Watergate Salad – a 5-10 minute delightful salad made with only 6 simple ingredients that lends a beautiful pastel green dessert or side dish perfect anytime of the year. Utterly irresistible!
I was kinda torn apart on what to post on the blog that would make a perfect fruity dessert for this season. And I couldn’t be more proud that I chose this utterly addictive Watergate Salad. With its pretty pastel color, bits of fruits and nuts and marshmallows, this makes as a fun side or dessert to your Easter meal. Honestly, it is simply appealing anytime of the year!
What is Watergate Salad?
Watergate Salad goes by with different names such as “Green Stuff”, “Pistachio Delight”, “Shut the Gate Salad” (whaaattt??) and “Green Fluff” – just to name a few. This easy to whip up side dish or dessert salad is traditionally made from canned pineapples, whipped topping, pecans, marshmallows and pistachio pudding that gives its distinct green color. It is usually served chilled and is popular during potlucks or at summer BBQs.
In addition to the usual ingredients mentioned above, for this recipe, I added cream cheese for a touch of tanginess to complement with the sweetness from the whipped cream (homemade whipped cream HERE). If you’re pressed with time, you can grab a whipped topping – a whipped cream substitute sold in tubs in the frozen section at the grocery stores.
Why is it Called Watergate Salad?
Yes, I was thinking the same thing when I first had this Watergate Salad at a friend’s birthday party. Though the history of this dish is quite obscure, the theory below seems to be a little more believable to me.
The famous dish name took off when a Chicago food editor renamed Kraft’s Pistachio Pineapple Delight (promoting its newly released pistachio pudding mix at that time) to Watergate Salad. Given that the controversial Watergate Scandal in the U.S. was just a year prior, Watergate Salad has certainly caught the interest of the public eye and has been enjoyed since the 1970s.
Watergate Salad Variations
Different variations of this dish has sprouted over the years. Among its popular variety is the addition of mandarin oranges and maraschino cherries. Others would also include coconut flakes. However, if your are cutting back on sugar, there’s a low-sugar version of this salad that uses sugar-free pudding, sugar-free Cool Whip and unsweetened coconut flakes.
Another notable version would be the Pink Watergate Salad in which the maraschino cherries are not rinsed so it’ll give off that nice pink tint when mixed. I’ve also encountered one which is a cross between Watergate Salad and a popular fruit salad Ambrosia Salad (one of my holiday favorite salad).
You’ll be surprised to see online how creative people are when it comes to food!
How Long Does Watergate Salad Last in the Fridge?
As for salads, I prefer to chill them first at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld beautifully. For any leftovers, you may store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
“Should I serve this as a dessert or a side dish?” Well, I’m going to leave that question to you, my friend. Apparently, this dish is not so sweet. You can get away with having it as a side dish to any meal. But on the other hand, it’s also as light as this Tropical Fruit Salad to serve as a dessert. Either way, you’ll love all the crazy combination of textures and flavors in this simple yet fun and addictive Watergate Salad. For now, this recipe goes right to my Easter menu. 😉
Watch How To Make It
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- 2 ounce (56.7 g) cream cheese
- ¾ cup (56.25 g) whipped cream
- 3 cups ( 495 g) freshly diced pineapple
- 1 cup ( 75 g) mini marshmallows
- 1 (3.4 oz) package instant pistachio pudding mix
- ½ cup (49.5 g) toasted pecans , chopped, plus extra for garnish , if desired .
- Maraschino cherries to garnish , optional
- In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and whipped cream. Whisk until thickened. Add pineapple, marshmallows, pistachio pudding mix and pecans. Mix until fully combined.
- Cover salad with a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour or until ready to serve.
- Garnish with cherries and serve.
Tips & Notes:
- If you're allergic to pineapples, you may replace it with a fruit mix or diced apples instead.
- If you're pressed with time, you may substitute whipped cream with a whipped topping sold in tubs at the frozen section in a grocery store. Thaw first before mixing into the bowl.
- Canned pineapples in 100% pineapple juice (NOT SYRUP) works fine too instead of fresh pineapples.
- Pineapple should be ripe and finely chopped.
- All the juice from the pineapple should be used in the salad.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.
How to Make Watergate Salad
In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and whipped cream. Whisk until thickened.
Add pineapple, marshmallows, pistachio pudding mix and pecans.
Mix until fully combined.
Cover salad with a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour or until ready to serve.
Garnish with cherries and serve.