Lime Cabbage Salad

Today’s recipe comes from my grandma’s files. It doesn’t have a title, so it’s possible this salad originally had a fancy name like Ambrosia or something like that. I don’t run into a lot of jello recipes that call for cabbage so of course I had to give this one a try. It’s possible my grandma scribbled it down in the 1960’s, but my gut tells me it’s 1950’s.

The Recipe


  • 1 – 3 oz. package of lime jello
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup small (mini) marshmallows
  • 1 cup drained crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup grated cabbage
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • Maraschino cherries (optional)

Top tip: As long as you can remember what you need, just throw one cup of everything in there.


  1. Dissolve lime jello in the boiling water. Stir in the marshmallows to melt.

2. Drain the pineapple, saving the juice. Once the marshmallows are melted, add everything but the cherries and whipping cream.

3. Mix together then fold in the whipped cream. Pour into a mold and dot with cherries. The recipe simply says “cherry” so I’m assuming this means maraschino cherries. All signs point to maraschinos.

Note: If you want your cherries to show up at the top of the salad when you unmold, gently push them down with a knife or a spoon. Only half of my cherries sank to the bottom before setting.

4. Refrigerate overnight or until set.

After doing a bit of research I discovered that this combination of ingredients isn’t as unusual as I thought it was. I’ve found a few versions that call for carrots, and others that omit the vegetables completely. Those ones are called Sea Foam Salad, which are actually much more like my grandma’s Emerald Salad than whatever this one is.

I also feel compelled to add that my kitchen has been torn up for months now and I could not find any platters large enough to hold my big ring mold. As a result, my photos are a bit lackluster. But in my defense, it would take a lot more than fancy lighting and a pretty platter to make a slice of this salad look appetizing.

There isn’t much else to say about this particular recipe, but I thought it might be fun to add a little bit of history about maraschino cherries, since this is, oddly enough, the first time I’ve used them in my historic food.

A Brief History of Maraschino Cherries

Black Marasca cherry liqueur has been used for cordials and preserves for centuries, but one particular recipe by the Italian Luxardo family in the 1820’s made liqueur-soaked cherries the go-to ingredient for desserts and cocktails across the globe. The Luxardo maraschino cherry tradition continued for generations despite devastating losses during WWII.

Meanwhile, at the turn of the 20th century, Americans wanted to create a cheap, mass-produced alternative to European maraschinos with locally-grown Royal Ann cherries and without soaking them in the traditional liqueur. There were continued problems with color and flavor loss until an experimental combination of synthetic dyes and additives resulted in the bright red maraschino cherry we are familiar with today. Unfortunately, the texture wasn’t so great and the shelf life was short, which was a problem that was eventually solved by Ernest Wiegand of the Oregon Agricultural College in 1925. American “maraschinos” became incredibly popular in the 1930’s and are now something of a symbol of retro Americana food.

The Verdict

The only problem with this jello salad is the texture. The squishy foamy bits are fine, but the stringy and crunchy bits are less fine. The flavor is actually pretty good though, and nobody would know cabbage is in there unless you told them. This one is very tough to rate because I did like it, but I’m not sure your average retro jello newbie would. Regardless, it’s an excellent candidate for a midcentury-themed party! Just off-putting enough to be funny without being gross.

3.5 / 5


2 thoughts on “Lime Cabbage Salad

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