Recipe of the Week: Pistachio Dessert Salad

pistachio dessert salad In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day I wanted to post a green colored recipe. My mom used to make this Pistachio Dessert Salad every year at Christmas. Actually she called it Congealed Salad or Pistachio Salad. As a kid I always called it “that green stuff.” Actually I still call it that, but I think Pistachio Dessert Salad sounds a little more inviting.


In some cookbooks it’s also listed as Watergate Salad. In case your curious about this name origin I looked it up (proving once again that I’m one of the biggest nerds on the planet), and I found an article at It said that pistachio pudding was introduced by Kraft in 1976, and customers began making Pistachio Pineapple Delight. Then a Chicago food reporter named it Watergate Salad in her column. So there you go.


Today I’m sharing the recipe that I use and some variations on the recipe.

Recipe for Pistachio Dessert Salad:





1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 (3 3/4 oz.) pkg. instant pistachio pudding mix
1 to 1 1/2 c. miniature marshmallows
1 (15 oz) can crushed pineapple (drained)
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)


Directions: Combine pudding mix and Cool Whip. Add other ingredients and mix well. Chill 1 hour before serving.
Tips & Suggestions:


-This is a very easy recipe to customize for different occasions or for your own tastes. Here are some examples and suggestions:
  • Add a splash of color and flavor by mixing in OR topping with Maraschino cherries.
  • Substitute a can of fruit cocktail for the pineapple. Or if you like a lot of fruit, mix in the fruit cocktail in addition to the pineapple.
  • Another great item to subsitute or add to the mix is mandarin oranges.
-You can also change the recipe completely by using a different flavor of pudding or jello mix.
  • My mom makes a red/pink version of this using cherry or strawberry jello and Maraschino cherries.
  • If you want a green salad, but you don’t like pistachio, you can use lime gelatin instead.
  • Another version I’ve heard of uses orange jello, mandarin oranges, and/or pineapple.

Personally I love this pistachio version. What do you guys think?


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  1. Jolly Mom says

    Wow! That looks really good! I love pistachios so this is something that I’m definitely going to try : )

  2. Barbara Bakes says

    I think it’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

  3. Erin Tales says

    It sounds perfect for St. Pattys!

  4. shopannies says

    one of my favorites did you know this also goes by the name watergate salad? I knew this but do not know why

  5. We made this in my family, too, only our’s didn’t have marshmallows in it. I’ve also eaten some versions that had cottage cheese added to it. Any way you make this, it’s always good! Thanks for reminding me of a family classic!

  6. I was just recently introduced to pistachios and surprisingly I like them! This seems like a great way to use them!

    Sorry.. my Make Something Monday is finally up… everyone is tired and sick in the household! Please stop by if you get a chance. I have a linky.

  7. Diana - FreeStyleMama says

    Yum…I want some!! Here is mine!

  8. The Blossoming Skillet says

    We make this every Thanksgiving! Our family absolutely loves it.

  9. ♥Rosie♥ says

    Just perfect for St.Patrick’s Day!! I’m a sucker for pistachios and your salad looks great

    Happy St.Patrick’s Day Jerri

  10. This sounds perfect! Easy, simple and I bet its delicious!!

  11. Tara @ Feels like home says

    This looks delicious! I love pistachio desserts. 🙂

  12. HappyHermit says

    Interesting , I will have to give it a try.

  13. This sounds amazing! I’ve had this several times and love it!

  14. Lisa@BlessedwithGrace says

    Great recipe for St. Patty’s Day! I LOVE that you gave us a history lesson. That was fun! I love that you called it “green stuff”. My hubby’s grandmother made the strawberry version that he called “pink stuff”. Thanks for sharing the recipe and linking up to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

  15. amariaf2000 says

    Love it! I have a recipe for pistachio cake on my blog that I enjoy in the summer! So refreshing!
    ~angela @ peonypatch

  16. Kim @ Forever Wherever says

    Oh, I had almost forgotten that my mom made something like this. She put it in a pie crust I think. It was great! Thanks for sharing, and it’s a perfect treat for St. Paddy’s Day!

  17. Belle @ says

    I love this salad myself. I’m like the other reader and have also had it with cottage cheese. I tend to make it more often with the cottage cheese because I tend to snack on it and feel I’m upping the nutrition a bit. My DH recently had dental surgery and I made some for him and he loved it. In the past he’s always looked at my “green” snack and ignored it. Sigh…guess I have to share now.

    Thanks for stopping by
    Mountain Belle

  18. Jerri - Simply Sweet Home says

    Thanks everyone. This is a great St. Patrick’s Day Treat, though it’s also good for spring, summer, or as I’ve shown, Christmas.

    It’s great to know that some of you had this growing up too.

    Also, a couple of you mentioned that you love pistachios. Believe it or not, I do not even eat pistachios. I tried them once and I didn’t really like them. But I love this stuff. So if anyone was unsure about the pistachio flavor, give it a shot anyway. You may be surprised.

    Kim – Actually I think it would be good in a pie shell. That’s a good idea.

    Lisa, glad you enjoyed the history lesson, and it’s cool that you were familiar with the “pink stuff.”

  19. What a great idea. I didn’t think about using this for St. Pat’s day … I love this salad, so cool and refreshing.

  20. We call it Watergate Salad and it’s a fav here. I’ll have to try some of your variations. Yum!


  21. use to amke this all the time & still do from time to time, I use the differnt colored minie marshmellows , makes a great Easter desert , thanks for stopping by.

  22. Oh, we make this recipe all the time and love it! 🙂 It’s so good, isn’t it?


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