Watergate Salad Trifle is a spin on a popular salad invented in the 1970’s following the Watergate scandal that dominated news outlets around the world!
This trifle re-imagines this retro salad in a lighter, tastier variation!
Watergate Salad Trifle
Who remembers this popular green salad from the late 70’s and 80’s called Watergate Salad? The popular salad is known by names such as pistachio delight, shut the gate salad, green goop, green fluff and green stuff and these days can be found on the table during Thanksgiving or Easter celebrations.
According to research efforts, the origin of the name “Watergate salad” is obscure: Kraft Corporate Affairs (who makes the pistachio pudding) says “There are several urban myths regarding the name change, but we can’t substantiate any of them. We developed the recipe for Pistachio Pineapple Delight.” It was in 1975, the same year that pistachio pudding mix came out. According to Kraft Kitchens, when the recipe for Pistachio Pineapple Delight was sent out, an unnamed Chicago food editor renamed it Watergate Salad to promote interest in the recipe when she printed it in her column. Neither the article nor editor has been tracked down, however!
Did You Know
Further to this in in 1922 Helen Keller published a similar recipe, calling for canned diced pineapple, nuts, marshmallows, whipped cream and other ingredients. “I ate it first in California, so I call it Golden Gate Salad”. Similar “fruit salad” and “pineapple salad” recipes had been published in the 1910’s, and “Golden Gate Salad” was served in some U.S. hotels. The question still begs to be answered, who came up with this recipe or was it an accumulation of recipes as we see so often these days?!
We collaborated with Cococo Chocolatiers for this post. They have an assortment of chocolate products including baking items and some of my favourite bars. Visit in person or shop online.
TIPS & TRICKS
- Looking for a brighter, greener colour, add a couple drops of food colouring to the mix.
- Use pound cake to replace Angel food cake. Make or buy one premade.
- Coloured mini marshmallows can be used in place of white.
- Use whatever glassware you would like. This can also be made in a trifle dish.
- Use all the pineapple and all the juice. The juice mixes with the pudding powder to help create a creamy texture.
- We don’t like Cool Whip and have never used it but feel free to use instead of whipping cream.
- It serves 6 in individual glasses, however it could serve more if you used smaller bowls or made it in a trifle dish.
Looking for more ideas, here’s some of our most popular desserts!
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Nanaimo Bars
- Blueberry Lavender Creme Brulee
- Chocolate Fondue
- Grilled Angel Food Cake
If you made this recipe tag Wanda Baker on Instagram and hashtag it #bakersbeans or #wandabaker and please comment below!
Recipe photos have been updated – 2023.
- 1 pkg Jello Pistachio Flavour Instant Pudding (4 serving size)
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- 1 398ml can crushed pineapple in juice undrained
- 1 litre whipping cream whipped
- 1 Angel Food Cake
- 1/2 cup pecan pieces toasted
- Cococo Chocolatiers chocolate shavings
- plastic wrap
- Combine pistachio pudding, marshmallows and pineapple. Fold in 3 cups whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Cut your Angel Food Cake into 1 inch or smaller cubes if using a glass vs. a bowl.
- Place a layer of cake cubes on the bottom of your bowl or glassware.
- Add a layer of the pistachio pudding mixture.
- Spread on a dollop of whipping cream.
- Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate shavings.
- Add another layer of cake cubs and continue to layer 2 - 3 times depending on your glassware.
- Top with whipping cream, pecans and chocolate shavings. Serve.