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Watergate Salad is a classic potluck and holiday dish that is mixed up in about 5 minutes! Easy pistachio fluff made with crushed pineapple, pecans, cherries and pistachio pudding for a festive dish that anyone can make!
Rather you call it pistachio fluff, Watergate Salad or that green stuff that grandma always makes, it’s always a hit with the crowd. Once you realize how easy it is to make, you won’t be waiting for the holidays to enjoy it!
Just take me to the recipe! If you are just looking for the recipe, just scroll on down to the very bottom. You will find a printable recipe card with ingredients and instructions. Read on for the step by step photos.
I love all of the retro Jello “salads” that my mother in law makes and that I remember from my childhood and Watergate Salad is probably my favorite. The holidays just aren’t the same without it.
How these desserts became known as salads is beyond me, maybe because they have fruits and sometimes vegetables with Jello or pudding… I don’t know, but I like them all the same!
How to Make Watergate Salad:
Pour crushed pineapple with juice in a mixing bowl.
Add instant pistachio pudding and mix well.
Fold in Cool Whip.
Add pecans, mini marshmallows and cherries.
Top with a dollop of Cool Whip, a few more pecans and whole cherries.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Tips for Making Watergate Salad:
Make Watergate Salad up to a day in advance. Keep covered and chilled until ready to serve.
Drain the cherries well and place on a paper towel, blot off excess juice.
Quarter or roughly chop cherries. Place on another paper towel and blot off excess juice. This will keep the cherry juice from discoloring the salad. Trust me on this one, no one wants brown pistachio fluff!
Save a few of the chopped pecans and Cool Whip for garnish and add a few whole Maraschino cherries that you have drained and blotted with a paper towel.
You can dish the pistachio fluff into individual servings before garnishing and refrigerating to make serving easier.
More Holiday Dishes to Try:
Cranberry Salad is a favorite for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It is filled with fresh cranberries, apples, oranges, pineapple, pomegranate, toasted walnuts and raspberry jello. This is a surefire hit for the holidays!
Sweet Potato Casserole is another holiday favorite that could be considered a dessert if you are adding the classic marshmallow topping! I skip the marshmallows and just use buttered pecans.
My Easy Thanksgiving Dinner has everything you need from the main dish, sides, appetizers, desserts and even drinks!
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- 20 ounce can crushed pineapple with juice (do not drain)
- 3.4 ounce instant pistachio pudding mix
- 8 ounces Cool Whip or frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- 1/3 cup diced maraschino cherries (see note), plus more for garnish if desired
- Add crushed pineapple with juice to a mixing bowl and add pistachio pudding mix. Stir to combine.
- Fold in Cool Whip (reserve a dollop for garnish if desired).
- Mix in pecans(reserve about a tablespoon for garnish), marshmallows and cherries.
- Top with a dollop of Cool Whip, remaining chopped pecans and whole Maraschino Cherries if desired.
- Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Can be made a day in advance.
Drain the Maraschino cherries well. Place on a paper towel and blot excess juice. Chop cherries and then place on a new paper towel and blot excess juice.
This will keep the cherry juice from discoloring your salad.
Use the same method for garnish.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 221Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 24mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 21gProtein: 2g
Nutritional calculations are estimated and may not be accurate.