Watergate Salad

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Did you grow up eating a Watergate Salad? This recipe is truly a vintage recipe because it’s from my mom’s recipe card box. I’m pretty sure this salad recipe was passed around at church functions in the 1970s.

This Watergate Salad has pineapple, Pistachio pudding, mini-marshmallows, pecans, Cool Whip, and coconut. Then you top it off with a few more pecans and of course, Maraschino cherries are optional.

It’s creamy, a little sweet, and a little bit tart at the same time. The reason I love this fruit salad is that I usually have the ingredients in my pantry and the Cool Whip in the freezer. Therefore I can make this one at the last minute and let it set up in the refrigerator before bringing it out to be served.

What’s really great about this Watergate Salad is that you have most of these ingredients in your pantry and freezer. We can make this salad for a party, church activity, or neighborhood get-together.

All you do is stir the ingredients together and refrigerate them for a few hours. You can sprinkle with chopped pecans and garnish it with a few Maraschino cherries. You will love it!

Ingredients

Why We Love The Watergate Salad

  • The green color comes from the Pistachio Pudding mixed with the pineapple juice.
  • The Cool Whip gives it a creamy texture.
  • The mini-marshmallows give it that fluffy fruit salad taste and additional texture.
  • The crushed pineapple gives you that first sweet yummy bite.
  • The chopped pecans and Maraschino cherries are frostings on the salad.
  • During the summer we particularly love this salad since it helps cool us off, not only with the flavor, but the temperature from the fridge.
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Watergate Salad

Ingredients

  • Crushed Pineapple
  • Pistachio Instant Pudding
  • Mini-Marshmallows
  • Cool Whip
  • Sweetened Coconut
  • Pecans
Ingredients

Step One

Drain the pineapple, and set the juice aside.

Drain The Pineapple Juice

Step Two

Combine the pudding with the pineapple juice and whisk until smooth. It will start to thicken a little bit.

Pistachio Pudding

Step Three

Chop the pecans with a food chopper. I used my Pampered Chef Chopper to chop these.

Chopping Pecans

Step Four

Stir in the pineapple, coconut, and mini marshmallows. Now, fold in the thawed CoolWhip and thoroughly combine the ingredients, except for the chopped pecans.

Mixing the Watergate Salad

Step Six

Chill for at least 2 hours, 4 hours preferably. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top and garnish with a Maraschino cherry. 

Finished Watergate Salad

How do I store this Watergate Salad?

I store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Can I freeze this salad?

I would not recommend freezing it, fresh is best.

How long can I store this salad safely in the refrigerator?

A Watergate salad is a fruit salad of sorts, so I would say 3-5 days at the most.

What is in Pistachio Pudding?

I quote Wikipedia: “Pistachio pudding is a green pudding made from pistachio nuts and occasionally contains small chunks of almonds.”

Watergate or Pistachio Salad Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Watergate Salad
Watergate Salad by Food Storage Moms
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
mins
Refrigerator
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 10 mins
 
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
Ingredients
  • 1 can 20-ounce crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 package 3.4-ounce box Pistachio Instant Pudding
  • 1-1/2 cups mini-marshmallows
  • 1-1/2 cups Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • maraschino cherries (optional)
Instructions
  1. Drain the pineapple juice from the crushed pineapple pieces. Combine the pudding with the pineapple juice and whisk until smooth. Stir in the pineapple, coconut, and mini marshmallows. Now, fold in the thawed Coolwhip and thoroughly combine the ingredients. Chill for at least 2 hours, 4 hours preferably. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top and garnish with a Maraschino cherry. 

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You may be wondering why this is called the Watergate Salad. Often times people try to capitalize on current events to draw attention to their authored work. As the story goes, the individual or company that created the recipe felt it would gain more appeal if it referenced Watergate, a scandal at the time of the recipe’s first publication. See below the quote from Wikipedia for a reference to events in the 1970s that prompted the name.

“The Watergate scandal was a major political scandal that occurred in the United States during the early 1970s, following a break-in by five men at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972, and President Richard Nixon’s administration’s subsequent attempt to cover up its involvement.”

Watergate Cake Recipe

Final Word

I love sharing recipes like this Watergate Salad so we can teach the world how fun it is to eat at home. Please stock your pantry and your freezer as you can afford it. I believe hard times are coming, let’s teach the world to be prepared today, not next year.

Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. Please keep prepping! May God bless this world, Linda

10 thoughts on “Watergate Salad

  • December 24, 2018 at 8:49 am
    Permalink

    5 stars
    I LOVE this stuff, except without pecans (allergy). I seem to remember hearing that a chef at the Watergate Hotel came up with this recipe but I’ll be 73 next week & sometimes I just make up stuff in my head & it falls out of my mouth. People think I’m brilliant! Hahaha

    Reply
    • December 25, 2018 at 9:23 pm
      Permalink

      Oh Linda, it’s an age thing! I will be 69 in January!! LOL! I love it! I made it for Christmas and di not put the pecans either! Happy New Year! Linda

      Reply
  • December 24, 2018 at 1:29 pm
    Permalink

    Linda,
    I have eaten my fair share of Watergate salad. Did you ever have the recipe for
    Watergate Cake? If not let me know and I will see if I can dig my copy of the recipe up and send it to you.
    Thank You for sharing this recipe it brings back memories.
    Merry Christmas and happy new Year

    Reply
    • December 25, 2018 at 9:25 pm
      Permalink

      Hi June, oh my gosh, I just bought the ingredients for the Watergate Cake! I will be making that one very soon! great minds think alike! I love it! It really does bring back memories! Happy New Year! Linda

      Reply
  • April 2, 2021 at 3:13 pm
    Permalink

    How long can this stay in the refrigerator before serving

    Reply
    • April 2, 2021 at 3:26 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Debbie, the recipe says a minimum of 2 hours before serving. You could make it the night before, but fresher is better. Linda

      Reply
  • June 15, 2021 at 9:24 am
    Permalink

    5 stars
    Ohhh…..I love this salad! It reminds me of my childhood! :)❤️ I have tried other versions of this recipe. Yours is my favorite!❤️ Thank you for another great recipe!

    Reply
    • June 15, 2021 at 9:57 am
      Permalink

      Hi Camille, thank you for the 5 stars! This recipe is so awesome and easy to make. Linda

      Reply
  • June 16, 2021 at 9:02 am
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    5 stars
    Wow!! This salad is amazing!!! I love easy recipes like this. Thanks for sharing it

    Reply
    • June 16, 2021 at 10:24 am
      Permalink

      Hi Alli, thanks for the 5 stars. You will love the recipe! Linda

      Reply

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