~ No one will ever guess how much healthier this pretty, rainbow-colored Jell-O salad is! It’s high in protein … and incredibly easy to make! ~
This Recipe Is: • Make Ahead • Gluten Free •
Let’s just talk about the elephant in the room, shall we?
Or, rather, let’s talk about the Jell-O salad in my refrigerator.
I know what’s on your mind. Jell-O isn’t exactly the most healthy food, so why is THK running a Jell-O salad??
Shelley and I actually spent quite a long time discussing this (as we happily munched some of my “healthier” Layered Ribbon Jell-O Salad I wanted her to try). We know it’s not our typical recipe type. But we realized something …
You’re all eating Jell-O anyway, right? (I mean … we were eating it.) So why not make it high-protein and healthier? (Like, with an impressive three cups of Greek yogurt – no kidding!)
And that’s why this recipe is appearing here. Poof. Like a magical rainbow!
My grandma (who stands at a whopping five feet tall and is the cutest-darn-thing you’ve ever seen) has been making this salad for years and years and years. She’s made it for nearly every single family function we’ve had. Birthday parties, wedding showers, baby showers, holiday meals …
Seriously, just look at it! It’s a party in a 9×13 dish! It just isn’t a family get-together for us without this salad!
It’s always been my Grandma who makes this. Well … until I went a little crazy …
One of the responsibilities that comes with buying a house with “great entertaining space” is hosting family parties. (Which I love!) But then I had a (totally crazy) moment where I thought I could handle every single part of hostessing, plus I’d make “The Salad.”
Do you ever do that? Especially when I’m a liiitttlllle stressed out (like cooking my first Easter dinner for the whole family, for example!), I somehow rationalize in my brain that I don’t need any help at all. Nope. I will clean the entire house from top to bottom by myself. (I have actually reorganized my closets before a party. I’m not sure why. Guests don’t usually make sure my tops are organized by season AND color.) And, of course, I also volunteer to cook the majority of the meal. “Oh no! I’m fine! I’ll make it!”
Please tell me I’m not the only one. Please?
So yeah, I offered to host a big family holiday AND make my grandma’s famous salad. (Oh right … and I wanted to healthify her version, without anyone knowing. No pressure.)
I was nervous. I couldn’t mess this up. I couldn’t let my super-sweet grandma down.
And ya know what? It turned out perfect. (Exhale …)
It was actually kind of funny when I revealed it had been heathified! Not only had no one noticed the change … but actually nobody even believed me when I confessed! (Whew!) They seriously had no idea that I’d subbed out the sour cream my grandma uses, and replaced it with nonfat (but high-protein!) Greek yogurt.
It was probably the easiest healthification project I’ve ever tried! And nobody suspected a thing!
Oh – and all of you who are looking at those pretty, pretty layers and thinking this salad is incredibly difficult to make … you would be kinda wrong. No, actually, you’d be totally wrong. It’s super simple!
Total time, from start to finish, is a long time. I’ll be honest about that. But the hands-on time is actually blissfully short. The Jell-O just needs a nice rest in the fridge to chill between layers … which requires absolutely no effort on your part.
Remember when we made Easy, Healthy Applesauce Granola? And you just had to quick stir it every little while? But you really didn’t need to do much else, right?
Well, this is very similar. It’s four steps:
- Mix up a box of Jell-O.
- Pour half of it into your pan and chill.
- Meanwhile, mix in some Greek yogurt to the second half.
- Pour that in and let it chill some more.
Then repeat with the next color. We’re talking stirring and pouring here, friends … that’s it! Told ya it was easy!
So while the Jell-O chills, so can you. Or you can reorganize your closets. I won’t judge. (Actually, maybe I’ll come over and help! I’ll bring my label maker! Ohhhh … this could be super fun!)
Know what else is really fun? You could make a red and blue Jell-O salad to celebrate the Fourth of July! (Or red and green for Christmas … or orange and purple for Halloween … or shades of green for St. Patrick’s Day!)
I won’t be attending a BBQ like many of you this weekend … because I’m in my cousin’s wedding! My “peanut” (as I’ve called her since she was tiny). She’s all grown up now and I’m so excited to stand beside her when she says “I do!” to a really great man. She’s always loved fireworks, and now she’ll have honorary anniversary fireworks every year … the wedding is on July 4th! (And no, Grandma isn’t making ribbon Jell-O for the reception – I knew you’d ask!)
But for those of you who aren’t in a wedding and are doing more typical Fourth of July things like going to picnics … just imagine how impressed your friends will be when you walk in with this salad!
Oh! And total bonus … this Jell-O salad is 100% make-ahead! It keeps beautifully in the fridge for days! So no worries that you’ll be missing any part of the parade – you can make this in advance!
Whichever version you choose to make, I hope you have a fabulously fantastic holiday weekend! Happy Fourth of July, friends!
Looking for More Great Picnic Ideas? Check Out Our:
- Rainbow Pepper Salsa
- Corn, Edamame and Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette
- Healthy Sugared-Vanilla Yogurt Fruit Dip
- Mexican Fiesta Black Bean Hummus
- Italian Cannellini Hummus with Basil and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- 6 3-oz. boxes of Jell-O gelatin (any flavor)
- 6 3/4 cups water, divided
- 3 cups nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
- Decide on your color pattern (the order for the colors of Jell-O you've selected), and begin by working with the color that will go on the bottom.
- Boil 1 cup of water in the microwave.
- Add 1 packet of Jell-O to the boiling water and stir until completely dissolved.
- Pour ½ cup of this liquid into a 9x13 pan to create a "clear" layer, tilting pan for even coverage if necessary (see note).
- Refrigerate until set (see note).
- While the first layer sets, add ½ cup Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons cold water to the remaining liquid Jell-O for the "cloudy" layer.
- Pour the liquid for your "cloudy" layer on top of the completely set clear layer.
- Refrigerate again until set.
- Repeat this process with each color of Jell-O to create alternating "clear" and "cloudy" layers in each color you've chosen.
- Refrigerate until serving.
Achieving even layers: To ensure that each new layer of gelatin liquid spreads evenly across the entire pan, you may need to tilt the pan slightly.
Chilling time: The layers of Jell-O will set up rather quickly because they're so thin. At first, the layers may be set in as little as 10-15 minutes.
To make thicker layers as I did for the Fourth of July Jell-O Salad:
For each clear layer, use 1 entire box of Jell-O with 1 cup boiling water. Similarly, for each cloudy layer, use 1 entire box of Jell-O with 1 cup boiling water, plus 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons cold water. You can choose any colors you'd like, depending on the holiday or your party's theme colors.