The dish features a daring combination of jet-puffed marshmallows, shredded coconut, pineapple and mandarin oranges. It’s most commonly finished with a smattering of cool whip (originally sour cream) and chilled in the fridge overnight, encouraging the ingredients to congeal into a dense, syrupy mass. More gourmet renditions have been known to include homemade marshmallows, crushed pecans, maraschino cherries and other fresh fruit. But beyond the various recipes, each ambrosia salad offers the same feeling: The quiet thrill of knowing you’re about to do something you shouldn’t, followed by pure, sticky bliss as you place that first goopy spoonful into your mouth.
A fruit salad without morals, nothing about ambrosia indicates that it should be served as a main course. Nevertheless, this is where it’s most likely to appear. I have never seen ambrosia on a dessert table. But have bared witness to it resting amongst mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and stuffing at countless potlucks and celebrations.
The mixture of refrigerated coconut and sour cream is rumoured to have begun in the southern U.S. in the 1800s, with the earliest written reference of the salad published in a cookbook from 1867, Dixie Cookery by Maria Massey Barringer. Thanks to newly built railroads that linked the west coast with the east, imported ingredients like coconut became easier to access. By the 1870s, the proliferation of imported ingredients meant ambrosia recipes were common.
- 4 bacon slices
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3/4 teaspoon Italian herb blend
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons half and half
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach in bite size pieces
- 2 1/8 inche thick onion slices
- 1 hard boiled egg, sieved
cook bacon and crumble. Blend mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, garlic and sugar. Add oil and vinegar, the half and half.
Toss spinach and onion in a large bowl with enough dressing to taste. Sprinkle with bacon and egg.
This simple throwback frozen fruit salad has a special place in my heart as my family enjoys it every Thanksgiving, Just once a year.
- 3 ounce softened cream cheese
- 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 egg whites
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 5-6 large marshmallows cut up
- 1/4 cup drained mandarin orange slices
- 1 pound can drained fruit cocktail
- 2 tablespoons chopped maraschino cherries
- 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
Blend cheese, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Beet egg whites until foamy. Beat in sugar a tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form. Beat cream until stiff. Fold cream into egg whites. Fold into cheese mixture. Fold in rest of ingredients. Pour into eight inch square pan. Freeze.
This is a family recipe I grew up eating. I always enjoyed and looked forward to this being served with dinner. The only salad I liked more was my mother’s caesar salad. I still view it as a special treat when I serve it. I often make some changes like not using canned mandarin oranges. On occasion I also add marinated artichoke hearts, pickled asparagus or whatever strikes my fancy. A great salad to accompany a nice rare steak.
6 Cups Torn Romaine Lettuce Lightly Packed
1 Cup Mandarin Orange Segments, Drained
3 Green Onions, Sliced
1 Tablespoon Chopped Parsley
3/4 Cup Sweet & Sour Dressing
1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds
Place romaine, oranges, onions and parsley in a large bowl. Just before serving toss with dressing. Spoon onto individual plates and top with almonds.
Sweet and Sour Dressing
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup White Wine Tarragon Vinegar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Tarragon
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Pepper
Dash Liquid Hot Pepper Sauce
Whisk together all ingredients until creamy. Refrigerate at least twenty minutes to blend flavors.
Israeli Salad is really a misnomer as it’s Arab, but extremely popular in Israel. A simple salad that is served at pretty much every meal.
- 3 cups chopped tomatoes
- 3 cups chopped cucumbers
- Chopped onion optional to taste (traditionally no onion)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well to combine and serve.
A classic Southern salad you won’t soon forget.
½ cup pecan halves
½ medium onion, sliced
About 6 cups fresh spinach
2 cups strawberries
¼ cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 medium orange
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Spread the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until fragrant. Cool and chop coarsely.
Wash the spinach well and dry. Remove the thick stems and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large salad bowl.
Remove the hulls, the leafy stem, from the strawberries with a paring knife. Slice the strawberries and add to the spinach with the pecans. Add the onion to the salad with the goat cheese. Toss well. Grate the orange zest and sprinkle over the salad.
Squeeze the juice from the orange into a small bowl (this should yield about ½ cup). Whisk in the salt, dry mustard, and vinegar. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil. Stir in the poppy seeds.
Add just enough dressing to the salad to moisten and toss well. Serve immediately.