here!