I came by my fondness for jello and gelatin salad honestly. My mother is a big fan as was my grandmother.
I have many happy memories of Nana making gelatin salads from various combinations of jello, fruit(s) and vegetable(s).
My affection runs deep. The holiday dinner table wouldn't be complete without one. I also often enjoy jello for a quick weekday breakfast or lunch (with some fat free yogurt or cottage cheese).
Another reason for my affection? They are easy peasy. If you can boil water and open a small box of gelatin/jello, you can make gelatin salad!
Imagine my thrill at seeing this classic jell-o recipe for pineapple carrot jello salad while skimming through my Old Betty Crocker Cookbook . I was instantly transported back in time to my Grandmother's kitchen.
Sometimes called “Sunshine Salad,” this classic gelatin recipe is a delight.
When made with sugar-free Jello-O, this jell-o salad is also low in calories and Weight Watchers Points. Perfect for those watching their waistline or on a low calorie diet.
They are most often made in a mold and then turned out onto a plate for serving. But Nana usually just spooned her jello out of a bowl into a small serving dish.
When doubled this carrot pineapple jello salad works well for holiday meals, family gatherings, and potlucks too!
How Many Calories and WW Points in this Old-Fashioned Jello Salad with Carrots & Pineapple?
According to my calculations, each serving has 20 calories when made with sugar-free lemon gelatin.
How to Make Easy Pineapple Carrot Jello Salad Recipe
Step 1: Gather and prep your ingredients:
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 small package (4-serving size) lemon-flavored gelatin (sugar-free if calories/points are a concern)
- ½ cup cold water
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 can (8 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
- ½ cup grated/shredded carrots
Step 2: Place gelatin in a bowl. Pour boiling hot water over it and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Stir in the cold water, pineapple with juice, grated carrots and salt.
Step 3: Refrigerate until the jello mixture is slightly thickened (1-2 hours). Stir to evenly distribute the carrots and pineapple. If desired, pour mixture into a 3 to 4-cup bowl or ring mold or 6 individual molds. Refrigerate until firm.
Step 4: Un mold onto a serving dish or simply scoop from a bowl with a spoon.
Recipe Notes, Additions & Substitutions
Do not use fresh pineapple as it contains enzymes that will prevent the gelatin from setting.
The recipe calls for a small can (8 ounces) of crushed pineapple. I was only able to find the large can (20 ounces) so I weighed out 8 ounces with my electronic kitchen scale .
If you don't have crushed pineapple you could always use pineapple chunks (chopped) or pineapple tidbits instead.
Some recipes call for a little bit of lemon juice. But in honor of my grandma, who never included it, I also leave it out.
Nana's vintage recipe for sunshine salad recipe always used lemon jello. However, you could turn this into orange pineapple carrot salad by substituting orange jello and possibly a can of mandarin oranges.
Some versions of this jell-o salad instruct you to wait and stir in the carrots after the Jello mixture has begun to thicken somewhat. But for simplicity, I just stir everything in at the same time, cover and refrigerate. Nobody at a family gathering or holiday dinner has ever complained.
This can be made in a 3-cup mold to 4-cup bowl or ring mold or 6 individual molds. (Muffin tins work well as individual molds.)
This salad also can be poured into an 8-inch square baking dish, then cut into squares for serving. Or left in a bowl and scooped out with a spoon.
Tips to un-mold gelatin:
Allow the gelatin to set until completely firm, several hours or overnight.
Before un-molding, dip a thin knife in warm water and run knife around edge of the gelatin to loosen.
Dip mold in a large bowl of warm water, just to the rim of the mold, for 10-15 seconds.
Lift from water and gently pull gelatin from edge of the mold with moist fingers. Place a moistened serving plate on top of the mold. Flip so the mold is on top of the plate. Gently remove mold, shaking it and jiggling it as necessary to allow the jello to release.
- Serve as a cool and refreshing side dish, with or without a dollop of whipped cream or cool whip.
- This favorite family comfort food is also perfect for picnics and potlucks and can easily be doubled.
- I also like this jello along with a little yogurt or cottage cheese as a healthy breakfast or snack
Ways to Use Leftovers
This will keep in the fridge for several days to enjoy whenever the desire strikes.
If you've made this Carrot Pineapple Salad, please give the recipe a star rating below and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. And stay in touch on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.
Sugar Free Sunshine Jello Salad
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 package (4-serving size) sugar-free lemon jello
- ½ cup cold water
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces canned crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- Place gelatin in a bowl. Pour boiling water over it and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Stir in the cold water, pineapple with juice, carrots and salt.
- Refrigerate until the mixture is slightly thickened. Stir to evenly distribute the carrots and pineapple. Pour the gelatin mixture into a glass serving bowl or lightly-greased JELL-O mold. Cover and return to the refrigerator and chill until firmly set. (For individual servings, gelatin mixture can be poured into lightly-greased muffin cups and then chilled.)
Recipe source: Betty Crocker's Cookbook (1978 Edition)
*Points® calculated by WW. *PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT each plan's ZeroPoint Foods (Green plan, Blue plan, Purple plan) using the WW Recipe Builder.
More Jello Salads & Desserts for Weight Watchers
- Holiday Cranberry Jello Mold (A Thanksgiving Dinner tradition)
- Skinny Upside Down Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- Watergate Salad (AKA Green Fluff) Made Lighter
- Skinny Summer Berry Terrine
- Skinny Easy Orange Delight Salad (AKA Orange Fluff made with orange gelatin)
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