The tropical burst of pineapple infuses this creamy, crunchy congealed salad. Besides pineapple, it has chunks of cream cheese, pecans, and crunchy bits of celery. My Mawmaw served it every holiday; back then, it was “the trendy dish” that everyone was preparing. Now it’s the one I’m re-introducing to my family.
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Recalling The Congealed Salad
The mention of the congealed salad may take you down memory lane to dinner at grandma’s, or you may not have any idea of what I’m talking about. Well, it’s a side dish/salad/dessert made with flavored gelatin, fruit, vegetables, and nuts usually served in a molded shape. Perhaps its other name is more familiar, The Jello Salad.
This lime salad was something we looked forward to every holiday. In recent discussions of Mamaw Trahan’s congealed recipe with family members, we had a little trouble recalling the ingredients. Then, my sister Eleanor, found out that our Aunt Martha had the recipe. She had managed to scribble it on a small envelope while our grandma dictated it to her.
Usually, sweet Mamaw, in her broken English, would tell of her recipes as, “add some of this and some of that,” but this time, Aunt Martha had all of the ingredient amounts listed. YAY!
Two things I remember most are the taste of lime and chopped celery. That’s right, celery! As a child, I couldn’t get past the thought of a vegetable in a fruit salad, but I’m over it now. I appreciate the fresh, crunchy bits with bursts of water when you bite into them that dilute the sweetness in the jello and pineapple. No worries if you aren’t a celery fan; just omit it altogether.
To Mold Or Not To Mold
A molded salad can be impressive but not necessary. Most containers can be used for molding. Even cookie cutters make a pretty presentation. For this, ensure the jello salad’s finished shape is not too thick so the cookie cutter can pass through. Pouring the jelo into a shallow cookie sheet works well.
Begin by turning the cold salad onto a large plate or wooden cutting board. Then, carefully remove the dish and cut out the shapes. Remove the unwanted mixture from around the cutter’s sides and slide it onto a serving plate, pulling away the cookie cutter to expose its form. You can choose a corresponding shape to fit the season, like the picture at the top.
Here are some helpful instructions to unmold your salad. First, lightly spray the container with cooking spray before pouring gelatin ingredients into it. Next, the congealed salad must be set and cold. Then place it in a shallow pan and pour hot water surrounding the outside of the mold.
Using a small sharp knife, carefully separate the jelled salad fom all sides without breaking it up. Go down as far as you can with the blade loosening the salad. After a couple of minutes in the warm bath, place a serving plate or platter on top of the mold and flip it upside down. The congealed salad should come right out. If it doesn’t, repeat the process again.
You can lay lettuce leaves for a garnish over the mold before flipping onto the serving platter.
Cherry Or Lime
Isn’t this cherry-flavored congealed salad pretty? I like the taste of cherry, but I’m partial to the lime because it reminds me of Christmases gone by.
I have to tell you about a little catastrophe in my kitchen. This salad above only lived a few minutes before falling into the sink. It happened while I was photographing its beauty. Yeah, I dropped it. Well, it slid off the plate, but the lettuce saved it from being a total loss. Bless the lettuce!
I scooped what I could into a bowl, and it was delish! So it goes to show, you don’t have to mold it for it to taste good.
More Recipes From My Mawmaw Trahan At Louisiana Woman!Print
- 3 (3-ounce) packages of cherry or lime jello
- 1 1/2 cups of hot water, not boiling
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cold
- 30-ounces crushed pineapple, do not drain
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped fine
- Lightly spray a dish or mold with a light tasting non-stick cooking spray.
- Pour hot water into a bowl with jello and stir until jello is dissolved and set the bowl aside until jello is cool to the touch.
- Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer just until it is broken up into large chunks, not creamy.
- Add pineapple to the cream cheese and mix them together.
- Pour the cooled jello into cream cheese mixture and stir to combine.
- Stir in the nuts and celery then pour into the prepared dish or mold.
- Refrigerate about 8 hours or overnight until the salad is firm.
- Unmold by setting the mold in a pan for a few minutes that has a few inches of warm water in it while separating the salad away from the sides of the dish using a sharp knife.
- Place a plate over the dish and turn it all upside down to unmold the salad onto the plate. Remove the mold and garnish salad keeping it chilled in the refrigerator before serving.
- Set dissolved jello in the freezer or refrigerator to speed up cooling down.
- If salad does not want to unmold turn it over and repeat the process again.
- If it falls out in pieces, you can place it back together and use a little water to seal the edges.
- If it is an unfixable mess, put the salad in a bowl and enjoy by the spoonful.
- Try using other flavored gelatins.
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: congealed salad
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