Frog eye salad is one of those unique recipes that combines lots of different flavors to make something surprisingly tasty! It's a perfect example of the sum being more than its parts, since once you dig into this salad you'll have a hard time stopping. While it doesn't actually have frog eyes in it, this crowd-pleasing dish daringly combines pasta, mandarin oranges, pineapple juice, coconut and marshmallows, all of which meld to create something addictingly delicious.
Frog Eye Salad earned its unappetizing name because the acini de pepe pasta used looks like frog eyes. However, that's where the resemblance ends. This salad will transport you right back to every potluck you've ever had, and many consider it a family favorite at holidays and get-togethers. Frog Eye Salad originated in Idaho and Utah with the Church of Latter's Day Saints, but it has since become popular all over the states.
Frog Eye Salad is considered a dessert salad, similar to tapioca pudding or rice pudding. It is essentially a fruit salad combined with a pasta salad, then mixed with all kinds of craziness like cool whip, marshmallows and coconut. Although it does have an abundance of sugar and whipping cream, it also provides a lot of vitamin c, vitamin a and potassium due to the pineapple juice and mandarin oranges.
This is an excellent side dish at a bbq, because it is both distinct and widely enjoyed. The only downside of this sweet, fruity treat is that it needs to be refrigerated overnight or until chilled. Because of this, this Frog Eye Salad recipe takes a total time of 14 hours, so it's best to plan ahead.
The first step in making Frog Eye Salad is combining sugar, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pineapple juice and eggs in a saucepan. Make sure to mix everything thoroughly, then cook over medium heat until the mixture has thickened. Once nice and thick, remove it from heat, add in the lemon juice and allow it to cool.
While this cools to room temperature, start on the pasta. Bring water to a boil, add oil, add the remaining salt, and cook until al dente. This Italian term describes pasta that is firm to the bite, so take care not to cook it until fully soft. When finished cooking, rinse the pasta under cold water and drain the water with a strainer.
Lastly, mix the pasta, egg mixture, mandarin oranges, pineapple and whipped topping in a large bowl. Your whipped topping can be heavy whipping cream or cool whip depending on your preferences. Make sure to combine everything fully, and keep in the refrigerator overnight or until chilled. Before serving this sweet delicacy, garnish with coconut and mini marshmallows, lightly toss, and serve!
For an easier version of Frog Eye Salad, you can skip the first step of combining ingredients in a saucepan and simply make instant vanilla pudding. However, you might miss out on some of the pineapple and lemon flavoring. You can also substitute the acini di pepe pasta for couscous if that's what you have on hand. Some choose to add maraschino cherries atop this sweet salad for an extra bit of color and sugary goodness!
Mix together sugar, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pineapple juice and eggs in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thickened and remove from heat. Add lemon juice and cool.
Bring water to a boil, add oil, add the remaining salt, and cook pasta until al dente. When pasta is ready, rinse it under cold water and drain.
Combine the pasta, egg mixture, mandarin oranges, pineapple and whipped topping in a large bowl. Keep in refrigerator overnight or until chilled. Before serving top with coconut and mini marshmallows.
For a quicker variation, skip the first step and make instant vanilla pudding. You can also substitute the acini di pepe pasta for couscous if you prefer. Maraschino cherries are a yummy extra garnish for extra sweetness.