Ever since I saw the recipe for Strawberry Pretzel Salad at MyBakingAddiction, I’ve wanted to create a sugar-free, lower-carb version. It took a couple tries to get the proportions right, but here it is!
Why is it called Strawberry Pretzel Salad instead of Strawberry Pretzel Dessert, or Strawberry Pretzel Pie? It seems that back in the days when Jello was a new-fangled thing, anything that combined jello with fruit was labeled “salad.” And this is an old-timey recipe. The fact that it’s survived tells you it’s good! (Unlike one of my mom’s favorite jello salads, which featured grated carrots in orange jello, topped with cream cheese and grated cheddar cheese. Bleck!)
To imitate the crunchy, salty crust without using actual pretzels, I went with a combination of chopped nuts. Specifically, pecans and salted pepitas. Pepitas are pumpkin seeds that have been dehulled and roasted. All of the pepitas and some of the pecans get a coarse chop, while the rest of the pecans get finely ground. The large nut pieces provide the kind of crunch you’d get from the larger chunks of pretzel, while the finely ground pecans serve as the butter that helps everything stick together. The pepitas have a more delicate crunch, while the pecans provide a sort of buttery flavor like the crust of pretzels. You could make this with just pecans, but if you want that salty kick, you’d need to add extra salt to the recipe.
You can use either 4-oz. Mazon jars — or any other 4-oz. dish — or 7-oz. ramekins; your serving number will vary accordingly. The neat thing about using Mason jars is that if a guest is too full for dessert, you can pop a lid on their jar and send it home with them! Lidding all the jars would also be handy if you’re transporting your dessert somewhere and need to stack them. Perfect for a picnic or potluck!
Update: Thanks to questions by readers, I’ve now included the nutrition count at the end of this post. This dessert is certainly not NO-carb, and it does have far more carbs than protein, but it’s still a lower carb recipe than the traditional strawberry pretzel salad. And sugar-free and grain-free!
Strawberry Pretzel Salad/Dessert
Fills 21 4-oz Mason jars, or 10-12 ramekins.
2/3 c. salted pepitas, chopped coarsely
2/3 c. pecan pieces, chopped coarsely
1 c. pecan pieces, ground fine
1/4 t. kosher salt
30 pkts. Splenda (or 1.25 c. granular Splenda) (OR LESS)
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 c. whipping cream
1 0.6-oz. package sugar-free strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 16-oz. package frozen sliced strawberries – no sugar added
|Amount Per Serving; % Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 19g||29%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||7%|
|Monounsaturated Fat 6g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 4g|
|Trans Fat 0g|
|Total Carbohydrate 14g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||5%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet,|
I wanna try this sometime when I'm not making it for dairy-free people as well. (I'm making it tomorrow with yogurt cheese and no whipped cream :/ ) That's a great recipe, and would be really nice to have around when we want something more interesting than plain fruit. 🙂 Thanks for going to all the work to develop it!
You're welcome. Glad you like it!
Any idea of the amount of stevia liquid stevia rather than splenda?
Whatever is comparable in sweetness to 1.25 cups of sugar.
You have these tagged as low carb. What are the carb counts?
Looks good but with no nutritional information I gotta pass could ruin my whole day just taking you word it is low carb not knowing what you concider low carb
Thanks for the recipe, looks really good. I have no problem figuring out the carb count myself.
Thanks for the question about carb count. When I originally created this recipe, I wasn’t actually counting carbs, just cutting out sugar and flour. So I just now went to myfitnesspal and did the nutrition count — and found out that these have more carbs than protein! Aack!
I hate it when companies call something “a good source of protein” when the carb counts outweighs the protein. So sorry for misleading anyone. This recipe DOES cut down on refined sugar and eliminates gluten of the pretzels and the hydrogenated oil and other weird chemicals in the CoolWhip, so it is still a healthier choice than the original recipe. Best enjoyed as a once-in-a-while treat — like most sweets!
Do you think I could make these in advance? If so, how far?
Several hours for sure. Maybe overnight. My only concern is that the nuts might lose a bit of their crispiness. Everything else should be fine.
What are pepitas?
Pepitas are pumpkin seeds that have been dehulled and roasted.
I made these for Easter. My guest’s thought they tasted amazing. I made individual cups using disposable wine cups. Not sure I will do that again. It was a long process. I would recommend using a pastry bag instead of a plastic bag. The plastic kept breaking open. I also don’t recommend putting frozen strawberries into the jello mix and then into the fridge. Mine set in 3 minutes. I had to make a new batch of jello to por in on top of the mixture that I had to soon in. I would defrost them a bit. They made a nice presentation in the wine cups. I was able to get 12 cups from one recipe. Thanks for sharing your recipe.
Thanks for sharing your lessons learned! 🙂
I would like to use gluten free pretzels for the crust. Do you know how I would make that recipe? My Mom made this all the time and was a family favorite. Some tomes she also used raspberries.
Sorry; I’ve never tried that. You may be able to find gluten-free pretzels in a store or online, though.