It’s kind of like having a second mom, a best friend, and a mentor…all rolled into one neat little package. From childhood sleepovers in her bachelorette pad to teenage trips to Paris and the delivery of my 3 boys, my Aunt Barbara has been a constant in my life for all of the big and little adventures that life has thrown our way. School graduations, weddings, new pets, new homes, and new babies…she hasn’t missed a thing. A holiday celebration would not be complete without Aunt Barbara at the table, and if she’s on the guest list, ambrosia salad is on the menu!
I have come to share Aunt Barbara’s love for ambrosia, but I’m not sure if it’s because of the actual taste of the dish (which is dreamy, by the way), or if it’s because of the memories associated with the food. To me, it doesn’t really matter. That’s the whole point of feeding our families — and the point of holidays in general. The meals that we serve show our love, bring everyone together around the table, and connect us with past generations. The power of a simple recipe is truly remarkable.
This ambrosia salad is the perfect companion for a holiday ham, or a lovely contrast to savory turkey and stuffing. With fruit, marshmallows, and coconut, it’s even sweet enough for a dessert buffet.
And this easy 5-minute recipe is proof that a dish doesn’t need to be fancy, time-consuming, expensive, or difficult in order to make it memorable. My grandmother made it for her daughters, my mom made it for me, and I will continue to make it for my own children.
My holiday table just wouldn’t be complete without Aunt Barbara, her favorite ambrosia salad, and the smiles that accompany our meals together!
Dreamy 6-Cup Ambrosia Salad
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 cup miniature marshmallows
- 1 cup Mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 cup maraschino cherries, drained
- 1 cup shredded coconut*
- 1 cup sour cream
- In a large bowl, gently stir together all of the ingredients.
*I used unsweetened coconut, but any kind will work fine.