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Cherry Cola Salad

If your upbringing was anything like mine then you may have grown up eating such “salads” as Watergate salad, ambrosia, and strawberry pretzel salad. Instead of being those healthy salads experts are always advising we eat more of, these salads have a unifying factor in that they all contain Jell-o and fruit. In the old days, between 1900 and 1950, the use of the term salad meant something cold and many of these dishes were kept that temperate by setting them in gelatin. In the the 1950s and 1960s and super sweet versions of these gelatin dishes became popular, more desserts than salads to be sure. But, that doesn’t stop them from being utterly nostalgic and delicious!

This cherry cola salad uses cherry cola in place of part of the water to set the cherry Jell-o. Then a mixture of canned pineapple, Maraschino cherries, and chopped pecans is folded in before the gelatin can set.

Cherry Cola Salad

You’ll need to only use canned pineapple for this recipe, as fresh can keep the Jell-o from setting up correctly. Once this mix is firm and has been refrigerated a while then you can move on to the toppings.

Cherry Cola Salad

A simple arrangement of Cool Whip and more Maraschino cherries on top makes for a beautiful presentation. Those sweet cherries are a treat I often keep in the fridge as an indulgent snack, but tasting them in this recipe, heightened by the cherry cola and the cherry Jell-o, made the cherry flavor really stand out.

Cherry Cola Salad

This wonderfully sweet, playful dessert reminds me of my childhood every time I make it. And, it’s great for warm weather cookouts and potlucks- though you may have to defend the use of the word “salad” when you serve it!

Serves 8

4h 40m prep time

20m cook time

316 calories

Rated 4 out of 5
Rated by 2 reviewers

Allergens: Nuts

  • 2 (3 oz) packages of cherry Jell-O
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 (10-oz) jar Maraschino cherries, divided
  • 14 oz (1 3/4 cups) Cherry Coke
  • 1 (8 oz) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
  1. Pour cola into medium bowl and set aside for at least 15 minutes while preparing other ingredients.
  2. Bring water to boil and then combine with Jell-o. Stir until dissolved and remove from het. Add almond extract and stir before pouring into a large bowl. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. While Jell-O is cooling combine pineapple, half the cherries, and pecans.
  3. Pour Coca-Cola into Jell-O slowly and then stir gently to combine. Fold in pineapple mixture into Jell-O, then add to serving dish. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours. When ready to serve top Jell-O with whipped topping and dot with reserved cherries.

Recipe adapted from Ramshackle Pantry.

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