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Simple Watergate Salad (Green Fluff)

In this post I’m going to show you how to whip up a light and fluffy classic known as Watergate salad. It’s simple and tasty and can be made in a hurry! 

Simple Watergate salad from Out of the Box Baking

What is Watergate salad? 

My friend Misty posted on Facebook about her “green fluff.” I wasn’t sure what she meant until I started looking up fluffy desserts.

That’s when I stumble across this recipe for Watergate salad. It’s similar to my Ambrosia salad, which I love, so I had a feeling I’d enjoy this one, too. 

Sure enough I fell in love with the flavors in this simple dessert. I’ve always been a fan of simple no bake desserts, especially the ones that are fluffy in texture. 

Because I didn’t want any leftovers, I tweaked my recipe to include a full container of whipped cream. I also added more pecans than some of the online recipes called for. But, that’s just how I roll. You do you. 

The History of Watergate Salad

Watergate salad hails from the 1970s, at about the same time the Watergate scandal was taking place. 

For those who aren’t as old as me, the Watergate scandal was a major political scandal that occurred in the U.S. during the early ‘70s. It involved the illegal activities of President Richard Nixon’s administration, including the attempted cover-up of the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.

Some people say Watergate salad is green color as a nod to the money that was used to bribe the burglars who broke into the Watergate hotel. We’ll never know for sure, I suppose, but the funny name “Watergate salad” was probably meant in a comedic way, to poke fun at the incident. 

The break-in wasn’t really “fluffy” but the dessert surely is! 

Are there Other Names for Watergate salad?

Yep! As I said, my friend calls her “green fluff.” Other people call it pistachio pineapple delight, green goop, pistachio pudding salad, or even “green stuff.”

Call it whatever you like, but serve it with pride, knowing people have enjoyed this delicious dessert for generations!

As I said above, this is definitely not an original recipe!

Watergate salad Ingredients

Simple Watergate salad from Out of the Box Baking

You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need (just a handful of ingredients you might already have on hand in your pantry or refrigerator). 

  • 1 small box of Pistachio pudding (instant)
  • 1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 small container Cool Whip (or other whipped topping)

How to Make this Simple Watergate salad

This comes together so quickly! It’s such an easy dessert. You can literally serve up dessert in less than five minutes. (No kidding!) 

Pour crushed pineapple into a large bowl. 

Simple Watergate salad from Out of the Box Baking

Add dry instant pudding mix. 

Simple Watergate salad from Out of the Box Baking

Stir well. (I used a whisk to make sure it was completely incorporated.) 

Simple Watergate salad from Out of the Box Baking

Add the full container of whipped cream. 

Simple Watergate salad from Out of the Box Baking

Fold in chopped pecans.

Simple Watergate salad from Out of the Box Baking

Stir well. 

Simple Watergate salad from Out of the Box Baking

Finally, add the marshmallows.

Simple Watergate salad from Out of the Box Baking

Stir well and serve! 

Simple Watergate salad from Out of the Box Baking

Store in refrigerator in airtight container. This will stay fresh for several days (but the marshmallows will continue to “bloom” as the days go by).

What to Expect from this Easy Classic Watergate Salad

Simple Watergate salad from Out of the Box Baking

This luscious dessert has all of the flavors of my childhood. I was swept back in time to our church pot lucks, where the grannies would bring these light fluffy salads. 

I love the creaminess of this dish and I’m glad I decided to add all of the whipped cream. But I’m also a fan of the texture of the nuts. They provide the crunch this creamy mixture needs. 

My favorite part? The mini marshmallows. I think I must still be a kid at heart because I flipped out (in a good way) over the sweet coated marshmallows. Those marshmallows will make this dish perfect at family gatherings. The kids will love it!

Variations on this Classic Dessert Salad Recipe

I love this recipe so much and I’m already thinking of ways to enhance it. Here are some of the ideas that came to mind right away. 

Coconut: I’m crazy about coconut and think it would be a terrific addition to this recipe. You wouldn’t need much, maybe half a cup or so. You could even add toasted coconut, if you like. 

Sugar-free: Start with sugar free whipped cream. If you can find a sugar-free pudding that you enjoy (any flavor) add that. Cut back on the pecans and marshmallows. 

Maraschino cherries: I think maraschino cherries would be lovely in this dish and would give it a fun red twist. 

Mandarin oranges: If you’re not a fan of pineapple you can replace it with a 20 ounce can of (chopped) mandarin oranges. Delicious! 

Other Light and Fluffy Desserts from Out of the Box Baking

If you like this recipe you’re going to love some of my other light and fluffy desserts. Here are a few fan favorites: 

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Pie: If you love a light, fluffy summery pie, one that doesn’t require any baking at all, do I have a treat for you! In this post I’m going to show you how to make a luscious no bake strawberry cheese pie, one sure to wow your guests. 

Lemon Lush (Lemon Oreo Dessert): If you love the light, bright flavor of lemon in a rich trifle-like dessert you’re going to adore this lovely Lemon Oreo Lush. It’s simple to make and loaded with your favorite cookies—Oreos!

Mama’s Traditional Mandarin Orange Cake: If you love the bright, fresh flavors of mandarin oranges and the light, fluffy texture of a yellow cake, then I’ve got the recipe for you. This traditional Mandarin Orange cake will give you flashbacks to the good old days. . .in all the best ways! 


That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe. 

See this recipe at

Full Plate Thursday 

Weekend Potluck

The Lazy Gastronome

Busy Monday


About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

Watergate salad

Watergate salad

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

In this post I’m going to show you how to whip up a light and fluffy classic known as Watergate salad. It’s simple and tasty and can be made in a hurry!

Ingredients

  • 1 small box of Pistachio pudding (instant)
  • 1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 small container Cool Whip (or other whipped topping)

Instructions

    This comes together so quickly! You can literally serve up dessert in less than five minutes. (No kidding!)

    Pour crushed pineapple into a large bowl.
    Add dry instant pudding mix.
    Stir well. (I used a whisk to make sure it was completely incorporated.)
    Add the full container of whipped cream.
    Fold in chopped pecans. Stir well.
    Finally, add the marshmallows.
    Stir well and serve!

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