Weight Watchers Recipe of the Day: Cranberry Jello Mold Salad
(140 calories | 8 8 8 myWW *SmartPoints value per serving)
I know it’s not cool to admit this and I’m definitely dating myself, but I
like love Jello! Especially the molded salads made with Jell-O gelatin that you can count on to show up on Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday dinner tables all around America this time of year.
Jello mold salads certainly classify as “retro” or “vintage side dishes,” the topic of this month’s Recipe Redux. They were one of my favorite side dishes growing up in the 60s and 70s. I loved their colorful, sweet, jiggly presence on our table, most often for Sunday dinners and holiday meals.
What is a Jello Salad?
Jello salad (technically Jell-O salad), also called molded salad, jello mold salad, gelatin salad, jelly salad, jelly dish or congealed salad, is a “salad” made with flavored gelatin, fruit, and sometimes grated carrots, cabbage or other vegetables, such as chopped celery. Additional ingredients may include sour cream, whipped cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, marshmallows, nuts, or pretzels. The flavor and ingredient combinations were endless.
I first learned to make jello salads with my grandmother, who seemed to pass on her love of them to my mother.
Unfortunately, most of those salads, while tasty, were loaded with less than healthy stuff – sour cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise – for example.
Making regular appearances were orange jello with cream cheese, cool whip and mandarin oranges; lime jello with cream cheese, mayonnaise, pineapple and marshmallows; and red jello with cranberry sauce and sour cream.
So for this month’s Recipe Re-dux, I’ve decided to resurrect the jello salad of my youth, but give it a healthy makeover by removing a lot of the excess fat.
I’m offering up an easy-to-make American classic – Cranberry Pineapple Jello Mold – that’s perfect for the holidays or anytime as a side-dish for ham, turkey, lamb, pork or chicken roasts.
How Many Calories/WW Points in this Cranberry Jello Salad?
According to my calculations, each serving (with regular Jello) has about 140 calories and
8 *SmartPoints (Green plan)
8 *SmartPoints (Blue plan)
8 *SmartPoints (Purple plan)
3 *PointsPlus (Old plan)
I made my salad with regular jello, but to make this salad even lighter you could always use sugar-free Jello instead and save 2 SmartPoints per serving.
Food snobs may be tempted to turn up their noses. But I’m unapologetic. You like what you like. I think a simple jello salad has the power to bring a smile to the child lurking within each of us. They are fun, easy, fast, and infinitely customizable.
Curious about Weight Watchers new myWW Green, Blue and Purple plans? Watch this short video to learn more:
Cranberry Pineapple Jello Salad Substitutions & Variations
This cranberry jello salad with pineapple can be modified in lots of ways to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. Here are a few examples:
- No Raspberry Flavored Gelatin? – Any red jello – strawberry, cherry, cranberry – can be used instead.
- Additions? – chopped fresh apple, chopped fresh pear, canned mandarin oranges would all work well
- Nuts? – Use whatever nut you prefer – walnuts, pecans, peanuts or skip them if you prefer.
- Celery? – Again it’s your choice add it or leave it out.
Can I Make Cranberry Jello Salad in Advance?
Of course! In addition to being super easy to make, molded jello salads are great make-ahead side dishes or desserts for the holidays or any gathering because they need several hours in the refrigerator to set-up and become firm. Most people let them set overnight. I often make my Jello salads one to two days ahead. Should you get any liquid appearing on it, just drain it off or blot with paper towels before serving.
What Can I Use for a Jello Salad Mold?
It’s fun to make jello salads in Tupperware jello molds, but you don’t have to. You can use a Bundt pan , a loaf pan , or even a mixing bowl to for large molded salads. Small cups, ramekins, or even espresso cups work well for individual servings. Whatever you use, remember to spray the container first with non-stick spray so that the jello comes out easily.
Or you can skip the mold altogether and simply make and serve your jello salad in a bowl, plain or fancy.
How Long Does Jello Salad Last in the Fridge?
When stored in the refrigerator in a covered container, Jello can last up to a week. The taste and texture may deteriorate a little each day, possibly getting a little more watery. When this happens, just drain it off or blot with paper towels.
Tips for Removing Jello Salad from the Mold
- First make sure your Jello mold is firmly set – it should not move a lot or be overly jiggly when tipped from side to side.
- To unmold, use a small metal spatula or pointed knife dipped in warm water to loosen around the top edge. Then dip the bottom of the mold in warm, not boiling, water just to below the rim for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Remove from the water and shake to loosen the Jello from the mold.
- Place a serving plate on top of the mold holding the plate and mold together. Flip upside down so the mold is now on top of the plate.
- Shake slightly to loosen and gently remove the mold.
- If Jello doesn’t release easily, dip the mold in warm water again for a few seconds and try again.
Here’s a great video from the folks at Southern Living demonstrating the best technique and tips for removing jello salad from the mold:
If you like this lightened cranberry jello salad, be sure to check out my other easy, healthy Weight Watchers friendly recipes including Classic Macaroni Salad Made Lighter, Low-Calorie Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Slow Cooker Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Slow Cooker Sausage Apple Stuffing and Lightened Up Creamy Potato Salad
If you’ve made this Molded Jell-o 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.
WW Friendly Cranberry Jell-O Salad Recipe
- 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, in it's own juice
- 1 package (3 ounces) raspberry flavored gelatin
- 1 can (14 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts
- Drain pineapple, saving the juice. Add enough water to the juice to total 1-1/4 cups of liquid. In a saucepan, bring the liquid to a boil.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin until it's dissolved.
- Break up the cranberry sauce with a fork and stir it into the gelatin mixture.
- Cool until the mixture begins to thicken and then stir in the crushed pineapple, celery and nuts.
- Pour into a mold and chill until set. (For best results first with non-stick spray so that the jello comes out easily.)
*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.
Watch how easy it is to make your own holiday cranberry jello salad, perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner at home. This recipe uses 2 packages of raspberry jello, 20 ounces crushed pineapple with its juice, 1 can of whole berry cranberry. It’s made in a large cut crystal bowl instead of jello mold and topped with chopped pecans. Another great variation!
If you liked this cranberry jello mold salad, be sure to check out my recipe for skinny upside down strawberry jello pretzel salad.
More Cranberry Recipes from my Favorite WeightWatchers Friendly Sites:
- Weight Watchers Fresh No Cook Cranberry Relish
- Slow Cooker Apple Raspberry Cranberry Sauce
- Cranberry Pear Sauce
- Simple Homemade Fresh Cranberry Sauce
- Homemade Cranberry Apple Sauce
- Cranberry-Pineapple Sauce
- Cranberry Pear Butter
- Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce
- Cranberry Salsa
- Apple and Cranberry Sauce with Crystallized Ginger
- Dried Cherry Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Easy Cranberry Apple Pomegranate Sauce
This post contains affiliate links to products I like. When you buy something through one of my Amazon links or other (affiliate links), I receive a small commission that helps support this site. Thank you for your purchase!Originally published 11/2012; updated 11/2016 with new photos and text
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