When I think of salads, Jell-O salads usually do not fall near the top of the list of favorites. For me, Jell-O salads conjure up memories of pot luck, barbeque lunches I attended with my parents when I was young. All of those times, the Jell-O salads were invariably some molded, jiggly phenomenon with bits of anemic-looking mystery fruit and vegetables. Not awful, but definitely not something I sought after. So when Aunt Jan (my husband’s aunt) sent me a recipe for a salad containing Jell-O in it, honestly, I was a bit skeptical. But after examining the ingredients, I realized that this was not the same type of salad at all, but instead something with a different texture and flavor all together. Rather than the Jell-O being the star ingredient, with a few bits of fruit floating throughout, the fruit is a substantial part of this salad. Hmm, I thought…this could be good!
Aunt Jan’s original recipe calls for frozen cranberries. Since it’s March, I couldn’t seem to locate frozen cranberries. (I will have to try again next fall when cranberries are more common in the grocery stores.) So for my version of the recipe, I substituted frozen mixed berries, and I lowered the sugar content to compensate. What resulted was a sweet, but tasty salad. Our middle son, Brandan, ate two helpings and asked to take some home to his Mom’s…a success in my book! And although I can’t say this is one of my favorites, I did find myself sneaking spoonfuls of it quite a bit! The crunch of the apples and celery definitely give it a unique texture I found to be pretty tasty. Thanks, Aunt Jan, and sorry to be skeptical at first! A delicious treat indeed!
2 boxes strawberry Jell-O (can use sugar free)
2 c hot water
1 lb frozen strawberries or mixed berries
1/3 c agave syrup (or sugar)
3 oranges, zested and juiced
1 c chopped celery
1 c chopped apples, such as Granny Smith
1 c chopped pecans
Mix the Jell-O with the hot water until dissolved, let set until thickened.
Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, mix frozen berries and agave syrup or sugar.
Stir together orange zest, orange juice, celery, apples, pecans, and berry mixture. Mix with Jell-O, and cool 4 hours or until set. Stir to mix and serve.