PreStart to Finish: 15 minutes
Difficulty Level: Beginner
There are many possible substitutions and optional add-in ingredients for this ambrosia-like salad, which enable you to tailor the recipe to dietary restrictions or personal preferences. Here are three ways to prepare this Dreamsicle-inspired salad -- adapted from a Jell-O’s creamy mandarin orange dessert.
- 10 to 12 ounces canned mandarin oranges
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 (3-ounce) package orange Jell-O gelatin mix
- 8 ounces frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
Drain the mandarin oranges, reserving the juice. Set the orange segments and juice aside.
Place the softened cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Whip it with an electric mixer until the cream cheese becomes fluffy and smooth enough that you can stir it.
Add the lemon juice, then the powdered gelatin mix to the bowl as you continue beating the cream cheese. Pour the ingredients slowly to avoid splashing them. Set the mixer aside.
Fold the thawed whipped dessert topping into the cream cheese with a spatula or wooden spoon. Mix the mandarin oranges into the salad in the same manner, folding the ingredients gently to avoid breaking the orange segments. Add some of the reserved mandarin orange juice if the salad is thicker than desired.
Refrigerate the salad in a covered bowl or container until you are ready to serve it. Freeze it for 1 to 2 hours before serving it to create a more ice cream-like dessert.
Substitute Cottage Cheese for Cream Cheese
Substitute 8 ounces of cottage cheese for 8 ounces of cream cheese.
- Do not beat or whip the cottage cheese. Stir the lemon juice and orange gelatin mix into it with a spatula or wooden spoon.
- Fold the whipped dessert topping into the mixture followed by the mandarin oranges. Add reserved mandarin orange juice, as needed, if the salad is thicker than desired.
- Refrigerate but do not freeze the Dreamsicle salad that contains cottage cheese. The texture of cottage cheese changes when frozen.
Substitute Instant Pudding Mix for Cream Cheese
Substitute 2 (3-ounce) packets of instant vanilla pudding mix for 6 ounces of cream cheese.
- Put lemon juice, orange gelatin mix, instant pudding mixes, 1/2 cup of reserved mandarin orange juice and 1 cup boiling water in a mixing bowl. Stir them together until the powdered mixes dissolve completely.
- Fold the whipped dessert topping, then mandarin oranges into the salad with a spatula or wooden spoon.
- Refrigerate the salad in a covered bowl or freeze it for up to 2 hours.
- Any vanilla flavor of pudding, such as plain vanilla, French vanilla or vanilla bean, is acceptable. You can use white chocolate-flavored pudding, if desired.
Reduced Fat and Sugar-Free Dreamsicle Salads
Substitute reduced fat or fat-free cream cheese, whipped dessert topping or cottage cheese to create a lighter salad.
Replace the orange gelatin mix, whipped dessert topping and instant pudding mix with sugar-free alternatives to prepare a sugar-free salad. Make sure that the mandarin oranges do not contain any added sugar, if eliminating sugar is critical.
Optional Mix-In Ingredients
Enhance the salad by folding in up to 1 1/2 cups of additional ingredients.
Add any mix-ins when you fold the mandarin oranges into the salad.