Recipe Finder | Jell-O salad makes a refreshing, retro dish

For The Baltimore Sun
This summer, try making a retro side dish: Jell-O salad.

Ellen Rogers of Granger, Ind., was in search of the recipe for a dish that her mother used to make with orange Jell-O, shredded carrots and small pineapple bits. She cannot locate the recipe and she has been unable to re-create the same taste.

Patricia Walter of Kingsville saw Rogers' request and thought she knew exactly the recipe Rogers' was looking for. It is called "Sunset Salad" and comes from a recipe booklet, "Joys of Jell-O," published by the General Foods Corp. Walter said when she was first married in the early 1960s, these free recipe booklets were commonly produced by many of the larger food companies, and one could collect and send in labels to get one. People obviously liked and held on to these booklets — popular in the '50s, '60s and '70s — as several other readers shared the very same recipe for the Sunset Salad.

It is highly likely that the recipe from "Joys of Jell-O" is the one Rogers is looking for. But I also received a recipe from Susan Knorr of Towson for a version of the dish, called "Sunshine Salad," that comes from "Whole Foods for the Whole Family," a cookbook published by the La Leche League International in the 1980s. The ingredients are very similar to the Sunset Salad, but real orange juice is substituted for the artificial orange color and flavor of the Jell-O in the original recipe. I decided to go ahead and publish both recipes. Either version makes a pretty and tasty summer side dish.

Requests

Lola May Hill of Bel Air would like to have the recipe from The Peppermill restaurant in Lutherville for something called chicken Alexander. It is served as a special at lunch and she said it is "delicious," but the restaurant doesn't have it every day.

Sunset Salad

Makes about 3 cups or 6 side salads

1 3-ounce package orange, lemon or orange-pineapple Jell-O

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 8 3/4-ounce can crushed pineapple or pineapple tidbits

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup coarsely grated carrots

1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Dissolve Jell-O and salt in boiling water. Add undrained pineapple and lemon juice. Chill until very thick (about 1 1/2 hours). Then fold in the carrots and the pecans (if using). Pour into individual molds, a 1-quart mold or another container. Chill until firm, then unmold. Garnish with additional pineapple if desired.

Note: While a fancy mold is nice for a party presentation, the dish is just as good in a Pyrex bowl or even a small cake pan

Sunshine Salad

Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin or 2 envelopes

2 cups orange juice (divided use)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup raw carrots, grated

2 1/2 cups crushed pineapple with juice (20-ounce can)

Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup orange juice in saucepan and let it "bloom." Stir over low heat until the gelatin dissolves.

Remove from heat and mix with remaining 11/2 cups orange juice, lemon juice, almond extract, grated carrots and crushed pineapple. Pour mixture into a bowl or mold. Do not use fresh or frozen pineapple, as the mixture will not gel.

Chill in refrigerator until set, about 2-3 hours.

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