Revel in the nostalgic charm of Watergate Salad, a delightfully sweet and creamy dish that's been a potluck favorite for decades! Enjoy the whimsical combination of fluffy pistachio pudding, juicy pineapple, fluffy marshmallows, and crunchy nuts, all folded into a cloud of whipped topping.
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Classic Watergate Salad
Watergate salad is a delightful vintage American classic made with canned pineapple, maraschino cherries, dates, nuts, mini marshmallows, pistachio-flavored instant pudding mix, and whipped topping. This Watergate salad recipe is so good because it's a simple dish full of nostalgic flavor that has stood the test of time.
Why Is It Called Watergate Salad?
The history of Watergate salad began with the publication of the recipe by General Foods entitled Pistachio Pineapple Delight. A Chicago food editor printed it in her column in 1975 and renamed it Watergate Salad, presumably to pique the interests of her readers following the Presidential Watergate scandal, which was then fresh in everyone’s mind.
Why You Should Try This Recipe for Watergate Salad
If you like to give your family or dinner guests an inexpensive treat you can create in minutes, this Watergate salad with pistachio pudding is the perfect dump-and-go dish. This chilled confection has a light and fluffy texture and colorful appeal.
What's more, it's easy to make in just one bowl, and you don't have to heat up the oven! You can also assemble it beforehand, making it perfect for when you are going to be short of time or for taking it along to potlucks.
If you like, you can delight your kids by calling this Watergate salad recipe Tricky Dicky and giving them a history lesson!
Watergate Pistachio Salad - Ingredients You Will Need
Here's your ingredient list for this recipe for Watergate salad:
- Crushed pineapple
- Maraschino cherries
- Miniature marshmallows
- Pistachio pudding
- Whipped topping
How to Make This Watergate Salad Recipe
This Watergate salad with cherries couldn't be easier to make. Here are the simple steps:
- Mix together the first 5 ingredients.
- Stir in the dry pudding.
- Fold in the whipped topping.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
To prevent your Watergate salad with pistachio pudding from being too watery, you may choose to reduce the amount of pineapple juice used.
Toast the pecans in a small pan and allow to cool. Toasting intensifies their flavor and gives them an extra crunch!
The key to a light and airy Watergate salad is to gently fold in the whipped topping. Overmixing may give you a deflated salad.
Although this recipe is the original one, there's nothing to stop you from making additions or substitutions, such as:
- Any flavor of instant pudding instead of pistachio pudding.
- Sugar-free pudding if you are trying to cut down on sugar.
- Walnuts instead of pecans.
- Coconut (toast it if you like that nice toasted coconut flavor).
- A cup of cottage cheese.
- Some drained fruit cocktail or mandarin oranges for extra color.
- Some red gummy candies on top for Christmas.
How to Serve Watergate Pistachio Salad
This Watergate salad original recipe can be a fun, flavorful side or a dessert. Serve it in one large bowl or scoop it into individual ramekins.
This retro sweet pistachio pudding salad goes well with certain dishes, such as:
- Honey Baked Ham
How to Store Pistachio Watergate Salad With Cherries
Refrigerator: Transfer the Watergate salad to a shallow, airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Tip: When ready to use, refresh your salad by folding in some extra whipped topping.
Freezer: Freeze Watergate salad in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Leave a little space in the container for expansion as the salad freezes.
Be aware that it won't be as fluffy once it's thawed, and the texture of the marshmallows will change during the thawing process.
Once thawed, give it a stir and fold in some fresh marshmallows and whipped topping before serving.
Tip: Using a lightly greased pan, spread out this pistachio Watergate salad, freeze it, and slice it into squares for a treat whenever your family needs one! Or divide it up in muffin tins (spraying the cups first) and then freeze.
More Vintage Salad Recipes
- 20 ounces canned crushed pineapple with juice
- ¼ cup chopped maraschino cherries
- ½ cup chopped dates
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup miniature marshmallows
- 1 package pistachio pudding
- 8 ounces whipped topping
- Mix the first 5 ingredients and sprinkle dry pudding over it. Stir well.
- Fold in whipped topping.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.