A Southern Grace: sweetest salad ever

December 18, 2014

sweetest salad ever


What if I told you I lived without a blender for nearly all of my adult life? It's true--I just didn't have a need for one.

I never got on board the smoothie train and milkshakes aren't really my jam. I did and do have an immersion blender, though, for the occasional pureed soup. That said, I was DELIGHTED to hear from a gal I met at the IFBC in Seattle who offered to send me a Nutri Ninja Blender DUO With Auto-iQ to review. I seriously did a spastic little dance.

Where do I even begin in describing this awesome equipment? I've had it for a while now and I haven't even skimmed the surface of fully examining everything it can do. Let's get to the highlights:
  • This behemoth of a blender features timed intelligent blending programs that do the work for you. There's Ultra Blend for smashing up nuts and seeds or breaking down kale. Use Puree for soups and sauces and press the Smoothie button for a premium yogurt-and-fruit(-and-greens) blend.
  • There's a Total Crushing feature that pulverizes ice to snow in seconds.
  • The Pro Extractor Blades™ break down whole fruits, vegetables, ice, and seeds flawlessly.
  • Maximum nutrient and vitamin extraction is delivered with each recipe.
  • BPA-free construction offers peace of mind.
Simply put, the Nutri Ninja Blender DUOcrushes it. Literally.

This blender comes with SO much stuff--there's a 72-ounce pitcher with lid and pour spout; extractor, crushing, chopping, and dough blades; a 64-ounce food processor bowl; three sizes of multi-serve cups with lids; and lots of booklets containing recipes, tips, and pointers.

I've been using the food processor attachment most of all. It came in handy in grinding up some pretzels for this tasty and satisfying strawberry salad, which is much more of a dessert than a salad--I personally believe it's been misnamed. Have you seen or eaten this before? It's a popular potluck and picnic dish in these parts, and in my experience, it's almost always placed with the desserts. I can't really figure out how it came to be called a salad--any ideas?

There are a lot of interesting textures going on in this dish. The pretzels are buttery, salty, and crunchy, while the middle layer is super sweet and luxuriously creamy. The top is in a world all its own--jiggly, squishy, fruity, and just plain weird. I can't tell you the last time I ate Jell-O®, but there's truly nothing like it on this earth. My boyfriend didn't love the wild mix of mouthfeels, but I liked it. Sweet and salty is something I really enjoy, and if you place it into your mouth correctly, each bite is a unique and delicious event.

Strawberry(-flavored) Pretzel Dessert Salad
Makes 12 generous servings
  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided use
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (6 ounce) package strawberry-flavored Jell-O®
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1-1/2 cups cold water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar; mix well and press mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until set. Don't go longer than 10 minutes, though--the cement that results will be very disappointing. Set the crust aside to cool completely.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, remaining 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Fold in whipped topping and spread mixture onto cooled crust. Place your pan in the fridge while you make the topping.
In a bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in cold water and allow to set for a while in the fridge, about an hour or so. When mixture is about the consistency of egg whites, pour and spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great retro-style dessert!

Happy Holidays.



Pam said...

I agree with you; I never had a need for a blender, no smoothies nor shakes here. But someone gave me a Ninja Prep Food Processor, it's great and I use it more than I thought I would. Great salad too!

Jenn said...

We call it Pittsburgh Pretzel Salad around these parts (for obvious reasons), and I'd never made it before we moved here. I put defrosted strawberries I the jello. Yummmmm.

grace said...

@Jenn: the original recipe did call for frozen strawberries, but i didn't have them and am too cheap to buy them anyway. :)

Pam said...

My girlfriend made this for me once and I wasn't so sure about it until I took a bite and then I could barely stop myself from licking the pan. IT. IS. SO. GOOD!!!

Barbara said...

Shades of the 50's! We made salads like this so often.
I have a blender....someplace. I don't think I've used it in ages, or perhaps since I went on a smoothie jag years ago. Doubt it's as gorgeous as this one and it may not even work!

Angie's Recipes said...

That's a great SALAD, Grace.
I can live without a blender, but not without an immersion blender which I use almost daily!

Beth said...

I grew up eating jello salads, and I couldn't figure out the salad part either.
Oh, and I only use an immersion blender, and I don't miss its bigger cousin!

Betty said...

Jello salads are a great way to have dessert while feeling good about eating a salad. :)I've had this jello salad before, and it really is tasty!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

I have never had a jello salad but I wouldn't mind starting now! :D

Choc Chip Uru

~~louise~~ said...

Oh you lucky girl, Grace. I hear those things are amazing!!! I'm having a ball with my Nutra Bullet. I can just imagine what I would be doing with one of those Ninjas! (I've had a blender my whole adult life but never a Kitchen-Aid which I really should splurge for:)

I can't believe you made a Jell-O Pretzel Salad with your new "toy" now, that's really a nice blend of old and new. It looks so "purty" too.

Thanks for sharing, Grace. Have FUN with your new toy:)

Carolyn Jung said...

I was the same way; I didn't have a blender for eons. I had a mixer way before then. I, too, was not into the smoothie trend. But now I have one, and my husband makes smoothies nearly every day. It's an appliance that definitely comes in handy once you have one.

Anonymous said...

What a sweet and delectable salad....if only every salad tasted this good...we would love gorging on them any day...a delicious post as always,thanks :-)

pam said...

It's a salad so it's good for you.

Lisa said...

Funny how important it is with some foods to place each bite in your mouth correctly. I love the idea of this retro salad and its festive look!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

I have seen similar recipes and copied them down with the intent of trying it someday, and I never do. I really need to... Your pics have me wishing I had some in my fridge right now. Merry Christmas!!

Lisa-Marie said...

It looks good - like jelly cheesecake. Yum!

foodhoe said...

I burned up a sunbeam then a waring blender before I invested in a Vitamin, which I've had for 5 years and it is going strong. My friend has a Ninja, which is a much smaller profile and seems to pack a pretty good wallop. I suppose that if the Vitamix ever kicks the bucket, I'm looking at the Ninja.

That salad reminds me of my youth when we had odd jello salady things, I'm glad to see a comeback!