Mandarin, Pineapple, and Cherry Ambrosia Salad – While we can’t claim that it’ll make you immortal, this sweet, creamy dessert packed with exotic flavors certainly seems fit to be called the “food of the gods!”
When I was about 10 years old my mom made a recipe for ambrosia salad from Country Living Magazine. Ever since then, my youngest sister and I have been hooked.
This salad has been a tradition in my family for over 20 years, but it’s an old recipe that I know has been around much longer. Out of curiosity I looked up it’s history.
This American dish actually has quite a long history. The recipe was first referenced in 1867 by Maria Massey Barringer from Concord, North Carolina in her cookbook Dixie Cookery: or How I Managed My Table for Twelve Years. The recipe has since grown and stayed in popularity in kitchens all across America. To learn more about its full history check out this article at Serious Eats.
Every Easter, and usually some other holidays and picnics in between, there’s now the important question of, “Who’s making the ambrosia?” Usually my mom or my little sister make it because the magazine clipping of the recipe is at their house. Sadly, because of COVID-19, this Easter we’ll all be celebrating in our own homes. I guess that means I’m bringing the ambrosia to my household this year!
I didn’t want to bother my mom for her recipe. We’re both healthcare workers, and have both been under stress… As such, today’s recipe is more-or-less inspired by my memory of Country Living’s recipe from the 90’s.
This ambrosia salad is sweet and creamy, with airy clouds that hold up exotic tropical flavors. Juicy mandarin oranges, sweet pineapple tidbits, bright maraschino cherries, and coconut shavings transport you to place full of warmth and sunshine. Even when you can’t drive to mom’s house for the holiday, at least you can taste the flavor of a faraway heaven on earth.
Ambrosia salad pairs perfectly with an Easter or Christmas honey ham. It’s also cool and refreshing, so this salad is sure to be a hit at your next picnic or cookout. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’ve gotta!
In Greek mythology the word “ambrosia” references the food of the gods which was thought to bestow immortality to whoever consumed it. By no means am I going to claim that my recipe will make you immortal, but I dare say it tastes pretty darn heavenly!
- 8 oz Cool Whip
- 1/2 C sour cream
- 1 15 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained and lightly pressed
- 1 8 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained
- 2 C mini marshmallows
- 1 C sweetened coconut shreds
- 1 10 oz jar maraschino cherries, drained
- additional coconut shreds and maraschino cherries for garnish (optional)
- Before beginning, if your Cool Whip is frozen, place it in the refrigerator the night before to defrost.
- In a large bowl mix together the Cool Whip and sour cream until evenly combined and creamy.
- Next add in the remaining ingredients, taking care to adequately drain the fruits. For the crushed pineapple, gently press out some of the excess juices.
- Fold together the ingredients to evenly combine. Take care not to mix too vigorously and break apart the fruit. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving and up to overnight if you would like to make it ahead for a party.
- Garnish with coconut shreds and maraschino cherries as desired, just before serving.