Congealed desserts, political scandals, and summer barbecues. Sounds like unlikely bedfellows, but say “Watergate Salad” and all these things come to mind.

In this dish, which even by the loosest definitions should never really be classified as a salad, an instant pistachio pudding packet is combined with crushed pineapple, whipped topping, mini marshmallows and chopped pecans. It’s the kind of pleasantly retro and weirdly addicting dessert that you will find at family get together’s and summer barbecues.

Supposedly, the recipe, originally called Pistachio Pineapple Delight, was created in 1975 by Kraft, but renamed after the political scandal by an unknown journalist trying to drum up interest in the recipe.

The Watergate Scandal

The Watergate Scandal followed a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. in 1972 and President Richard Nixon’s administration’s attempted cover-up of its involvement. When the conspiracy was discovered and investigated by the U.S. Congress, the Nixon administration’s resistance to its probes led to a constitutional crisis. Nixon was the first president to resign, and the term “Watergate” came to encompass ALL of the clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration.

Watergate Salad

Preparation Prep Time: 10m Cook Time Cook Time: 1h Total Time 0:00
Serves 8     adjust servings

This picnic staple is a cool and creamy classic.


  • 1 package JELL-O Pistachio Flavor Instant Pudding
  • 20 ounces can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
  • 1 cup Miniature Marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping


  1. In a large bowl, combine the pudding mix, the whole can of crushed pineapple (juice and all), the marshmallows, chopped pecans and whipped topping.
  2. Stir well to combine thoroughly. Chill before serving.
  3. Spoon into individual dessert bowls or glasses and top with a dollop of the remaining whipped topping and some chopped pecans.


What have you been cooking up? Share your recipe with me on Instagram using the hashtag #VintageHousewife so I can see what you've been baking!

This salad is known by a few monikers, in case you would like to serve it without getting into a political debate at your next family gathering.  It is also referred to as Green Goddess, Pistachio Delight, or Shut The Gate Salad,  Green Goop, Green Fluff, or Green Stuff. We always referred to it as “The Green Stuff” in my family.

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I am a modern gal, inspired by the past to create a home that is a retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I believe that we can fill every aspect of our homes, and ourselves with creativity, comfort, and calm. Join me as I rediscover the lost art of homemaking.


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