Rediscover the magic of yesteryears with Candle Salad! A beloved Christmas classic, this vintage salad delights with fresh lettuce leaves, a radiant pineapple ring, and a banana that stands tall and is crowned with a festive cherry. Serve this fruit salad to reminisce and create new memories. Candlestick salad is perfect for your festive feast!
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What Makes This Candle Salad So Unique?
An unusual name is far from the weirdest part of this suggestive dish. But don't think this is just some sort of trendy social media dish (even though it has recently popped up on several very popular feeds). This recipe is about as retro as you can get, with over a hundred years of history!
Why You Should Try This Recipe
While the combination of fresh bananas, pineapple, and maraschino will undoubtedly taste good, fun is probably the main reason you'll want to try making this salad. Whether you are throwing a retro dinner party or just want to bring a smile to your friends' faces, a Banana Candle is sure to get people talking.
History of the Candle Salad
Okay, so this giggle-inducing dish has been around for quite a while. Based on the fantastic food history website, The Food Timeline, the earliest references to this composed salad started popping up in print in the early 1920s. The dish had several different names, including Candlestick Salad, Candlette, and Night Cap.
Although there isn't a clear innovator of the dish, it is likely to be a recipe that was promoted by a company (most likely Dole, the same company that kicked off the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake) to encourage early 20th century housewives to cook with the recently introduced canned pineapples, maraschino cherries, and bananas.
Although Candle Salad was almost immediately popular when first introduced in the 1920s, by the 50s, it had somehow reached a cult-like status. Plates of bananas standing on pineapple rings and topped with maraschino cherries become the 'must have' Christmastime treat!
The recipe even appeared in a popular 50s children's cookbook with the questionable tagline: "It's better than a real candle because you can eat it." The fad seemed to have died away during the 60s, only to be revived recently!
Old Fashioned Banana Salad Ingredients
For this vintage Candle Salad recipe, you'll need:
- Pineapple rings, canned
- Maraschino cherry with stem
While iceberg lettuce is probably the most authentic, you can use any type you have on hand.
How to Make a Candle Salad
To assemble an old fashioned banana salad:
- Use the lettuce leaves to create a bed for the Candle Salad to sit on. The lettuce is more for decoration than eating, so feel free to use the tougher outer leaves from the head of the lettuce. Just give the leaves a good rinse and pat them dry before using.
- Place a pineapple ring in the middle of the bed of lettuce.
- Cut the banana in half and place it in the middle of the pineapple ring. If you are having trouble keeping the banana half from tipping over, try adding a little whipped cream or cream cheese to the cut side of the banana to help it stay put.
- Poke a toothpick on the top of the banana and stick a maraschino onto it. Make sure you tell people about the toothpick to avoid any unwanted injuries.
What to Serve With a Banana Candle Salad
Some recipes for Candle Salads from back in the day suggested dripping mayonnaise or whipped cream down the side of the banana to resemble candle wax. But, in today's climate, that may be a little too much.
More Salads and Dressings
- 4 lettuce leaves
- 1 pineapple ring
- ½ banana
- 1 maraschino cherry with stem
- Place the lettuce leaves on a plate.
- Place a pineapple ring in the middle of the lettuce.
- Insert the banana cut side down in the middle of the pineapple to stand it upright.
- Use a toothpick to fasten the cherry on top of the banana.