This easy watergate salad recipe combines tangy fruits, mini marshmallows, and crunchy pistachios in one perfect side dish. This refreshing pistachio fruit salad has just the right amount of nutty flavor and pineapple chunks for the perfect summer dish! Plus it only takes minutes to make!
This green fluff originally got its name from a chef at the Watergate hotel who developed the dish and served it regularly as a side dish salad.
It quickly became associated with the infamous watergate scandal, since they originated around the same time. Filled to the brim with mini marshmallows, pineapples, and pistachios this retro dessert salad is said to have a lot to cover up too. And this will probably be the only time I ever talk about a Presidential scandal on my site!
Whatever the origin story for this pistachio salad recipe may be, one thing is for certain, it makes a very tasty treat. And if you know it by another name like green stuff or pistachio delight, I’m sure it’s probably the same thing or something similar – a pistachio dessert salad of some kind!
Like all great salads, this pistachio pineapple delight can be both a side salad and an easy dessert salad. It’s perfect for any occasion, like a backyard party, graduation party, or 50th birthday party.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy recipe – this fluffy salad is made with just a handful of ingredients in one large mixing bowl. This is a great option if you are like me. This simple dessert is tasty, easy and all done in one serving bowl with a rubber spatula using simple ingredients.
- Customizable – looking for more than just the soft texture of the marshmallows and pistachio pieces? Easily add in coconut flakes or crunchy pecans to make it work for you!
- Simple recipe – this creamy watergate salad is made in four steps! It can be hectic trying to get multiple dishes ready at one time. This green goop takes away the headache of cooking another side dish without compromising taste.
- Mini marshmallows – to make this pistachio fluff salad extra fluffy use a ten-ounce bag of mini marshmallows. You can also add in the fruit-flavored marshmallows if you wanted a little more fruity flavor, but the original recipe calls for mini marshmallows!
- Pineapple juice – it can be tricky to drain the juice from the crushed pineapple. Make sure to press as much juice out of the can as you can, using a cheesecloth works great for this! Don’t worry if you get some pineapple chunks mixed in with the instant pistachio pudding mix. I know some people use fresh pineapple but it’s a pain to crush fresh, so I recommend canned for the best results!
- Fruits – you can easily swap out the pineapple for fresh-cut pineapple, mandarine oranges, or strawberries. I also sometimes like to add in maraschino cherries (or just put those on the top).
- Cool Whip – this can be substituted for low fat or you can make your own out of heavy whipping cream. Whatever you choose, it’s important that it is thawed so it can easily mix with the pudding. I like Cool Whip rather than something like cream cheese because it gives it a nice fluffy texture!
How to make watergate salad
Making this delicious dish is really simple. You whisk, mix, chill, and serve. It can be done in a matter of minutes too!
To make things even easier for you, I wrote out all the steps and threw in some pictures to help answer any potential questions.
1 – Make The Fluff
Begin this creamy green fruit salad by whisking together the juice from the canned pineapple and the dry pudding mix in a large bowl. Continue to whisk until the pudding is creamy and there are no lumps.
Next, use a rubber spatula to gently fold the room temperature Cool Whip into the pistachio mix. Fold the Cool Whip in until it is evenly mixed into the pudding.
After the Cool Whip is mixed in with the instant pudding mix, gently fold the crushed pineapple, mini marshmallows, and chopped pistachios. Fold in ingredients until they are evenly mixed throughout the pudding mix.
2 – Store The Fluff
Now that the salad is complete it will need to be refrigerated for 4-6 hours which will allow the flavors to pop and the marshmallows to soften. You can even let it sit in the fridge overnight if you prefer. Make sure you cover it with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container so it doesn’t dry out.
3 – Serve!
When you are ready to eat your pistachio pudding dessert salad, remove it from the fridge and serve chilled! Sometimes I add a marascino cherry on top and sometimes I eat it on its own!
This refreshing salad will be a hit in the warmer months of spring and summer!
Expert Tips And Storage Info
Mixing the canned pineapple juice with the pudding ensures that there are no lumps in the final dish. You can do this by hand with a whisk or with a hand mixer.
Don’t skip the chilling time, this makes sure the flavors blend together and the marshmallows have time to soften. The pistachios will still be crunchy, but you can add them in right before you serve it if you want them to be extra crunchy since a little crunch is the best thing in a creamy salad like this!
Store the salad in an airtight container for up to four days. After that, the fruit juices make the dish soggy.
It was created by a sous chef at the Watergate hotel and was named after it. It was also a popular dish during the presidential scandal, and so the name stuck.
Yes! In fact, we recommend it sitting for at least 4 hours, so making it the night before works perfect! Plus it will save you time the day of.
Yes, you can. I would recommend using vanilla pudding if you are wanting to replace the pistachio flavor. you can also replace the pistachio pieces with any other nut or omit it completely.
More Easy Dessert Salads
Love watergate salad? Try one of these delicious salad recipes next!
- Ambrosia salad – this pink fluff salad is a classic for a reason!
- Strawberry fluff salad – the best strawberry fluff recipe, full of amazing flavor!
- Berry cheesecake salad – this creamy and fluffy dessert combines berries and cheesecake in one amazing dish!
- Orange fluff – a creamy fluffy dessert with all sorts of orange flavor!
Watergate Salad (Pistachio Fluff)
- 2 (20) oz cans crushed pineapple in juice
- 2 (3.4) oz pistachio instant pudding mix
- 8 oz tub Cool Whip
- 3-4 cups mini marshmallows
- ¾ cup chopped pistachios
- Maraschino cherries for topping
- Whisk together the juice from the canned pineapple and the pistachio pudding in a large bowl until creamy.2 (20) oz cans crushed pineapple in juice, 2 (3.4) oz pistachio instant pudding mix
- Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the cool whip into the pistachio mix.8 oz tub Cool Whip
- Gently fold in the crushed pineapple, mini marshmallows, and chopped pistachios.2 (20) oz cans crushed pineapple in juice, 3-4 cups mini marshmallows, 3/4 cup chopped pistachios
- Refrigerated for 4-6 hours then serve with a maraschino cherry on top!Maraschino cherries for topping