Classic ambrosia is a traditional fruit salad that’s actually more of a dessert than a salad. The greek origin of ambrosia means “food of the gods.” There are several ways to make this dish, depending on where you live in the country and your specific tastes. The recipe usually contains whipped cream, other dairy ingredients such as sour cream, fresh or canned pineapple, canned mandarin or orange slices, miniature marshmallows, and coconut as well. Other goodies can include maraschino cherries, bananas, strawberries, and toasted pecans.
This dish reminds me of my summers in Las Vegas, Nevada. While visiting my grandparents there, they would take my mother, brother, sister, and me to the Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino located in Henderson. The Railroad Pass had one of the best buffets off of the Strip. Ambrosia was a staple that was served at the buffet and every time I taste this dish today, it brings me back to my childhood memories of days spent out west. Ah, ambrosia!
I would like to thank the folks at delish for this classic recipe. This delicious dessert is simple to make and a real crowd-pleaser. It is always a big hit at gatherings for holidays, barbeques, or any time you want to enjoy something sweet. This simple dish is made in just one bowl and the most difficult part about its preparation is the waiting time for it to set in the refrigerator, which allows for the flavors to meld. After it sets, you will ready to dig in.
1 1/2 Cup Cool Whip
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
3 Cups Mini Marshmallows
1 15 Ounce Can of Mandarin Oranges, Drained
1 Cup Chopped Fresh Pineapple
1 Cup Shredded Coconut
3/4 Cup Halved Maraschino Cherries, Stems Removed and Drained
3/4 Cup Toasted Pecans
Toasting the Pecans
For the first step in making this delicious salad, you will want to start with toasting the pecans. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes until fragrant and slightly browned. Make sure to stir once and most importantly, do not stray too far away from the oven. You will want to keep an eye on the pecans, so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and place on a plate to cool.
Making the Cream
While the pecans are cooling, it is time to mix the remaining ingredients together. I choose not to use Cool Whip in any of my recipes. I prefer to make a dairy-free version of coconut whipped cream. If you are interested in my coconut version, please read on. If you prefer to use Cool Whip, move on to the next step of combining the ingredients.
How to Make Coconut Whipped Cream
This recipe works best when you use refrigerated coconut milk. You will want to place two – 15 ounce cans of full-fat coconut milk in the refrigerator. The cream will separate from the liquid in the can. When the cream is cold, scoop the solid portion into an electric mixer. I use a KitchenAid electric mixer and the cream comes out perfectly. I also use a touch of vanilla extract for extra sweetness. Feel free to add as much to your liking. Whip until the coconut cream is fluffy. There you go, now you have dairy-free cream.
Combining the Ingredients
In a large bowl, fold the Cool Whip or whipped coconut cream and sour cream together. Then add the oranges, pineapple, cherries, coconut, toasted pecans, and marshmallows and stir gently.
Cover and Refridgerate
Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to overnight.
After a bit of a wait, remove the ambrosia salad from the refrigerator and get ready to enjoy!