ambrosia salad

Ambrosia Salad: a Classic Southern Dish to Serve at Potlucks


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When I was a kid I always loved eating dinner at my grandparent's house. My Grandma Betty, a spit-fire with a heart of gold, always made the best comfort food. Pork loin, fried chicken, lasagna, you name it. While the main entrees changed, one thing that was always present on the dinner table was her famous ambrosia salad. Known to me as "marshmallow salad," I couldn't believe my eyes the first time it was placed in front of me. "What do you mean there are marshmallows in this salad? Am I dreaming?" Today is the second anniversary of her death, and to honor her, I thought to eat and learn about ambrosia salad side dish was more than fitting.

The History of Ambrosia Salad

Categorized as a jello salad, the ambrosia salad is named after the food of Greek Gods, which is said to give longevity or immortality to those who eat it. Created in the South, the first-ever recipe of the fruit salad was recorded in an 1867 cookbook titled, Dixie Cookery: or How I Managed My Table for Twelve Years written by Maria Massey Barringer of Concord, North Carolina. While the recipe is basic (it calls for coconut, sugar, and pulped oranges) it's easy to see where today's recipe came from. By the 1900s, the recipe had gained pineapple and whipped cream and in the 1970s people were adding anything from jello to mayonnaise and sour cream to their salads to bring over to the neighborhood potluck. At this time canned fruit cocktails reigned supreme at every party you attended. Remember Watergate Salad?

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Today's recipe follows the classic preparation my grandmother used with canned mandarin oranges, Cool Whip, maraschino cherries, pineapple tidbits, pecans, and mini marshmallows. My grandmother always used to like using the rainbow miniature marshmallows.

How to Make a Classic Ambrosia Salad Recipe

Begin by combining the Cool Whip and sour cream in a large bowl and mix until combined. Fold in marshmallows, shredded coconut, pineapple chunks (or tidbits depending on preference), maraschino cherries, and pecans. Gently fold in the mandarin oranges last to prevent them from breaking.

Cover and refrigerate the Ambrosia fruit salad for at least two hours before serving.

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This Food of the Gods is also great with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Try making it for Easter.

Watch: You Can Finally Have Crispy Edges on Every Brownie Piece With This Brownie Pan

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ambrosia salad

Ambrosia Salad

What's better than a fruit salad containing marshmallows? The Ambrosia Salad is a fun retro salad to serve to family and friends.
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 10 servings
Calories 381 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz Cool Whip
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 20 oz pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 10 oz Maraschino cherries, drained
  • 11 oz mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Instructions
 

  • Begin by combining the Cool Whip and sour cream in a large bowl and mix until combined.
  • Fold in the marshmallows, shredded coconut, pineapple tidbits, maraschino cherries, and pecans. Gently fold in the mandarin oranges last to prevent them from breaking.
  • Cover and refrigerate the Ambrosia fruit salad for at least two hours before serving.

Nutrition

Sodium: 71mgCalcium: 60mgVitamin C: 22.3mgVitamin A: 500IUSugar: 35gFiber: 4gPotassium: 264mgCholesterol: 5mgCalories: 381kcalMonounsaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 14gFat: 23gProtein: 3gCarbohydrates: 42gIron: 1.3mg