Looking for an easy and delicious side dish that tastes like dessert?
This Watergate salad recipe is made with pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, and pecans. Every bite is sweet, tangy, and crunchy, and it takes just minutes to prepare
Watergate salad is a fun, flavorful side or even dessert.
What is Watergate Salad?
Watergate salad, also known as Pistachio Delight or Shut the Gate Salad, is a fluffy and flavorful dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Legend has it that the salad was named after the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC, where it was served during weekend brunches.
This green fluffy salad gets its color and flavor from a box of instant pistachio pudding mix. The addition of nuts (and coconut if you like) add texture, while marshmallows and whipped topping make it fluffy and sweet. Great next to a holiday meal this recipe is pretty and nostalgic, like Kool-Aid pie or ambrosia salad.
- Watergate salad is easy to make and perfect for any holiday table!
- It’s easy to make in one bowl and without having to heat up the oven! Just mix and chill!
- This dish is best made ahead of time, making it potluck perfect!
Watergate Salad Ingredients
Some versions of Watergate salad use cottage cheese or cream cheese, but this recipe is simple and sweet.
PISTACHIO BASE Pistachio pudding mix adds a sweet, nutty flavor and a pretty green color to Watergate salad while whipped topping makes it sweet and fluffy.
MIX-INS Sweet and crunchy, I add chopped pecans, although you can also add coconut if you’d like. Crushed pineapple adds a citrusy tang.
VARIATIONS Swap the pecans for crushed pistachios or walnuts. Stir in fruit cocktail for extra color.
PRO TIP: Be sure any added fruit is thoroughly drained so it doesn’t water the salad down.
How to Make Watergate Salad
This salad is so easy to make for some old-fashioned fluffy fun!
- Whisk pineapple juice and pistachio pudding mix (per the recipe below).
- Stir in the mix-ins. Gently fold in whipped topping, cover, & refrigerate.
- Garnish with chopped pecans & a maraschino cherry for each serving.
PRO TIP: Toast pecans in a small pan and allow them to cool before adding them to the recipe. Toasting them intensifies their flavor and makes them extra crunchy!
Storing Watergate Salad
Keep Watergate salad covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Refresh it by folding in some extra whipped cream topping.
Watergate salad can be frozen for up to 3 months, but it won’t be as fluffy once it’s thawed. Leave some space in the container for it to expand as it freezes. Once it’s thawed, give it a stir and fold in some fresh whipped topping and marshmallows before serving.
Did you make this Watergate Salad? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
- 20 ounces crushed pineapple in juice NOT SYRUP
- 3.4 ounces instant pistachio pudding mix 1 box
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- 8 ounces whipped topping
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- maraschino cherries for serving
- Drain the juices from the crushed pineapple into a large mixing bowl. Reserving the pineapple in the can. Whisk the pudding mix into the pineapple juice until well combined.
- Fold in the crushed pineapple, marshmallows, pecans, & coconut if using. Fold in the whipped topping.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 48 hours.
- Garnish with additional whipped topping and a cherry for serving.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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