Watergate Salad is not a salad at all but rather pistachio pudding mixed with pineapple, coconut, cherries, mini marshmallows, and walnuts. This version is made from scratch without boxed pudding.
Remember two weeks ago when I made Pistachio Pudding from scratch? I took it one step further and turned it into my favorite pudding dessert – Watergate Salad. If you’ve never heard of it, its non-nickname is Pistachio Pineapple Delight and originated back in the 1970s from Kraft Foods. There are several stories as to how it earned its nickname. One story is the recipe was created at the Watergate Hotel. Another story is a reporter named it after the Watergate scandal to draw more attention. Whatever the origin, this pudding has almost a mousse-like texture from the whipped cream and marshmallows folded in. Serve it in cups like I did, and now you have a fancy parfait on the go.
I first tried Watergate Salad at a work potluck. Sitting on the table was a big bowl of bright green pudding. When I asked about it, the guy who made it said it was pistachio pudding mixed with pineapple, coconut, marshmallows, nuts, and maraschino cherries. He must’ve added the coconut and cherries himself because as I looked up the recipe, it only called for pineapple, marshmallows, and nuts.
My intention was to make this without food coloring. However, as you can see in the photo above, the pudding went from its natural pistachio color to brown when I folded in the whipped cream. Since there is a bit of nostalgia tied with the color of this recipe, I added a few drops of green coloring, which makes it perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. You can decide how you want to serve it.
- 1 cup already-made pistachio pudding (homemade or boxed)
- 1 cup cold whipped cream + more for garnish (homemade or store bought whipped topping)
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple (juice drained)
- 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
- 1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries (plus 4 whole cherries for garnish)
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- Green food coloring (optional if using homemade pudding)
- In a large bowl, add pudding. Fold in whipped cream, pineapple, marshmallows, coconut, cherries, and walnuts. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring. Spoon into serving dishes or bowls and garnish with some whipped cream and a cherry.
Source: Inspired by Kraft
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