Monday, November 13, 2006

Thanksgiving on the South Beach Diet: Double Berry Jello Salad

I've been writing about Thanksgiving Recipes for South Beach dieters, starting out with Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar as an alternative for traditional sugar and butter laden candied yams, and Alanna's Roasted Cauliflower as a possible alternative to potatoes. Then I gave some ideas for Thanksgiving Salads that will wow your guests. Today I'm giving a suggestion for a more South Beach friendly version of something that's always been traditional for Thanksgiving dinner in my family.

If you live in a place where Jello is the official state snack, right in the heart of the Jello Belt, you've got to have some kind of jello salad for Thanksgiving dinner, right? I've never really been a fan of Jello, despite being a life-long Utah resident, so keep that in mind when I tell you how much I loved this salad. It tasted much better than I ever imagined Jello could taste, and with cranberries, celery, and pecans, this tasted like a salad not a dessert. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I couldn't get a really good photo even though I tried twice. Anyone who understands more than I do about digitial photography, I'd love to know why the camera wouldn't focus correctly. Maybe the Jello was just too shiny? But even with the slightly fuzzy photo, you can see that besides tasting great, this was a beautiful cranberry color.

If you're a South Beach Dieter, using sugar free Jello is essential here, but even with that change, there's still some sugar in the canned cranberry sauce. However, pecans, celery, and sugar-free jello are all good South Beach choices, Thanksgiving only comes once a year, and this is something you won't eat a huge amount of, so I'd still consider it a good holiday option as a once-in-a-while treat.

I found this recipe in the Southern Living Christmas Cookbook, which I bought when it appeared in the faculty room at school as part of a book promotion, and I highly recommend this book. It features all kinds of interesting looking recipes, including some very, very easy recipes for seasonal holiday dishes that I thought looked great.




Double Berry Jello Salad
(makes 8 small servings, slightly adapted from the Southern Living Christmas Cookbook.)

Ingredients:
1 3-ounce package sugar-free raspberry gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 16-ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce
3/4 cup celery, very finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans
lettuce of your choice for serving, optional

Instructions:
Combine gelatin and boiling water in a glass bowl, stirring until all gelatin is dissolved. Chill until mixture is the consistency of unbeaten egg white (about 45 minutes in refrigerator.) Stir in cranberry sauce, chopped pecans, and diced celery.

Spray square glass casserole dish with non-stick spray or oil lightly with vegetable oil. Spoon mixture into dish, cover, and chill until firm, about 3 hours. Serve as a salad, on a bed of lettuce or arugula if desired.



I don't have a lot of time to enter food blog events, but I didn't want to miss the first time Anna from Morsels and Musings ever hosted an event, and this salad is perfect for her theme of Festive Food Fair. If you want to join in and make a festive food for the event, you have until December 1 to send the link to Anna.

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19 comments:

  1. i can't believe jello is the official state snack of utah! in fact i can't believe the state has an official snack!

    a jello salad is such an intriguing idea. i've never even heard of it before. i'm really interested in the fact that you say it turns out tasting savoury.

    very unique and obviously worth a try for curiosity sake!

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  3. Kalyn,
    I agree, it's a very interesting recipe, after your explanation I do want to try! But I have no idea why your the first photo came out of focus, could it be the reflective surface (Jello) confusing the sensor (just my guessing).
    Another thing, I'll be on vacation for weeks so will miss a couple rounds of WHB. Let me say Happy Thanksgiving to you in here first :D

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  4. Humph. I think Minnesota and Iowa can give Utah a run for its money. And I remember a TIME Magazine story profiling the state of Iowa during the pre-caucus months of some presidential election and IT said that Iowans ate the most jello per capita in the whole country. And ... every Minnesota/Iowa churchbook has salad sections that are 100% jello recipes. Humph. ; - ) PS Didn't even think of jello for my own Thanksgiving collection, might have to slip in one more!

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  5. Anna, the Utah State Legislature actually voted to make Jello the official snack,and Bill Cosby came for the big event.

    Gattina, thanks for the photo feedback. I figured it was something like that after I tried twice! Have a great vacation!

    Alanna, don't let anyone in Utah know that there *might* be other places that eat more Jello. The papers take great pleasure in reporting periodically how Utah has the highest Jello consumption in the nation, and all the natives (well, not me, but most of them) take great pride in it.

