A Southern Grace: blessed be

April 7, 2015

blessed be


There seems to be ample evidence that many of my favorite side dishes could almost double as a dessert--I've posted several that have plain ol' granulated sugar as an ingredient (exhibits A, B, D, M, and R, for starters). I must have a sweet tooth or something.

Another sweet and awesome accompaniment to your main course is ambrosia, also appropriately known as the food of the gods. While there's not actually any granulated sugar in it, it's super sweet from all the fantastic fruit (and magical marshmallows) scattered throughout. In writing this post, I've only just found out that many recipes call for whipped topping, which would make it even more dessert-like, but my mom never did that step, so neither do I*. Several recipes call for maraschino cherries too, but I prefer tart, un-maraschino-ed cherries--the other ones always seem so artificial to me.

You can use sour cream or plain yogurt to moisten this dish, and I've tried both with great success. I've even used vanilla yogurt before, but I must admit that it took the sweetness to a level that was just a bit too high, even for me. It's very important that you drain the canned fruit extremely well--I dump it into a colander and let it sit for 30 minutes or so. If you don't, that liquid separates from everything else in the dish and makes the whole thing messy and unappealing. I'm speaking from experience here, folks.

Toss in whatever type of nut you like; my selection usually depends on what I have on hand. Walnuts and pecans are both excellent, but I'm sure sliced almonds would be equally delightful. The important thing to remember regarding the nuts is to hold off on adding them until you're ready to serve. They don't turn completely soggy, but they do lose some of their wonderful crunch the longer they're mixed into the dish.

There are endless ways to personalize this dish, and I have a strong suspicion that it'll always turn out tasty, regardless of your combination of components. You can't really go wrong with something made with fruit, nuts, and a creamy sauce (oh, and MARSHMALLOWS).

Amazing Ambrosia Salad
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained really well
  • 1 (8-ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained really well
  • 1 cup red or green grapes, halved
  • 1 cup tart cherries, pitted (obviously)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt, more or less to the wetness you desire
Combine the marshmallows, oranges, pineapple, grapes, cherries, and coconut in a large bowl and stir to mix.
Add the sour cream or yogurt and mix well, adding more if you feel compelled to do so, then cover the dish and refrigerate for at least an hour or two before adding the nuts and serving. As you might expect, this dish doesn't keep particularly well, but I don't think that will be a problem.


Angie Schneider said...

Lots of fruits, nuts and yoghurt..I think this is even OK for my breakfast! YUM!

Alicia Foodycat said...

I've only ever had this as a dessert - some American side dishes do freak out a less-sweet palate (sweet potato casserole? That's dessert!) - with whipped cream holding it together. It was lovely but I can't accept it as a salad!

Sue/the view from great island said...

I'm bookmarking this for next Easter, it's such a charming old fashioned dish!

Marjie said...

Looks like tomorrow's breakfast to me. Hubster may not be amused, but he'll get over it.

Barbara said...

Even if I didn't know you were from the south, I'd know after this post! This is an old favorite, we even froze versions of it once in a while for holidays. But it's also a perfect take along for any picnic. Everyone loves it. Your addition of the cherries is a great idea...will be adding those to my recipe.

Pam said...

My kids love Ambrosia. It looks and sounds tasty Grace.

~~louise~~ said...

First and most importantly,
♫♪♫♪♫♪Happy Birthday to Youuuuuuuuuuuuu♫♪♫♪♫♪

I have hadn't Ambrosia in years! You sure do know your stuff about it, lol...I prefer it without those "fake" cherries too.

Thanks for sharing, Grace...Hope you have a day of nectar and goodness:)

P.S. I'm so sorry I didn't get to post April's calendar because your birthday was/is on it. If you look in my sidebar and click, you'll see the unfinished April calendar.

Patricia Bacon said...

You know, this is the kind of treat I might make and put in the fridge ( minus the nuts) and have for an"impulse splurge". Like sitting and watching a fav. show and need a treat. THIS... is a go-to dish!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

Ambrosia salad isn't one I have had, but it sounds delicious! Sweet salads are a required salad at all of our holiday meals!

Katerina said...

I would love to eat this sweet salad even for breakfast. This is a great way to start your day!

Joanne said...

I actually love that this doesn't have the whipped topping...makes it feel much more like a salad...or breakfast. :P

lisa is cooking said...

Love this classic! It's the coconut that brings it all together for me.

Marcela said...

omg... this is so tasty! I would love it as breakfast!
Have a wonderful evening, dear.

Macaroni and Cheesecake said...

This looks great! I love that you added nuts to it too, I bet that adds a great crunch!

Carolyn Jung said...

I haven't had this since I was a kid. Of course, I loved eating fruit that way folded into all that lovely creamy goodness. Makes me long for it again.

Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking Disorder said...

yummy! For me plain yogurt >>>> sour cream - think of all the protein!! :D