Have you ever had that jello salad made with cool whip, cottage cheese, and some type of fruit like pineapple or oranges? We call it “the green stuff” because we often make it with lime jello, but we’ve used orange many times, too. It is one of my all-time favorites for family gatherings.
I decided to try my hand at creating a healthier version, and the result thus far is this creamy orange salad. No, it is not exactly the same. It’s not quite as thick and lacks some of the texture the cottage cheese brings, but it is still very good in its own right.
I’ve made this recipe twice, and it makes enough to serve at a gathering, which is what I did the second time around. The orange color comes from the secret ingredient: carrot! Yes, I’ve been finding all sorts of uses for carrots as of late. The second time I made this recipe, I used a larger carrot than I should have and the result was an orange color that was a little more orange than I wanted (as you can see in the photo above). To be quite honest, it made me think of nacho cheese, which is really not what I was going for. But it still tasted great. So if you try this recipe, just be sure you don’t put in too much carrot!
The thickness comes in part from the coconut butter (note this is coconut butter not coconut oil, and in my opinion there’s a big difference), but the addition of xanthan and guar gum is what really thickens it up. I’ve been experimenting with using these gums in ice cream, so that’s how they ended up in this recipe. Actually, I’m pretty sure you could put this recipe in your ice cream freezer with good results. Mmmm… I’m having visions of orange creamsicles…
While I have been experimenting with xanthan and guar gum, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about them as ingredients yet. When I try this recipe again, I think I’m going to start with an agar base and see how that turns out. I’ve also thought about adding in some chunky tofu in place of the cottage cheese. If it turns out good, I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it!
- 3 c. almond milk
- ½ + ⅛ tsp. xanthan gum
- ½ + ⅛ tsp. guar gum
- ⅛ tsp. stevia powder**
- 3 T. xylitol (I used it in powdered sugar form)**
- ¼ tsp. orange flavor*
- 1 small to medium carrot (not too big!)
- ⅓ c. coconut butter
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 5 clementines or mandarin oranges, peeled, seeded & cut in chunks
- Put everything except the clementines in the blender and blend until smooth. It will thicken right away.
- If you don't have a high-powered blender, I'd suggest adding the xanthan and guar gum last and then blending right away so they don't have time to get clumpy.
- Stir in the clementines into the blended mixture and then keep the salad chilled until you're ready to serve it.
- I suggest chilling it for at least a couple hours before serving.
**You could definitely experiment with sweeteners in this recipe. I used stevia and xylitol to keep it as low glycemic as possible, but certainly there are other options.