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Perfection Salad

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2 (3 ounce) packages lemon Jello
2 (0.25 ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup sugar
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple tidbits
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 cups chopped green cabbage
2 cups shredded baby carrots
2 cups sliced celery

Perfection Salad

If you are skeptical about gelatin salads, give this beauty a try. It's fresh, crisp, creamy, and crunchy. Yum.

  • Serves 12
  • Medium

About This Recipe

I know that gelatin salads are out of style, but I think they should come back. Notwithstanding the way the product is made, gelatin makes delicious recipes. And they don’t have to be virulent green or filled with strange ingredients. Like this recipe for Perfection Salad.

This gelatin salad is a fabulous and wonderful vintage recipe made by adding chopped veggies to a sweet and tangy gelatin. It was popular in the 1940s and 1950s. My version uses cabbage, celery, carrots, and pineapple suspended in a sweet and tart lemon gelatin. You have to use plain unflavored gelatin for this recipe in addition to the classic Jell-O for best results. (I also use that product in Divinity Frozen Fruit Salad, another delicious classic.)

When I was making this, my husband looked at me askance. He just could not believe that those ingredients could combine into something good. But you know, you just have to trust vintage recipes.

Then he took the first bite. His eyes widened and he exclaimed, “this is so good!”

And he’s right.  Enjoy this salad yourself.

Tips for the best Perfection Salad:

  • Make sure that the gelatin is completely dissolved before you do anything else. If it isn’t your salad will be inedible.
  • Remember to add the cold water to the gelatin mixture. I often forget this and then have to start over.
  • Let the salad chill until it’s completely set. It will cut beautifully into squares.

Why this recipe for Perfection Salad works:

  • This recipe is a great way to add produce to your diet. One of the problems I have with lots of produce is that you just don’t feel like cooking them when it’s time to eat, so they just go bad. This salad helps “preserve” them for four days and you can just take it out of the fridge, cut a square, and eat it. What could be easier?
  • The combination of tart gelatin with crunchy and sweet vegetables is really delicious. Add some savory and slightly salty, creamy and smooth mayo for the perfect contrast.

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Combine the lemon Jello, unflavored gelatin, and sugar in a large bowl and stir to combine.


Drain the pineapple tidbits, reserving the juice. Set the tidbits aside.


Put the reserved pineapple liquid in a large 4 to 6 cup microwave-safe glass measuring cup. Add enough water to measure 4 cups. Heat this mixture in the microwave on high power until the liquid boils; this should take 3 to 5 minutes. You can also boil the liquid in a pan on the stovetop.


Add the boiling liquid carefully to the Jello and gelatin mixture. Stir with a metal spoon until the gelatin and sugar dissolve completely. Take a small amount of the liquid in the spoon and tilt it to see if any grains of sugar are still visible. If they are, keep stirring until the grains dissolve. Then stir in the lemon juice and another 2 cups of cold water.


Put the cabbage, pineapple tidbits, celery, and shredded carrots in a 9" x 13" glass baking dish and mix.


Pour the gelatin mixture over the vegetables in the baking dish. Chill in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours or until set.


Cut into squares to serve. I like to top mine with a bit of mayonnaise for a salty and creamy contrast.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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