This sweet and fluffy retro salad takes just minutes to throw together and is irresistible in taste and texture! Watergate salad is as retro as they come. A time when Jell-O, instant pudding and those bright orange copper molds were all the rage, this fluffy, green concoction is anything but what we come to think of as a salad. It is a side dish or better yet, a simple dessert that worked perfectly at a recent party that I hosted (stay tuned for those details!). I had so much food prep, so when it came time for planning for a sweet nightcap, I knew this easy pistachio Watergate salad was the way to go.
This classic recipe is a mixture of crushed pineapple, miniature marshmallows, whipped topping, pecans, shredded coconut and pistachio instant pudding mix. There are several different versions out there, but they all have one thing in common…combine the ingredients in a bowl, cover it, and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. So simple!For perfect portions, I served the salad in small vintage Jello-O molds.
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Instead of following the traditional method that calls for adding pecans and coconut in the whipped topping the night before, I topped the fluff with this toasted coconut and toasted pecans just before serving. This crunchy texture updated the dish and was a deliciously sweet garnish. There has to be a big, red cherry on top too!
I love the green hue of the pudding mix, especially against my grandmother’s green Depression glass cake plate.There’s really nothing quite like the taste and fun fluff of this retro salad.
Serve this treat at your next get-together! It would make a perfect potluck dish too.
My recipe for Quick and Easy Cranberry Pistachio Cookies is another tasty way to use Jell-O instant pudding.
For more sweet toasted coconut treats, try my Coffee Roasted Almonds and Chocolate Coconut Snack Mix.
Do you make Watergate salad?
- 1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple in juice
- 1 box instant pistachio pudding mix
- 1½ cups mini marshmallows
- 1 8 ounce tub Cool Whip
- maraschino cherry for topping
- toasted coconut for topping
- toasted pecans for topping
- Combine the pineapple and its juices with the pudding mix in a large bowl.
- Stir until well combined.
- Stir in the marshmallows.
- Fold in the whipped topping.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 48 hours.
- Garnish with a cherry, toasted coconut, and toasted pecans.