The old-school star of the holiday spread 

Hector Sanchez

What anchors an Easter feast better than a wiggly, jewel-toned congealed salad? A staple at church potlucks and lunch at Grandma’s house, gelatin molds are a Southern entertaining essential. A dish that got its start in Europe, congealed salad made its way across the pond, becoming a colorful centerpiece on the American family’s table—especially during the heyday of Jell-O products in the 1960s. Newcomers, don’t be alarmed by the jiggly gelatin’s vibrant hue and the recipe’s assortment of ingredients—take just one bite, and you’ll be hooked.

A Lemon-Lime Gelatin Mold is the star of my grandmother’s Easter spread. She grew up in the tiny town of Lapine, Alabama, about 30 miles south of Montgomery, where celebrating Easter meant a new Sunday school dress, a wicker basket filled with lime green crinkle-cut tissue paper shreds topped with colorful chocolate eggs, and a family meal. My grandmother (whom I call Nanny) prepared the flavorful gelatin mold alongside her mother, Hattie Mae, for their holiday lunch every year.

Nanny continued the tradition when she had children of her own, making the pastel green congealed salad for her family on Easter Sunday. Even my mother, one of the pickiest eaters I know, raves about Nanny’s delicious dish. To me, the best part of the recipe is how easy it is to prepare.

To make Nanny's Lemon-Lime Gelatin Mold, start by mixing 1 3-oz. pkg. lemon gelatin, 1 3-oz. pkg. lime gelatin, and 24 full-size marshmallows in a large bowl. Pour 3 cups of boiling water over the gelatin mixture, stirring until melted and gelatins are dissolved. Chill. In another bowl, blend 2 small pkg. cream cheese and 2 Tbsp. vinegar until smooth. Add 1 No. 2 can crushed pineapple with juice to bowl, and blend thoroughly. Add 1 cup chopped pecans to bowl. Chill. In an 8- by 12-inch baking dish, combine the gelatin mixture and the cream cheese mixture. Chill until mold is set.

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Brighten up your Easter spread this year with an old-school congealed salad recipe—a classic Southern dish that evokes fond memories and never goes out of style.