Watergate Salad!



 
This is definitely one of those "oldie but goody" recipes.  Watergate Salad was all the rage back in the late 1970's and on into the eighties.    It seemed any church potluck, family reunion, or after funeral spread would always have a Watergate Salad.   I have researched and looked all over to find out where this salad got it's name.  One can surmise it had something to do with the political scandal, but there is actually no proof that it does.   From all accounts I have read, no one really knows where the salad, and  there was also a cake, got the name.   What is known is that the pistachio pudding was marketed by the Kraft company in 1975 and the Watergate Salad and the Watergate  Cake followed shortly thereafter.   
 
Wherever it evolved from, it is always a hit with those who enjoy these creamy, fruity concoctions.  My husband loves this salad, which is really a light dessert.  To be honest, I haven't made this in years, so he was happy to see it re-emerge.   It is just the perfect salad for Easter or in this case St. Patrick's Day with it's pretty pastel green color.  This is the original Watergate Salad recipe also.  I wasn't really sure, but Mama looked hers up in an old cookbook from the seventies time period.   Here is what you will need:
 
 
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, with the juice (don't drain)
1 (3.5 oz.) box instant pistachio pudding
8 oz. frozen whipped topping
1 cup nuts, chopped
1 cup miniature marshmallows
 
Mix the pineapple with it's juice with the dry pudding until well blended.  Mix in the whipped topping.  Fold in the nuts and marshmallows. 
 
 

                            Pour into a pretty glass bowl, cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
 
 
Watergate Salad!

 
 
 



70 comments:

  1. I have this exact same recipe BUT mine includes cottage cheese too!

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    1. Mom had this same sort of dish, she would replace the pudding with any flavor of a red Jello and also add the cottage cheese. She called it "Pink Stuff"!! It was yummy!!!

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    2. My sister and I still call it the pink stuff! Everyone always wants it for holidays and large family get togethers

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    3. I think the technical name for that is "pink salad". but most people put in fruit cocktail instead of just the pineapple.

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    4. No they don't, the pineapple is all we ever use. The fruit salad is way too much fruit - it's lighter and better with just pineapple. Just my opinion.

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    5. Would never use fruit cocktail in this. Way too heavy. Just the pineapple is the original recipe. It is very good in the summertime as a dessert.

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    6. I love this recipe, I add in a little bit of coconut.

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    7. I think this is the same recipe from my childhood and man I loved this stuff!! Thank You for posting this. I have a smile on my face and loving memories of my Grandmother(R.I.P.)!!!

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    8. Watergate was the name of the hotel involved in the scandal. I would guess the dessert was served at the hotel and became famous due to the scandal. Plus, it is delicious!

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    9. Yes, the Watergate was a Hotel and had excellent food! The dish had nothing to do with the scandal!!!!

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  2. I don't care for pineapple. I substitute a can of mandarin oranges cut up. It works great. My family loves it.

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    1. We put mandarin oranges cut in half along with everything else. If you don't have nuts, it tastes just as good because there are little nuts in the pudding. Really Good.

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    2. I add sour cream and maraschino cherries to mine

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  3. It may sound weird, but my mom always mixed a small container of cottage cheese with it...it is very good

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  4. Do you mix milk with pudding first then add pineapple or just dry pudding mix with the pineapple?

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    1. No milk in the recipe at all! It's yummy just as indicated above in the recipe! That's how we've always made it! Enjoy!

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    2. no milk, the dry pudding with the juice in the pineapple and the whip topping makes it thick and superb... it isn't rocket science..

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  5. What type of nuts work best? Walnuts or pecans?

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    1. I always used pecans.

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    2. Finely chopped pecans

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    3. We've used chopped walnuts for 40 years. Whatever your preference is...

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    4. the general recipe calls for walnuts, but my friend and I chop them up although another friend left them whole in hers. chopping makes them go farther when you are buying the nuts

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  6. My mom also made it with cottage cheese. Can someone tell me how much cottage cheese? This is one of my favorite salads. Thanks in advance.

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  7. My mom used to make Watergate cake, do you have that recipe?

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    1. you just mix the pudding into a white cake,

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    2. Watergate Cake
      Ingredients
      Original recipe makes 1 - 9 x 13 inch sheet cake

      1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
      1 (3 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix
      3 eggs
      1 cup lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
      3/4 cup vegetable oil
      1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
      1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
      1 (3 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix
      1 cup milk
      1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

      Directions
      1.Mix together cake mix, 1 box pudding mix, eggs, oil, and soda drink. Stir in coconut and nuts if desired. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
      2.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool.
      3.Beat 1 box pudding and milk together. Fold in whipped topping. Frost cooled cake. Keep refrigerated.

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  8. This recipe has so many names and so many variations..they are all delicious! I always heard if you add the cottage cheese it is NOT a watergate salad.I tend to agree.

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  9. We don't have frozen whipped topping here in Holland. Can I use sweetened whipped cream instead?

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    1. yes it works the same way

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    2. I use lite cool whip, pecans, sugar free pistachio pudding and diced pears in juice. It is a very low calorie sweet treat!

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  10. My mom mixed in a small contained of cottage cheese and added pecans. Always good.

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  11. We always added pecans and a little bit of chopped maraschino cherries to ours for added flavor and color. :)

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    1. At Christmas I use maraschino cherries, other times just the original recipe, but always use pecans. My kids have always called this 'Green Stuff'. This has been family favorite for over 40 years.

