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Watergate Salad Recipe

Is it a side salad or a dessert salad? It’s either! Watergate Salad breaks all the rules. It’s a crazy delicious concoction of pistachio pudding, Cool Whip, pineapple, and marshmallows. This retro dessert is both fun and tasty.

 

Bowl full of Watergate Salad.

Set some pistachio-favored dessert salad out at your next Potluck and watch it disappear. It’s also a great salad to include for your Easter Meal.

Large bowl full of green fluff.

 

Most people either grew up with Watergate Salad or they don’t know what in tarnation it is. If you grew up in the south, you probably had a grandmother who made it for every special occasion or church luncheon. Watergate Salad was originally developed by Kraft under the name Pineapple Pistachio Delight in 1975 when they first introduced pistachio pudding.

The pistachio pudding gives it its characteristic mint green color and a good bit of its flavor. It is affectionately known as “Green Stuff” to many people.

If you’ve never had Watergate Salad, be prepared. It has a wild and crazy texture with tons of contrasts. The cool whip makes it a little airy and light, but there are small chunks of pineapple and a crunch from the pecans, giving your teeth a little something to sink into. And of course the marshmallows really stand out with their completely distinct soft but a little chewy texture. Once your senses get over the craziness of it all, you’ll discover that it is really quite delicious.

Watergate Salad is a dessert salad that tends to be appealing any time of year. Its light texture lends itself to the warm weather months, but throw a cherry on top and you have a perfectly festive red and green treat for Christmas. And of course its pastel color is fantastically fitting for Easter.

Try These Other Pistachio Flavored Desserts:

Watergate Salad in a alrge white bowl.

 

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Bowl full of Watergate Salad.

Watergate Salad

Is it a side salad or a dessert salad? It's either! Watergate Salad breaks all the rules. It's a crazy concoction of pistachio pudding, Cool Whip, pineapple, and marshmallows.
PREP: 1 hr 10 mins
COOK: 0 mins
TOTAL: 1 hr 10 mins
SERVINGS: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 (8-ounce) cans crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package pistachio instant pudding
  • 1 (8-ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, stir together the full contents of the pineapple cans and the pudding mix until smooth.
  • Fold in whipped topping and marshmallows. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  • Sprinkle pecans on top before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 223kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Dessert, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dessert salad, Easter

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Originally published April 8, 2014.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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86 thoughts on “Watergate Salad Recipe”

  1. Sheila Hazelwood

    I was wondering if you can use another fruit instead of pineapple my daughter is highly allergic to pineapple any recommendations would be greatly appreciated thank you in adavnce

    1. I switched it up once in awhile and instead of pineapples I use the mixed fruit and follow the same directions

    2. I make pudding as box directions, less about a 1/4 c milk. I prefer it a bit thicker, and dice up apples instead of pineapples, it seems to keep longer too. Also use the fruit flavored colored mini-mallows. Mix pecans sometimes walnuts and occasionally sweetened shreds of coconut into mixture with the whipped topping. I LOVE IT! MY children have issues with the textures and oddly enough state the mallows as their LEAST enjoyable part! More for my guilty pleasure at midnight..

    3. I omit the pineapple usually. Use diced apple, mix in pecans or walnuts, sometimes both. I prefer the mini fruit flavored colored mallows , sometimes i add coconut too!

  2. Julie A. Johnson

    My family always made what we called “The Green Stuff,” and yes the recipe I have is actually titled that. It is very similar to this, except it is made with a large box of Lime Jello instead of pistachio pudding, so it must be cooked. Instead of marshmallows, you add 1 container of cottage cheese. The other instructions and ingredients are identical. We have loved it for as long as I can remember.

  3. I heard about this salad today at a funeral. We were talking about potlucks and one lady said she made this years ago. I’m ancious to try it

  4. I would like to know if your are suppose to make the pudding as directed on the box and then add it to the other ingredients Please let me know Thanks Tina

    1. Verlon Grantham

      No, just pour the box of pudding into the crushed pineapple with juice and mix until smooth.

  5. Just in time for me to make and take to a St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Now I just have to make up my mind which version to make. Maybe both?

      1. Where did you find mention of the metal bowl. I’ve made this several times and always used a metal bowl. If another type of bowl makes this better I’m not sure I could stand it. LOL

  6. This was my first time making this kind of salad. This recipe is fast, easy and SUPER YUMMY!!

  7. Alice Perez

    I would like to have the recipe that’s made with lime Jello and cottage cheese and pineapple can you send it to me.

  8. My mom makes this often. It is delicious. A word of advice: Do not prepare this in a metal bowl or use metal utensils. The salad will turn brown. Speaking from personal experience.

  9. Rikki Johnson

    We make green stuff. It’s like jello,Cream cheese whipping cream,pineapple and marshmellows. It turns out more like a parfait. Old family holiday tradition. I believe the true name is Heavenly Hash.

      1. Lydia Shmitt

        Do you have the recipe for the Heavenly Hash mentioned above by Rikki Johnson?
        If so I would appreciate it very much if you would send it to me!! I also want you to know
        I and my whole family loved your Watergate salad. Thank you for sharing!
        Lydia Shmitt

    1. Joleen Futch

      Actually Heavenly Hash is different, but similar. You mix cherry or strawberry jello with 1 tub of coolwhip, 1 tub of cottage cheese and a large can of drained fruit cocktail. Mix well & chill overnight. Very delicious!!!

  10. I have been eating this since I was a child, making it for my family, they are now making it for their families! Wonderful Salad.

  11. My “Green Stuff” is very similar but I use the Kraft FunMellows and add maraschino cherries! There are never any leftovers!

    1. I bet the cherries really makes it. I’ve eaten this for years and I totally love it. I need to make some for my Bible Study tomorrow. Thank you for sharing the addition of the cherries. 😄

  12. Just made this for today. My husband and daughter have never had it. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never made it for them before, having grown up with it on our dinner table at all the holidays. The new tradition starts.

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      Yay! So glad you have started a new tradition. I bet your daughter will be making it years from now.

  13. I first had this salad back in the70’s at a Soroptimist Salad Luncheon in Arcata, California. I love it. So easy to make. It is a requested at every pot luck and family dinner I attend. It’s my “green stuff!”

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