Strawberry Pretzel Salad Is the Unexpected Hero of Summer

Yes, this is a salad. Here’s why you should make it.

Published June 28, 2022.

Salad and I have had a rocky relationship. I’ll eat pretty much anything, but you’ll be hard pressed to tempt me with some dressed greens instead of a steamer basket of juicy dumplings or a bowl of richly aromatic curry.

Over the years, however, I’ve become an outspoken salad proponent, largely due to the fact that I have ditched “sad salads” and made them with heapings of things I find delicious, such as fresh summer fruit or Sichuan chicken.

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And when it comes to Strawberry Pretzel Salad, the idea of throwing delicious ingredients together under the guise of a “salad” truly wins out in this sweet-and-salty, unquestionably dessert-ish dish.

Cream cheese. Pretzels. Heavy cream. Gelatin. Twelve tablespoons of butter. This isn’t the shopping list of someone you’d expect to be whipping up a salad, but it’s exactly what comprises this Midwestern favorite. 

Essentially perfect for any celebration, this three-layered dish features a crumbly, salty, crushed pretzel base, followed by a layer of cream cheese whipped topping, all covered with a homemade strawberry Jell-O. 

One word: delicious.

Of course, an important thing to keep in mind is that on a Midwestern dinner table, this dish would be served alongside servings of meat and veg as a side dish, not a dessert. It could very well be the perfect contrast to all your favorite traditional mealtime spreads.

With warmer weather comes the desire for something cool and fruity, and when you can choose between this or a bowl of mixed greens, is it really a decision at all?

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