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  12. Adding the cottage cheese will give you some protein to balance the sugar value of this recipe without destroying the yumminess!

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  13. I use can mixed fruit and cream cheese no nuts added there are bits of nuts in pudding.

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  14. I have made this before...it is yummy...but, we always called it Ambrosia Salad.

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  15. This is similar to the congealed salad. I wonder if it would be good with cottage cheese instead of marshmellow for more protein?

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  16. Wasn't it a dish served at the Watergate Hotel, where the political conspirators met to plan what turned out to be their "scandals"?

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    1. "The recipes came out during the Watergate scandal. The cake has a 'cover-up' icing and is full of nuts. The salad is also full of nuts."

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  17. I think walnuts. It was a family favorite way back when.... I always surprised my family with something different.... As soon as i would hit the door at family gatherings my brother would say what did u bring... Love those days, great memories!!

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  18. I love Watergate salad! I make something similar but with lime jello instead of pistachio pudding.

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    1. one lemon-one lime...condensed milk--cottage cheese--and one T horseradish!

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  19. This is the stuff that my childhood memories are made from. Thank you for refreshing my memory. This is going to be included in the Easter menu for sure! Oh the memories! :)

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  20. I make this with milk..it comes out really good..make the pistachio pudding as directed on box...Then fold in all other ingredients making sure the crushed pineapple is drained well...sooo yummy

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  21. This stuff is soooo good! My Granny's recipe card calls it "Cool Spring Dessert"...I'd never heard the Watergate name. It was one of those recipes that some people liked well enough, but my Gran and I loved it. Haven't had it in ages, so maybe I'll make some for Easter. We always made it without the milk, which is fine with me because I'm sensitive to dairy.

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    1. May I beg a copy of your Granny's recipe, please, Mindy, if it has more ingredients than all the above. My Aunt made one with : jello, whipped cream, cottage cheese, all sorts of fruit, usually walnuts, sometimes pecans, maraschino cherries, seedless green grapes, and I forget whatall else. My cousin called it "Nasty-Good," because it looked nasty, but tasted so good. I've no ideawhat the real name of that salad was. If I can cobble it together, I may make it to send the '70's & more youthful still crowd into shock one Thanksgiving or Christmas. Aunt Blanche only made it for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, the 4th of July....major holidays, iow. Thanks for the memories, All. --cjc

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  22. I remember my Mom making the Watergate Salad and the cake. Both were really good.

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  23. INSTEAD OF USING FROZEN WHIPPED CREAM WOULD THIS WORK IF I MADE MY OWN WHIPPED CREAM?

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    1. You could.....I have done it, with varied success. I think you have to have the consistency just right, or it breaks down. I just use Cool Whip now, as you KNOW it will come out just fine!

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  24. My mom-in-law use to make this when she could actually remember what I was talking about when asking her to make it for a holiday, usually Christmas or Easter. But she used lime gelatin and added cottage cheese too and congealed. It had no name other than that green jello stuff u always make. Plz follow up with the other Watergate recipes too!

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  25. Kraft food company came out with the recipe the same year pistachio pudding was released. It had been called Pistachio Pinapple Delight until a Chicago food editor wrote up the recipe in a newspaper and called it Watergate Salad to get it more attention. I cannot count the times I made this salad for barbeques, office potlucks, family dinners, etc. and to this day, it is still a favorite.

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  26. Yes any whipped cream/topping works.

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  27. We've used this recipe exactly "as is" for over 40 years. It's perfect. My cousin chops up maraschino cherries for color and a little extra flavor for the kids.

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  28. We always said the it was called Watergate because of the Pistachios (resembled bugs) and referred to the Watergate hotel being bugged! None-the-less, it is delicious and subject to seconds and sometimes third helpings!

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  29. Came out soooooo good! Thanks xx <3
    Matriros Scotach xx ;)

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  30. Awesome!!!! Again thanks! <3
    Matriros Scotach

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  31. My kids call it that green stuff I never added nuts tho

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  32. Can the marshmallows be left out? I like this stuff but have to pick out the marshmallows.

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  33. You mentioned something about a Watergate cake. I was wondering how that was made. Is it just a yellow cake with the Watergate salad as the topping? I would love to know! Have a blessed day!

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  34. I used to top an angel good cake with the pudding mixture. Always well liked.

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  35. We have been serving up Watergate Salad in our Family for many years, Just as the Recipe above is made.... Never with Cottage Cheese, or Milk, or Oranges, or any other ingredients, I can't imagine eating it any other way!!

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  36. I add drained and rinsed cherries to mine but I leave them whole. That way it's a real treat when you get a cherry. This has been a family favorite for many years! Now my daughter and daughter-in-law are continuing the tradition of "Green Goop" at the holidays!!

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  37. It's pink stuff around my house because I add cherries and it's juice. =)

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  38. Mine has one lemon-one lime jello-pet milk-a T of horseradish and pecans-can of pineapple-cottage cheese

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  39. I don't care for pineapple. I tweaked the recipe by using mandarin oranges. My recipe also called for cottage cheese. Really good and the oranges add color.

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  40. The version I always had (I live down south) is exactly like this one. It is delicious. There are various Jello salads that have cottage cheese in them. I make a really good one with strawberry jello, cottage cheese, marshmallows,pineapple, cool whip, and buttermilk to give it a tartness. However, watergate salad has no cottage cheese or sour cream,etc.

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  41. I remember this salad and I loved it. Thanks for sharing it.....

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