With Easter coming up this weekend and spring finally beginning, it seemed an appropriate time to share a sweet, pastel-colored recipe with you. This Jell-O Foam Salad (or as we so eloquently referred to it–“foam”) is a recipe my great-grandmother used to make all the time, and I’m sure many of you have had it before. I’ve made this recipe myself a few times in recent years, and it always, always reminds me of Grammie. (You can read more of my reflections on my grandparents’ recipes in this blog post.) I made a few changes to the recipe this time in order to come up with this lactose-free version, and I’m so excited about it!
Foam is not at all difficult to make, with only four ingredients: Jell-O, crushed pineapple, cream cheese (I used lactose-free.), and Cool Whip (which I’ve replaced with whipped coconut cream). With so few ingredients, I must admit I was a little worried that I’d throw something off by switching out two of them. The problem with recipes involving gelatin is that they bring out my ability to fear the worst. Really though, all that could go wrong here is that it might not set properly, so the only thing we have to fear is fear itself (and whatever strange and unidentifiable ingredients make up a box of Jell-O). As you’ll likely be able to gather from the fact that I’m sharing this recipe with you at all, the gelatin did set without issue.
Let’s talk method and ingredients here before I turn you over to the recipe. For the crushed pineapple, make sure you choose the can of “crushed pineapple in pineapple juice” rather than the kind that’s packed in corn syrup as we will be using that juice to cook the Jell-O.
For the Jell-O, just pick out a flavor that you think you’d like with pineapple. Or choose a flavor based on which color looks most appetizing or which color of food dye you’re the least afraid of. We’ve rotated through “pink foam.” “orange foam,” and “green foam,” but the green variety (lime) was always my favorite, so that’s what I’ve used here.
The remaining two ingredients are the ones I chose to substitute in order to make this Jell-O salad lactose free. The cream cheese was a no-brainer. Our Kroger stocks lactose-free cream cheese right next to the regular cream cheese, so I just picked up a tub of that. If you don’t need your Jell-O foam salad to be lactose-free, 8 ounces of regular cream cheese will do just fine.
The whipped cream substitute was a little trickier to come up with, but after some research I found that coconut cream was worth a shot. I placed two cans of coconut milk in the fridge for 24 hours ahead of time to ensure that the solid cream would separate and rise to the top of the can, then scooped off the solid portion into a cold mixing bowl and whipped it with the electric mixer until it was smooth and airy.
I used Trader Joe’s coconut milk for this because it doesn’t have any thickeners or gums in it, and I didn’t want to run the risk of anything preventing it from acting as it should. Since you’ll only be using the solid cream for this recipe, you could opt to buy just one can of coconut cream instead of two cans of milk. Just make sure that you’re buying full-fat canned coconut milk rather than the “lite” versions or the varieties that come in a carton, which will not be thick enough.
Again, if you’re not following a lactose-free diet, the original recipe just calls for 8 ounces of Cool Whip, and you can opt for that. You won’t need to do anything but thaw it and then fold it in during the last step of the recipe.
Whether your weekend includes this green foam or not, have a blessed Easter!
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4 (NIV)
If you try this lactose-free Jell-O Foam Salad at home, I’d love to hear what you think! Share pictures with me on social media by tagging @thesavvyplate on Instagram or by mentioning my page The Savvy Plate Blog on Facebook!
Jell-O Foam Salad (lactose-free)
A lactose-free twist on a classic Jell-O salad recipe, perfect for serving as a simple dessert or side dish!
- 2 13 oz. cans full fat coconut milk (I prefer Trader Joe's brand. Do NOT use "lite" coconut milk or the kind from a carton.)
- 20 oz. can crushed pineapple (in pineapple juice)
- 8 oz. lactose-free cream cheese (Regular cream cheese will also work.)
- 3 oz. box Jell-O (Any flavor you like. My favorite is lime.)
24 hours in advance, place the canned coconut in the fridge to chill. This will allow the cream to separate and float to the top of the can.
Drain crushed pineapple, but don't throw the juice away! Set the solid pineapple aside for later.
Add the pineapple juice and the package of Jell-O to a saucepan. Stir to dissolve as much as possible. Bring to a boil, stirring often.
Place cream cheese in a bowl and pour Jell-O mixture over it. Use a fork to combine, breaking up the cream cheese. Refrigerate for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, place another clean mixing bowl in the fridge. A deep bowl will work best.
Scoop the top layer of solid coconut cream from both cans of coconut milk. Add all the cream to your chilled, clean mixing bowl. (Save the liquid for smoothies later!) Using an electric mixer, beat the coconut cream at a low speed until smooth. You won't want any clumps remaining. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer until you achieve a whipped and airy texture. (Though it likely won't seem quite as airy as regular whipped cream.)
Gently fold the crushed pineapple and whipped coconut cream into the Jell-O. Return to fridge allow 1-2 hours for it to chill and set before serving.