Completely Board Post #5: Jello Pretzel Salad

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014


You know how are there some foods that you think probably should disgust you, but for some reason you just can’t make yourself not want them?  They’re usually born out of the 60s and 70s, the decades of all things processed being thrown into a casserole dish together.

For me this Jello Pretzel Salad falls into that category.  I feel like I shouldn’t have wanted it.  I tried not to want it.  I couldn’t stop wanting it.  I wanted it so badly that even though the pin I pinned initially went to just a photo, I hunted down the recipe that went with the photo.  I found it over at The Girl Who Eats Everything (consider this your non-vegan site warning).  She posted the recipe noting a source of Lisa Poulsen.  There was no link to her site if she has one.

As in Septembers past, I like to have a little something sweet for my veggieversary (7 years today!).  I was initially planning on making a cake for today and saving this post for later in the week, but plans change and I just didn’t get to the cake yet.  It will be coming later in the month.   But for now, let me introduce you to a vegan, gluten-free, soy-free “jello” pretzel salad.

Vegan "jello" pretzel salad

We’ve had some nasty weather this week, and it’s already not the most photogenic of dishes so the picture isn’t as pretty as I wish it were. But, let me tell you, the photo does not do the tastiness of this dish justice.  My lovely testers had seconds the first night and there have been third (and possibly fourth helpings since then).  It’s kinda labor intensive and pricey, but it’s a great treat that will show up again.  Our household of three gives it six very enthusiastic thumbs up.  We decided it would be perfect to take to a pot luck or cookout.

The real difference between the original and this one is that I didn’t have anything to use for Cool Whip (although I hear that So Delicious is coming out with one soon).  So, I made a homemade vanilla pudding/filling that I’ve made before and mixed that with the cream cheese and sugar.  Instead of a fluffy center, this one had a cream cheesy-custardy center.  Honestly, I think I liked that better than I would have the other anyway.

So here ya go…

Vegan “Jello” Pretzel Salad


  • 1  – 8 oz bag of gluten free pretzels (i used the little round ones from Ener-g. It’s the only one I know that’s soy-free), chopped/crushed
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup soy free earth balance
  • 1 pkg Simply Delish strawberry dessert jel  (I found it at this great little local store that carries a lot of gluten free & vegan items.  I’ve seen similar items at my local Asian market)
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, washed, capped, and sliced
  • 1 carton Daiya plain cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 recipe Vanilla Filling (recipe follows)


  1. Combine pretzels, brown sugar, and melted Earth Balance and press into a greased 9 X 13 pan. You can use more EB if the crust isn’t sticking together and make the pretzels more crushed than I did. Bake @ 350 for 10 minutes.  (those instructions about not sticking together came from the original recipe, but even though mine didn’t look like it would stay together, it did…i like the slightly bigger pieces of pretzel for crunch – you can see the size i used in the photo)
  2. Make vanilla filling (recipe follows). Let cool for a minute or two but not so long that it starts to set more.
  3. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in vanilla filling. Spread mixture over cooled crust make sure you spread completely to the edges to create a seal so your jello doesn’t leak through. Cover the filling layer with a piece of parchment paper so it doesn’t form a pudding skin. Refrigerate.  (it will need to set about 30-40 minutes before you add the strawberry layer)
  4. Make dessert according to directions and stir in the strawberries. Refrigerate until partially set (mine took about 30 minutes) *If it is not set enough it will leak through your cream cheese layer and make your pretzels soggy.
  5. Pour/spread strawberry layer over the vanilla layer.  Refrigerate until completely set.


Vanilla Pudding/Filling

3 cups almond milk, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan, combine 1 cup of almond milk and cornstarch with a fork until cornstarch is dissolved.

Whisk in the remaining milk, the sugar and salt.

Whisking occasionally, bring mixture to a boil over medium heat.

As soon as the mixture boils, reduce heat to low and begin whisking continuously until it filling has thickened. This should take about 7 minutes.

Stir in vanilla.


  5 comments for “Completely Board Post #5: Jello Pretzel Salad

  1. September 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Yes! I do know what you mean about dishes that should disgust me, but I want them. Like tuna noodle casserole- also from the 70’s time period. I’ve never had it, but I’d love to try the original. And this dessert you have made here looks good to me. I’d like to blame it on the pregnancy, but I just can’t. 😉

    • drsimpson
      September 9, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      I’m glad you can’t blame it on the pregnancy. If you could, I’d be utterly without excuse and feeling mighty alone 😉

  2. September 9, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    So very 70s.

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