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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9 Responses to “meyer lemon pudding cakes”

  1. Macaroni Mama — December 10, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

    You forgot to mention that I spent the night with you guys and the next morning I said, “You work hard…and you relax hard.” It was a great Thanksgiving day and night. Thanks for letting me have time away from ‘my life’ of caregiving.

  2. Gail — December 11, 2013 @ 9:14 am

    I know this recipe, having made it myself.
    If you love lemon, pudding or cake, it’s a winner.
    Glad you had so many people around you to lift your spirits.
    Such a huge help, isn’t it?

  3. Di — December 11, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

    Holidays are, I believe, times that afford most of us the luxurious opportunity of staying connected to our past, celebrating our present and looking forward to our future with those we love and cherish. Paradoxically it seems they also serve as a somewhat sad reminder of the loved ones no longer with us. I’m glad you made the potatoes. Being able to balance the bitter-sweetness of some holidays takes courage and I admire yours. It seems we enjoyed a sort of “six degrees of separation” connection, Merry Jennifer, this holiday as I spent mine with family and friends that included your friend Julia’s in-laws replete with a ride in her brother-in-law’s new Tesla….what a machine! My cup, overcourse, runneth over with love for her niece and nephew. They are my heart. Wishing you a courageous Christmas season filled with all that you love.

  4. Eileen — December 11, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

    Glad you made it gracefully through the day Jennifer. I know how tough it is to keep going when you are in the middle of losing someone you love so much.

  5. Paula — December 11, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

    Your lemon pudding cakes look lovely. What a great use of a wonderful gift from your friends. Happy that you wrote this post, was nice to hear that you did enjoy your Thanksgiving and that you made the mashed potatoes.

  6. MJ your strength and grace amongst all you have been through this year never cease to amaze me. Beautiful post.

  7. Kathryn — December 12, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

    Lovely little cakes, what a lovely way to use up a glut of winter citrus.

  8. Teresa, foodonfifth — December 15, 2013 @ 11:31 am

    These look so beautiful and perfect for this holiday season. A bit lighter dessert than all those pumpkin & pecan pies. I love those too, but this would lure me more. Very nice recipe and heartfelt story.

  9. Nutmeg Nanny — December 23, 2013 @ 10:09 pm

    These look so so perfect, I love lemon desserts so I can’t wait to give this recipe a try. I’m glad your family and friends were there to help you through

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