Watergate Salad-A fun retro dessert

Watergate Salad, rumored to first be called such by a food editor in Chicago in the 70s, used to be known as Pistachio Pineapple Delight. This dessert was a staple on the Shoney’s buffet when I was a child and is still served on the salad bar of my local Chinese buffet. It reminds me of my grandparents taking my sister and me out to dinner as kids. I spend a lot of time growing up thinking this was 7-Up Salad, another favorite of mine made with lime Jell-O and Cool Whip.

I recently rediscovered this recipe while searching for something different to bring to a church potluck dinner. Once I made the Watergate Salad and sampled it, all the memories came flooding back! I love making this simple “salad” for church dinners and family gatherings. There are never any leftovers, even when I double the recipe!

The best thing about Watergate Salad is that it is so easy to make. Once the ingredients are gathered, all that you need to do is to start combining the ingredients. There is no cooking, and it can also be made ahead of time! Feel free to make it when it is convenient for your schedule and leave it in the refrigerator until time to serve.

It is also easy to convert to a lower-sugar or lower-fat version if you are on a restricted diet by substituting sugar-free pistachio pudding mix and sugar-free or fat-free Cool Whip.

I plan on making this fun and easy dish for our next family gathering, and I know it will be a hit!


Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Watergate Salad

A sweet and tangy pineapple and marshmallow salad.
Prep Time10 mins
Chill time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8


  • 1 3.4 ounce box pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 10 ounce bag miniature marshmallows
  • ½ cup chopped nuts pecans, walnuts, or pistachios
  • 8 ounce tub Cool Whip, thawed
  • maraschino cherries, rinsed well and dried, optional


  • Combine pistachio pudding mix with the entire can of pineapple and juice. Mix well.
  • Mix in miniature marshmallows and chopped nuts.
  • Fold in thawed Cool Whip until thoroughly combined.
  • Garnish with cherries and additional chopped nuts, if desired.



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