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  6. Blurry photos! Harummphh. You know my feelings about that.
    Otherwise, actually a beautiful looking thing.

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  7. Cookiecrumb, too funny that you wrote about it just when I was so dissatisfied with my own photo! I think we're channeling each other.

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  8. I enjoy the Southern Living recipes and I think I have tasted this before. It is refreshing and so colorful........I didn't think your photo was all that bad....cute stories about jello, though!

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  9. Kalyn,
    My mother traditionally made a molded jello "salad" for Thanksgiving, which I will be sharing on my blog soon. We kids called it "Mouldy Salad", much to my mom's chagrin. Yours is wonderfully low carb. I'm afraid my mom's recipe isn't. :(

    I've always found it difficult to clearly photograph anything deeply red in color. I'm not sure why but red is always blurry. Maybe ask on FBS?

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  10. Wow, that's fab. More then interesting, it's crazy. I'd love to try it though.

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  11. oh kalyn, the picture is still nice. As for the salad/dessert, I love the idea of pairing those unusual ingredients together

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  12. Jann, I loved this cookbook from the first time I looked through it. I see a lot of other good recipes in there. You're too sweet about the photo. It's not horrible, but not great either.

    Christine, my mom also made Jello loaded with sugar. Funny, but I never liked it. This is just barely sweet, but delicious. No clue about why the red is so hard to photograph.

    Scott, let me know if you can't find Jello there and I can send you some. It's very cheap here, which I guess is why families eat it so much.

    Nabeela, I think it's the unusual combination that got me interested in trying it.

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  13. Ha! I think Jello is one of the five food groups here in Wisconsin, although the Leg has not got in on the act yet...

    I know my mother always made a Jello salad around the holidays. Even my great-grandmother, Mémere, ate green Jello with pears.

    I love it, Kalyn! I'm going to make it next week.

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  14. I don't like Jello salads as a rule, but when I saw that picture it looked very appealing!!! I thinkit's perfect for Thanksgiving.

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  15. Hi Kalyn,
    I grew up with my grandmother's jello salads, especially at Thanksgiving, and with the exception of mini marshmallows, I LOVE them! This recipe sounds perfectly fabulous to me. Except for the sugar free part. My jello salads don't go unleaded. Now, something else to consider is that cranberries have a lot of natural pectin in them and will actually firm up pretty well, all on their own. So, you could do the same combination of flavors - throw in a few raspberries, heat everything up, let them cool in a mold, and voila.

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  16. Hi Kalyn,

    Just wanted to ask about this Jello salad. The raspberry Jello is sugar-free, but the canned cranberry sauce -- wouldn't that be loaded with sugar?

    I'm trying so hard to find a sugar-free way to eat cranberries and having a hard time of it, so any help is welcome. I made cranberry sauce with Splenda but WOW, too much aftertaste.

    I live in Plymouth, MA, where cranberries (tons of bogs) and Thanksgiving (Plymouth Rock, anyone?) are big stuff. I must combine the two succesfully in South Beach style!

    I'm anxious to hear your thoughts!

    Thanks for all the great recipes!

    Maria

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  17. Hi Maria,
    As I mentioned in the recipe, there is some sugar in the canned cranberries. If I'm remembering it right from last year I think I looked unsuccessfully for cranberry sauce with splenda (which it sounds like you might not like anyway.) This would be something that would be a "once in a while treat" for South Beach. I would eat this on a holiday, and with the combined other low-glycemic ingredients, I don't think it's a huge amount of sugar. I'm going to the store tonight, maybe I'll look and see just how much sugar was in the cranberry sauce, or see if there's a sugar-free alternative this year. Sorry, I don't have a better suggestions than that. You could make the salad with more jello and less cranberrry sauce though, if that would help.

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  18. Hi Kalyn,

    Love your site. The recipes are consistently appealing and seductive! Just one comment. Unless there's some other vegetarian product being used, this (and any other "jello" recipes) should not be in the vegetarian section as gelatin is an animal derived product that no strict vegetarian would use. There are veg alternatives such as agar-agar, etc.

    Thanks again for such a useful blog!

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  19. Lorene, thanks for catching that. I just took the recipe out of the listing for vegetarian salads.

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