Looking for a unique and interesting side dish for a recipe for your fave dessert at the beginning of the line at Luby’s? Inspired by Luby’s Congeal, this lime Jello salad is super easy to make and has a unique flavor that every gelatin lover just loves!
So I’ve made mention only, like, a gazillion times that I can’t have gluten. And it’s not a choice thing. If I had a CHOICE I’d eat a dang croissant. I really miss those. Eating out can be a real bear and a half when you have any kind of dietary restrictions. I’ve seen vegetarians get sick after eating a vegetable plate that must have had some hidden animal protein in it and I’ve heard the fears from parents whose kiddos have nut allergies and it doesn’t matter what the issue is if you can’t have something eating out can always be a risk.
When my grandmother and I went to visit my parents in the Spring we found out that I could eat at Luby’s, a cafeteria and Texas INSTITUTION, I was super stoked. We ate there all of the time when I was a kid. I couldn’t get my old favorites, the liver and onions (what? it’s really good!) or the salmon patty but I could have the blackened fish with a heaping ass ton of tartar sauce. I LOVE their tartar sauce. Hated it as a kid. Love the heck out of it now. It’s probably the mayo. I love me some mayo! Like, for real. It’s bordering on of gross, maybe. Anyway…
Super stoked about a new place to go, Rob and I run out to Luby’s for dinner on one of the first nights I get back home. You HAVE to get the congeal, I tell him. “Congeal?” Um, yeah… not the most appetizing name for a dish but MMM is that freaking business good. Basically, Frosted Lime Congeal is a tangy lime jello salad with pineapple, nuts, and cottage cheese. It’s served on cold little white places (sometimes on top of a lettuce leaf, for some weird reason) with a little swirl of whipped cream and a blackberry. You can check out a pic of that business out on Yelp. Since childhood, it’s one of my most favorite things to eat of all time.
But the local Luby’s has made me sick every. single. time. we have visited it. Last time I got potatoes and smack in the middle of it was a big noodle. It’s not Luby’s fault and though I can’t eat there, here, I’m still a huge fan. Being a fast-paced cafeteria, they don’t specifically cater to my gluten issues and so, with a sad face, we’ve stopped going. But dang do I miss that congeal now that I’ve learned to love it all over again!
So I looked online and I found a recipe but it makes 16-20 servings and, Imma eat that business right up. I literally cannot have massive amounts of jello anything in this house, because I will make myself sick on it. Apparently both Jello and mayo = no sense making this one a double whammy. So I played around with the recipe and halved it and modified it so that it is so much easier to make. You can find the original Congeal recipe that I borrowed from the San Antonio Express News here. Now I’m going to tell you, this recipe has a LOT of mayo in it (remember how I love mayo? haha) and it might seem like too much mayo, but I’m going out on a limb to say that unless you just hate the stuff, this isn’t too much mayo even though it sounds like it. Like, even to me, when I first made it I was all, this is freaking nuts, it’s mayo salad! but give it a go because it’s what makes this dessert surprisingly tangy and different from your run of the mill dessert and I swear it’s just enough to add a little zip, not overwhelm.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it seemed like the PERFECT time to share this recipe. It’s a great accompaniment to your festivity’s spread, a unique bit of zing to cleanse the palate and provide a refreshing pseudo dessert. Make it for Thanksgiving, and I bet you’ll be asked to make it for Christmas, too!
Homemade Lime Congeal Recipe – Luby’s Inspired Jello Salad
This recipe is tangy, sweet and a cool refreshing treat that literally everybody I have ever introduced it to has just loved. The original recipe calls for a bowl of ice and lots of babysitting, which I’m not down for, so we’ve scaled things to easier to accommodate proportions and hit up quick turns in the freezer using an 8.5 cup rubber container to make things faster and easier! I also increased the nuts because we’re a nut loving family around here, but I’ve also included the amount for a salad more true to the Luby’s makeup. Both ways are great, just cater to the taste of you and yours.
- 3-ounce package of lime gelatin
- 3-ounce package of lemon gelatin
- 1 1/4 c. boiling water
- 1/2 c. + 2 T. mayonnaise (I have only used Duke’s Brand, so far)
- 3/4 c. whole milk
- 8 oz. large curd cottage cheese
- 1/2 c. pecan pieces (or 1/4 c. to stay truer to the Luby’s recipe)
- 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, well drained
- Pour contents of gelatin packets into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add your boiling water. Whisk well, about 2 minutes.
- Mix together mayonnaise and milk until smooth in a separate bowl. Once well incorporated, quickly whisk into the hot gelatin mixture. Transfer to an 8.5 cup rubber container and place the lid on top. Alternatively, you can use a 9×13 glass casserole dish. Put in the freezer for 10-30 minutes depending on your freezer settings. You want the gelatin to begin thickening and setting up, only about a quarter to halfway to being “done”. You can stir every once in a while if you want so that you don’t have any setup gelatin without any of your add-ins that are coming up, but that’s not necessary. My lazy self does NOT do that.
- Add nuts, pineapple and cottage cheese (I just eyeball half of a 16-ounce container, the only size of large curd I can find) and fold into the thickened gelatin until well incorporated. Replace the lid and refrigerate at least several hours until fully firm. If you’re still on the fast-track, you can return your salad to the freezer for 10-20 minutes to fully congeal and you can get to eating it without the long wait<– this is what my impatient self does :)