Watergate Salad Recipe

There is nothing fancy about this recipe, and it is in no way difficult. The original version, well second draft, of this recipe can be found on the side of the Jell-o Pistachio Pudding box.

My version has a bit more of the good stuff, marshmallows and Cool Whip, and uses pistachios instead of pecans. That’s one of the glories of this salad.

(Have you ever noticed how liberal folks used to be with the term salad? The only thing about this dish that could qualify it as a salad is its color.)

Lack of nutritional value aside, the Watergate Salad is wildly popular. 

Every family, every grandmother and every region of the country has a different name for it. In your house, maybe it’s called “Pistachio Delight.” 

If you’re like me, your Grandmother whipped up “Green Stuff” with fruit-flavored mini mallows for special occasions. No matter what you call it, I think we can all agree, it’s delicious and it takes you back in time when you see it on the table.

My hope in posting this recipe is not that your mind is blown and that you swoon over my culinary prowess. I am hoping that this recipe makes it into the hands of someone that has been searching for this very thing. Maybe their grandmother made it, but they could never find the recipe because she had made up her own name for it. Or maybe just seeing the recipe will remind someone that they once enjoyed this green, goopy, ultimately satisfying side dish at a family dinner, and are now dying to whip it up.

Enjoy, and feel free to be crazy with this recipe. Use the Cool Whip, pistachio pudding, and crushed pineapple as a base, and build from there. Add shredded coconut or sliced bananas; the possibilities are endless.

Pistachio Watergate Salad
Serves 8
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
200 calories
34 g
11 g
7 g
3 g
3 g
115 g
86 g
27 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 200
Calories from Fat 59
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 11mg
Sodium 86mg
Total Carbohydrates 34g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 27g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 3.4 ounce box of pistachio pudding mix
  2. 2 cups thawed whipped topping
  3. 1 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple
  4. ½ cup coarsely chopped pistachios
  5. 1½ cup miniature marshmallows
  1. Using a whisk, mix together the whipped topping, pudding mix and crushed pineapple.
  2. Fold in pistachios and marshmallows.
  3. Chill for at least one hour before serving.
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My love affair with food began on stepstools in the kitchens of the women in my family. Handing my great-grandmother carrots to grate for coleslaw, licking the beaters covered in my grandmother’s peanut butter frosting, and watching my mother cook up Italian dishes covered in cheese. To this day, I love cheese. Besides cheese, I love painting, ocean air, and the smell of tar after it’s rained. My husband Josh and I have created a little suburban farm with our Layla-Bug, a ridiculously hyper dog, and a one-eyed chicken. Someday, we hope to upgrade to a real country farm.

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