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Back in the day, congealed salads were a familiar friend on Southern tables for every occasion, from holiday spreads to make-ahead meals. With its signature jiggle and attention-grabbing hue, a gelatin salad might seem so wrong to some, but it's always tasted so right to Southerners. Citrusy delights speckled with grapes, nectarines, and cherries always made a bright entrance, but a certain tomato-inspired recipe might've been the ultimate staple when Mama was expecting company: tomato aspic.This ranch-infused rendition, submitted by Nel Beck of Fort Payne, Alabama, ran in our September 1983 edition of Southern Living. A passionate love for ranch dressing runs deep here in the South, and this ranch tomato aspic makes a statement on any spread. With chopped green pepper and celery giving a lovely crunch, this recipe makes a case for skipping those lime gelatin packets—A little expected, no?—and going with a tomatoey kick instead. This Christmas, bring back this lost classic with an herby ranch twist.


Credit: Jennifer Causey

Recipe Summary

4 hrs 15 mins
15 mins
Serves 10 (serving size: 1 slice)


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Soften gelatin in1/4 cup cold water. Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil; add gelatin mixture, stirring until dissolved. Add next 5 ingredients; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat, and cool; stir in mayonnaise.

  • Chill until consistency of unbeaten egg white. Stir in green pepper and celery. Pour mixture into a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 6-cup mold; chill until firm, 4 hours. Unmold on lettuce leaves, if desired.