Make a classic old-fashioned recipe healthier for you! Strawberry pretzel salad is a dessert you’ll fall in love with – especially if you love strawberries!
Healthy Strawberry Pretzel Salad
If you think all types of salad are just chopped lettuce and veggies, then I have a big surprise for you!
This salad is more like a sweet dessert than a savory side dish. There are three layers and each one is completely different but still enhances the overall bar.
It’s always a good time to enjoy this strawberry pretzel salad. It’s a refreshing and filling breakfast, a good-for-you dessert, or an immune-boosting snack.
Strawberries are so good for you, that any way to enjoy them is a good idea. Oranges seem to get all the attention for being high in vitamin C, but strawberries are another amazing source of it too. Plus, they have antioxidants too!
These nutrients fight disease-causing free radicals.
These sweet red fruits are also known to help lower bad cholesterol and have so much fiber in them that they are a wonderful boost to your gut health.
Whether you are trying to think about something fun to take to a group dinner or an outdoor cookout, or you just really love strawberries, you are going to love this recipe.
This sweet and salty strawberry pretzel salad is made with a base of sweetened mini pretzels, a layer of cream cheese mixture, and all topped with an incredible strawberry compote.
Here’s a bit more about what I used:
- Mini Pretzels: You’ll use about 5 cups of salted mini pretzels. This adds a contrasting salty flavor to the sweet strawberries on top. Use gluten-free pretzels to make this salad gluten free!
- Butter: The four tablespoons of butter will coat the pretzels and help everything stick together.
- Maple Syrup: To sweeten the pretzel layer naturally, add 1/4 a cup of real maple syrup. You’ll also need another 1/4 cup for the strawberry compote layer and 1/4 a cup for the cream cheese layer, so you need 3/4 cup of syrup divided.
- Cream Cheese: You need an entire block of lite cream cheese to make the middle layer.
- Vanilla: Create velvety vanilla notes in the cream cheese layer with 2 teaspoons of real vanilla extract. I also used another 2 teaspoons in the strawberry compote, so you will need 4 teaspoons total.
- Cool Whip: Mix 1 container of lite Cool Whip in with the cream cheese.
- Strawberries: You can use fresh strawberries, but I used 5 cups of frozen strawberries.
- Lemon Juice: Add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to enhance the strawberries.
- Arrowroot Powder: Either add 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder or cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water to thicken the strawberry compote.
Kitchen Tools Required
This recipe doesn’t require a lot of fancy kitchen gadgets. A food processor will help you chop up the pretzels easier but it certainly isn’t required.
Gather the following items before you begin:
For measuring, you will need the following sized cups and spoons: 1 cup, 1/4 cup, 1 tablespoon, and 1 teaspoon.
How To Make Healthy Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Now that you have all the ingredients and kitchen tools ready, it’s time to start making this delicious old-fashioned salad!
First, preheat the oven to 375F. Don’t forget to preheat the oven, because it takes the longest. Then, grease and line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper and set it aside.
Press this mixture into the bottom of a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
Add the defrosted cool whip to the bowl, and fold it into the cream cheese mixture until fully combined.
Once the pretzels are cool, top with cream cheese mixture. Place in fridge for 45 minutes.
While chilling, make the strawberry compote by heating strawberries and maple syrup over medium-high heat in a pan with a lid. It will take about 15-20 minutes for strawberries to totally break down and thicken up. After about 10 minutes, use a potato masher or fork to mash strawberries into a compote. Add lemon juice and arrowroot slurry (arrowroot mixed with water to prevent clumping).
Stir in the strawberries and let them continue to thicken until you’ve reached about 15-20 minutes and your compote seems thick enough. Turn off the heat and add vanilla. Let cool while cream cheese continues to cool.
Once the jam has reached room temperature, pour it over top of the chilled pretzel and cream cheese mixture. Chill in the fridge for 1.5 hours before serving. Keep in fridge.
Below are some common strawberry pretzel salad questions. Don’t see the answer you’re looking for? Leave a comment at the bottom of this post!
How do I make this without a food processor?
You need to crush the pretzels into crumbs and you can do that by placing the pretzels in a bag and rolling over it with a rolling pin. I also used the food processor to make the cream cheese mixture – but you can whip that with an electric mixer or use a blender.
Can I use fresh strawberries in a pretzel salad?
Yes, you can certainly use fresh strawberries instead of frozen ones. It will still taste delicious!
Can I make strawberry pretzel salad the night before?
Yes, you certainly can make this the night before. In fact, if you give it longer to chill in the fridge, the layers will set up better. Store it in the refrigerator with an airtight lid or plastic wrap.
Is maple syrup healthier than table sugar?
Maple syrup is considered healthier than granulated sugar because it has a lower glycemic index. It isn’t a 1:1 replacement either because maple syrup is sweeter than white sugar. You’ll use less maple syrup than you would sugar, so you’ll consume fewer calories.
Is this strawberry pretzel salad gluten-free?
I did not use gluten-free pretzels when I made my salad. If you need to eat gluten-free, just use gluten-free pretzels and you should be good to go.
Store leftover strawberry pretzel salad in an airtight container, like a resealable pyrex dish, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If you liked this recipe, you’ll want to try these!
Here are some more of my favorite strawberry recipes to make. Enjoy!
- Strawberry Chocolate Rugelach
- Peanut Butter Strawberry Crumble
- Healthy Strawberry Banana Muffins
- Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats
Recipe by Erin Morrissey and Photos by The Mindful Hapa
- 5 cups salted mini pretzels
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 block lite cream cheese, softened
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 container lite cool whip, thawed
- 5 cups frozen strawberries
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) mixed with 2 tbsp water to make a slurry
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 375F and grease either a 9×9 baking dish or 8×11 baking dish.
- In a food processor, pulse pretzels until large crumbs. Add in melted butter and maple syrup and process until finely ground (but still some small chunks).
- Press into bottom of baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
- While baking, make creamy filling. In a food processor, blend together cream cheese, vanilla, and maple syrup until creamy. Pour into a bowl.
- Add defrosted cool whip to bowl, and fold into cream cheese mixture until fully combined.
- Once pretzels are cool, top with cream cheese mixture. Place in fridge for 45 minutes.
- While chilling, making strawberry compote by heating strawberries and maple syrup over medium-high heat in a pan with a lid. It will take about 15-20 minutes for strawberries to totally break down and thicken up. After about 10 minutes, use a potato masher or fork to smash strawberries into compote. Add in lemon juice and arrowroot slurry (arrowroot mixed with water to prevent clumping).
- Stir into strawberries and let continue to thicken until you’ve reached about 15-20 minutes and your compote seems thick enough. Turn off heat and add vanilla. Let cool while cream cheese continues to cool.
- Once jam has reached room temperature, pour over top of chilled pretzel and cream cheese mixture. Chill in fridge for 1.5 hours before serving. Keep in fridge.
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