mom’s green jello salad

I’m going to share with you a dirty little family secret. It’s the recipe that my family can’t resist, the one that’s only served at Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you are into eating only unprocessed and organic foods, you should look away now. Seriously, look away.

Are you ready? This is the secret:

mom's green jello salad | the merry gourmet

My mom’s Green Jello Salad. It’s not really a salad, as you can plainly see from the photo, but for some reason, these concoctions made with Jello are called Jello salad. When this dish is on the table during our holiday meal, there are rarely leftovers. The kids love it, and they usually fight over who gets the maraschino cherries. The adults love it, even though guests are commonly puzzled by what’s exactly in it.

mom's green jello salad | the merry gourmet

The ingredients are very simple. Lime-flavored gelatin, cottage cheese, Cool Whip, pineapple, and nuts. And don’t forget the maraschino cherries for decoration, or you’ll have some angry children on your hands.

mom's green jello salad | the merry gourmet

I wish I could say that this dish is so much better when I whip the whipped cream by hand using heavy cream or if I avoid the artificially-sweet crimson cherries on top, but it’s really not. This is a side dish – or dessert – that must be made with all of the processed ingredients, exactly as written. I have years and years of taste memories associated with Mom’s Green Jello Salad, and those aren’t found in any altered version of this recipe.

So, while the other dishes on the table at Christmas will be made from scratch using the best fruits and vegetables I can find in my organic market, there will be this one completely processed, as-opposite-of-organic-as-you-can-get dish on my menu.

And you know what? We’ll all go back for seconds.

mom's green jello salad | the merry gourmet

Yield: 6-8 servings

Mom's Green Jello Salad


3 ounce package lime-flavored Jello gelatin
6 ounces cold pineapple juice
1 cup of Cool Whip
1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
6 maraschino cherries (or more, depending on your love for maraschino cherries)


Add 1 cup boiling water to gelatin in a bowl; stir 2 minutes or until completely dissolved. Stir in the cold pineapple juice. Refrigerate 2 hours, or until half-set.

Remove from refrigerator and add in the Cool Whip, cottage cheese, chopped nuts, and crushed pineapple. Mix until very well incorporated. Garnish with maraschino cherries and chill for at least one hour before serving.

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24 Responses to “pumpkin pie, an odyssey”

  1. Liz the Chef — October 16, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

    It is definitely time for me to update my family recipe – love the rum and blind-baking. Soggy crust – who needs it?! We can put our husbands together with my old recipe and scarf down yours 😉 best, Liz

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 17th, 2010 @ 7:59 am

      I like your idea, Liz!

  2. Sunchowder - Wendy Read — October 16, 2010 @ 8:01 pm

    Love to see this in print after watching your tweets last weekend. The pie looks wonderful!! Too funny that you hubby likes you “old” pie–isn’t it always the way??? Beautiful post from a lovely person:)

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 17th, 2010 @ 8:02 am

      Thanks, Wendy. And, yes, it always seems to happen that way. As much as I love him, my sweet husband is somewhat resistant to change. 🙂

  3. Nancy@acommunaltable — October 16, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

    This is truly a beautiful pumpkin pie – I love it’s rich, deep color and I bet it tastes fantastic! Adding the rum was a wonderful idea – I have found that adding a little alcohol can really amplify flavors as I am sure that it does with the pie!!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 17th, 2010 @ 8:04 am

      Nancy – Last year I made one with bourbon, but I found the sweetness and booziness too overpowering. The rum worked really well – enhanced the flavors and I couldn’t tell there was any alcohol used.

  4. Camala - CC Recipe — October 16, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

    Ha, that is too funny about your husband, sounds like mine:) This pumpkin pie looks fabulous, but yes I agree it should be sweet, because that does suck!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 17th, 2010 @ 8:04 am

      Camala – I’ll never forget that sugar again, that’s for sure! 🙂

  5. Joy — October 16, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

    I couldn’t be happier with this pie. I’ve made this last year and this year again for our (Canadian) Thanksgiving feast and it hasn’t failed to deliver. 🙂

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 17th, 2010 @ 8:05 am

      Joy – Yay! I love getting votes of confidence for this pie. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

  6. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — October 17, 2010 @ 6:21 am

    When I saw you tweeting about this, I couldn’t wait to read the post. Gorgeous as always and so well written. I am not a pumpkin pie fan (learning to like it) but perhaps I will try this one 🙂 Plus, you can’t go past good vanilla and rum!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 17th, 2010 @ 8:07 am

      Thanks, Mardi! I agree with you – everything’s better with a little vanilla and rum. 🙂

  7. I’ve been trying to convince my mom to update her pumpkin pie recipe for a while, but she just won’t change it. Some people just don’t like to mess with classics.
    I will try to get her to blind bake the crust next time to avoid the soggy crust issue. Maybe baby steps will lead to change! Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. — October 17, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

    i’ve got a pumpkin roasting away as we speak, so your post and tips are timely, indeed. oh, and sugarless pie? that’s an oopsie if I ever heard one. You sure know how to paint a lovely picture with your words, of course the perfect photos are screen-licking good.

  9. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — October 17, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

    For all the hubs resistance to change…I remain tickled at your sweet daughter applauding your effort without sugar. Now that’s Mom’s girl!

    Beautiful pie…and reminds me. I so want a ceramic pie plate like yours; sure adds a touch of elegance to the finished result.

  10. Macaroni Mama — October 17, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

    I’m looking forward to the pie…with a little rum.

  11. Gail — October 17, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

    Brilliant idea about warming the pie filling a bit, and then putting it into a partially baked shell.
    And, of course, rum couldn’t hurt.
    You should be proud of yourself. The pie even looks proud of itself!!!

  12. Love the addition of the rum. Got to love America’s Test Kitchen – they tend to perfect recipes. Thank you for testing out the pumpkin pies and sharing your best. A must make for the holidays!!

  13. Pam @ Kitchen Cookware — October 18, 2010 @ 2:23 am

    I love Pumpkin pies and make different versions of it, as I have yet to find a right recipes that is perfect! I have never tried Rum inside the pie before, but I do love America’s test kitchen so I may try it out.

  14. Kate @ Savour Fare — October 19, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

    You are becoming the pie queen. My husband LOVES pumpkin pie (no fancy additions) and we have it every year — last year my aunt made the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever tasted — I have to get her recipe.

  15. Jason Phelps — October 21, 2010 @ 6:20 pm

    The simplest way to improve pumpkin pie is to use freshly roasted pumpkin from a local source. Everything else is pretty much standard. Canned it OK, but it doesn’t taste as good as something right from the pumpkin patch. Works for squash or a combination as well.


  16. Jamie — October 22, 2010 @ 8:34 am

    I actually make that pumpkin pie from America’s Test Kitchen and love it. Although, I do not cook the filling first and I cut back on the amount of one of the liquids, but it still turns out fantastic every time. My husbands mother wasn’t a fan of pumpkin pie until she ate that one! To add a little booze to it, we make a bourbon whipped cream to add to the top. Delicious!

  17. Brenda — October 25, 2010 @ 8:22 pm

    I’m going to try this recipe as a flan, with a little more rum and a caramel topping. My family did not grow up eating pumpkin pie, but they eat flan, so I think this will work. . . . (using less pumpkin too)

  18. Pingback: the gifts of thanksgiving, and a recipe: pumpkin pie, the 2012 edition | The Merry Gourmet

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