Nirvana in a Bowl


Some recipes defy rea­son. Nir­vana in a Bowl con­tains only six ingre­di­ents, which in itself isn’t so unusual. But when you con­sider that four of the ingre­di­ents come straight out of con­ve­nience pack­ages, that’s where it gets a lit­tle hard to understand.

I first tasted this at a fam­ily party sev­eral years ago. I’d never really had a fruit salad like it. It was so creamy and yummy! I begged the recipe from my niece. I felt like I’d scored a treasure.

It’s now a sta­ple at almost every potluck party I host or attend. If I know the host isn’t mak­ing it, I make sure to bring it myself . I’ve dou­bled it, I’ve tripled it. It dis­ap­pears every sin­gle time and leaves peo­ple want­ing more.

The first ver­sion I tasted used orange as the fla­vor choice, which is really good. How­ever, I changed it to rasp­berry and have never looked back.

If you have any love at all for creamy, jello-type fruit sal­ads, you will love this recipe! Try it and don’t ever for­get who shared a life-changing jello salad recipe with you.


Nir­vana in a Bowl

serves 8–10 as a sin­gle recipe. Never enough. If you’re serv­ing to a crowd, you’ll want to dou­ble, triple or even quadru­ple it

1 small (3 oz.) box cook and serve vanilla pudding

1 small (3oz.) boz cook and serve tapioca

1 small (3 oz.) box rasp­berry gelatin

3 cups water

1 (8 oz.)  con­tainer non-dairy whipped top­ping (such as cool­whip), refrig­er­ated, not frozen

1 pint fresh raspberries

In a medium size saucepan, place the con­tents of the three boxes. Add three cups of water and stir well with a whisk. Bring to a boil and let boil while stir­ring for a good long minute. Remove from the heat and scrape into a large bowl. Cover and refrig­er­ate the bowl of the gelatin/pudding/tapioca mix­ture for sev­eral hours. Overnight is best. If it isn’t com­pletely set, it won’t work right.

Right before you are ready to serve,  take a large spoon and roughly stir the mix­ture in the bowl. Don’t over stir, you want it chunky. Then fold in the non-dairy whipped top­ping. Mix it pretty well with­out stir­ring the heck out of it.

Lastly, add the rasp­ber­ries. Fold them in gen­tly, try­ing to keep them as intact as you can. A lit­tle bit of smooshed is ok.

Remove a por­tion for your­self. If you don’t, by the time you make sure all your guests are hap­pily eat­ing, you will already have missed out on your share because some­one else ate it. I’m not kidding.


A cou­ple of notes: You can change the salad by chang­ing the fla­vor of gelatin and then match­ing the fruit to the gelatin. Oranges with man­darin oranges is yum. Also straw­berry and blackberry.

Also, I have tried sub­sti­tut­ing the non-dairy whipped top­ping with real whipped cream, and believe it or not, it’s just not as good. (I know! It seems blas­phe­mous!) Some­thing about the orig­i­nal ingre­di­ents com­bine to make the creami­est, dreami­est fruit salad you’ll ever have.

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  1. Oh, my gosh. I LOVE Nir­vana in a Bowl! It’s one of those com­pletely per­fect foods in the world. I remem­ber well the first time I tried it, because that was the day MY LIFE CHANGED.

  2. I … I think I love you …

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