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What Is Dessert Salad?

By B. Miller
Updated May 16, 2024
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Dessert salad is a sweet dessert often made with fruit. Despite the name, this dish does not contain vegetables or lettuce. It is a popular dessert for summery meals or outdoor parties because it tends to be lighter and very refreshing because it is chilled. In many cases, dessert salad is made with a mixture of fruits, as well as additional items to make it sweeter and hold the salad together such as gelatin or whipped cream. Ambrosia, for example, is a popular dessert of this type, often made with heavy cream, fresh fruits, and other ingredients such as pistachios.

The ease of making dessert salad makes it a popular dish for potlucks, picnics, or other large family or community meals. It is fairly easy to invent a recipe, or there are dozens to be found online. Many people find that preparing the dish with canned fruits is slightly easier, though it is certainly possible to use fresh fruits as well. Canned peaches, mandarin oranges, and even maraschino cherries are some of the most popular fruit options for dessert salad; pineapples and pears are also good options because many people like them. For people who prefer to use fresh fruits, mixes of summer berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries can be delicious.

Of course, some additions are necessary to make the dish a true dessert salad rather than a simple fruit salad. For this reason, whipped cream, heavy cream, or gelatin are some of the most popular options because they give the dish more weight, and help to make it a more filling dessert. Some people might also add sugar or sour cream. Nuts such as pistachios are sometimes added as well. Others will even add things such as soft candy, pudding, or sweetened rice, depending on the other ingredients in the salad.

Generally, a dessert salad will need to be made at least a few hours in advance and then chilled in a mold to give it time to set. It should then be kept cold when it is served. If it will be consumed by a number of different people, it is important to indicate the ingredients in the salad - particularly if it contains nuts - in case anyone has allergies. A dessert salad is an excellent option that is enjoyed by many different types of people, and represents something a little different than the more traditional cookies, cakes, and pies often found at events.

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Discussion Comments

By Wisedly33 — On Jul 14, 2014

@Scrbblchick -- Strawberry pretzel salad is probably my husband's favorite dessert. As long as the pretzels stay crisp, it's awesome.

I remember my mom making something called "Seafoam salad" when I was a kid. I know she used lime gelatin and maybe sour cream or something else to make it creamy and foamy. It was light green when it came out of the mold, and we loved it. I don't remember the exact ingredients except I know she used chopped pecans in it.

I'm sure there are numerous recipes online for it. Dessert salads have kind of gone out of fashion which is a shame because there really are some good recipes out there.

By Scrbblchick — On Jul 14, 2014

And then there's the ultimate dessert salad: the strawberry pretzel salad. There are many recipes online for this fabulous dessert.

Mostly, you just mix pretzel pieces, chopped nuts and melted butter for the crust. Then, you layer a cream cheese and sugar mixture over it, then a mixture of strawberry gelatin. Float sliced strawberries in the mixture and allow to set.

Strawberry pretzel salad has to be one of the more popular dishes at potlucks and picnics because it's just so darn good! It was mostly a regional Southern thing for years and then it picked up speed and now is popular nationwide.

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