Pink Salad

Southern Desserts, Southern Salads & Slaws, Southern Sides
If you want to make a nice fluffy sweet pink salad, this will do it. It has fruit and just the right amount of fluff to make it super tasty.

If you want to make a nice fluffy sweet pink salad, this will do it. It has fruit and just the right amount of fluff to make it super tasty.


Jell-O salad (also called gelatin salad) is a salad made with flavored gelatin, fruit, and sometimes grated carrots. Other ingredients may include cottage cheese, cream cheese, marshmallows, nuts or pretzels.

For example, a jello salad might have green from a lime-flavored gelatin, white from bits of cottage cheese, and orange from fruit cocktail, or red from the jello itself.

Therefore, it has a “salad appearance” (small pieces of food all mixed together) but is fluffy and light in texture.

We also love this fruit salad with peach pie filling and our strawberry sherbet homemade ice cream if you’re in the mood for some summer treats.
pink salad with cherry on top in a white bowl on table

Pink salad that’s both dessert and a side dish

Let’s dive in!

How to make sure your pink salad isn’t runny or too watery

To avoid runny or watery salad, make sure you completely drain your fruit. To further remove moisture, place fruit on paper towels and let it soak up any remaining juices.

While you don’t need the fruit juices for this dish, you could save them for other uses. Some suggestions are:

  • Fruit ice cubes
  • Mixed into homemade salad dressings
  • Mix juice with corn starch, cook until it thickens, cool, and spoon over ice cream or pudding
  • Mix juice with seltzer or soda for a drink
  • Use in place of liquid in muffins or pancakes
pink salad with cherries and nuts on top in white bowl

Are there substitutions you can use?

This “pretty and pink” salad is tasty and great to look at just like it is, hence the name “pink salad”. However, if you don’t like the pink color you could substitute the red jello with lime, orange, or even blue!! It will have a different appearance but the texture should have the same fluffiness.

Select your type of cottage cheese based on the amount of milk fat: regular cottage cheese, lowfat or reduced fat cottage cheese, and nonfat or dry curd cottage cheese. The taste and texture might be different based on your selection. You can use small curd cottage cheese in place of large curd, but the taste will be the same.

Fruit substitutions still work

As for the fruit, mandarin oranges and pineapple are a classic southern duo with a tropical flare. You could try using canned peaches or fruit cocktail, but the color and flavor will be different. Also, you can select fruit in its own juice rather than heavy syrup.

Experiment to get the right amount of sugar to suit you.

Since my family has pecan trees and the nuts are always in supply, I used pecans in my pink salad. You could try substituting walnuts (less sweet) or macadamia nuts (for tropical vibe).

However, macadamia nuts are rather expensive and are high in calories. They taste like hazelnuts, but more buttery.

Another option is to roast your nuts before garnishing the salad. It releases the nutty flavor and makes the taste more intense.

ingredients for pink salad in separate bowls

What’s the difference between ambrosia salad and this?

Ambrosia is a type of fruit salad.

Most ambrosia recipes contain canned or fresh pineapple, canned mandarin orange slices or fresh orange sections, miniature marshmallows, and coconut. It is more of a retro salad from the past….still a classic.

The pink salad uses some of the same fruit but relies on the jello, cottage cheese, and cool whip to create a more modern salad with a smoother and lighter texture.

pouring dry jello into bowl to make pink salad

What this salad pairs well with

The pink salad adds a pretty spot of color to almost any meal. It provides a fresh, bright taste to a country lunch of sandwiches, BBQ, or fried chicken. This is a sweet salad, but you could do a creamy cucumber salad too.

Since it is light and airy, it doesn’t fill you up but round out the meal. It would be a wonderful addition to a church potluck and could go in the salad or dessert category.

Since it is a “cold” dish, it probably isn’t up for a picnic in the park, but would be a lovely side dish at a work luncheon or neighborhood BYOD party.

It is sure to catch everyone’s eye and draw them in for a taste.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces cottage cheese
  • 8 ounces cool whip
  • 14 ounces mandarin oranges, drained
  • 20 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1-3 ounce box of red jello (cherry, strawberry. or raspberry depending on your preference)
  • Pecans (for garnish)
  • 1- 16 oz. can Maraschino cherries
individual pink salads in bowls with cherries and spoons

Directions

  1. Drain pineapple and mandarin oranges.
  2. Add fruit to large mixing bowl.
  3. Add cottage cheese and cool whip. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Put in covered dish and chill for at least one hour in the fridge.
  5. When ready to serve garnish with pecans and cherries.
close up shot of pink salad in white bowl on marble table

Pink Salad

If you want to make a nice fluffy sweet pink salad, this will do it. It has fruit and just the right amount of fluff to make it super tasty.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cool whip, cottage cheese, mandarin oranges, pecans, pineapple
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 138kcal
Author: Rachel Norman

Ingredients

  • 16 oz container cottage cheese
  • 8 oz Cool Whip
  • 14 oz Mandarin Oranges drained
  • 20 oz Crushed pineapple drained
  • 1 3 oz box red jello dry
  • Pecans as desired
  • 1 16 oz Jar Maraschino Cherries

Instructions

  • Drain pineapple and mandarin oranges.
  • Add fruit to large mixing bowl.
  • Add cottage cheese and cool whip. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  • Put in covered dish and chill for at least one hour in the fridge.
  • When ready to serve garnish with pecans and cherries.

Notes

Note: When selecting the red jello, you can use cherry, strawberry. or raspberry depending on your preference. 

Nutrition

Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 185mg | Potassium: 173mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 335IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 1mg

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