So. Easter’s coming up — it’s hard to believe it’s so soon with an early April 5th this year! So if ya don’t mind me, I’m going to be posting Easter recipes up the wazoo, mmkay?
First up: Tropical Pina Colada Ambrosia. But first, a story! *collective sighs*
As a kid, my family and I would go to my grandma’s house for Easter breakfast every year. And every year, she’d hide plastic Easter eggs full of candy and quarters around her yard for me and my brother & sister. She would color code the eggs so I would be purple, Chloe would be green, and Alex would be blue, or whatever.
But the thing was, she put all three colors together in any given spot. So if I saw Alex bend down behind the garden hose and extract an egg, I knew my egg would be back there, too. If Chloe saw me elbow-deep in the rose bush reaching for my egg, she would race over to collect hers. I can see why my grandma did this when we were all younger, perhaps so it could be fair to Chloe (who’s the youngest), but as we got older and I was seventeen and hunting for eggs, it became a little ridiculous. (One, because of the obviousness of it all, and two, because I was seventeen and being forced — yes, forced — to hunt Easter eggs).
And the candy was never really good candy. And yes, there’s definitely a distinction between ‘good’ candy and ‘bad’ candy. I’m not talking ‘I prefer Snickers over Reese’s Cups’ or anything. I mean the CANDYCANDY (Snickers, Jelly Bellies, Whoppers, M&M’s) and the …candy? that she would inevitably buy.
You know – the “candy” that doctors offices have. The unmarked lollipops that taste like plastic with a vague hint of fruit (the yellow ones were always the most vile; the red were decent enough to be passable as cherry, depending on your level of hunger). The chewy candies that were probably made with leftover SuperGlue. Those — shudder — strawberry candies, which are by far the foulest things to have graced this planet, right before those toe shoes and Vienna sausages. Or those butterscotch candies, which were always really sticky and hard, like they’d been melted in the bottom of a purse since 1967.
So basically we’d collect for the quarters which essentially paid us to hunt for them, and then we’d toss the candy since it came from an undisclosed location and an even vaguer brand. I mean, do these candy companies know that no one likes their stuff? Are they aware that their lack of branding looks majorly suspicious and that only desperate doctors and banks purchase their lollipops? What’s their name, anyway? “Bank Candy”? “Doctor Lolly”? All’s I know is, I had this terrible doctor once — and I mean terrible — who had this super thick accent and just said to ice or rest everything, no matter what the ailment was, and she’d hand out those unmarked lollies and they always tasted like they were made of candied cough syrup. Mm, Robitussin Raspberry – my favorite! I never liked that, Dr. Lee. AND RESTING MY LEG DIDN’T HELP EITHER.
Anywho. This all comes together because that very color-coding-egg-grandma makes ambrosia every year for Easter dinner. And for the longest time I’d eat it because hello, it’s Cool Whip and marshmallows with fruit… duh. But then I got kinda tired of it, and I figured for this Easter, it’s about dang time I change it up. So I revamped grandma’s classic ambrosia with a tropical twist. My new version happens to be my new favorite… and I guarantee it’ll be yours too! This fruit salad is so easy, light, and delicious!
So. Who’s ready to go hunting for awesome ambrosia? (Game over. It’s right here).
Tropical Pina Colada Ambrosia Salad
- 1 (15 oz) can cherry fruit cocktail drained
- 1 small can mandarin oranges drained
- 1 (20 oz) can Dole Pineapple Chunks drained
- 1 (15 oz) can mangoes, drained and chopped if in large pieces
- 1½ cups shredded coconut divided
- 1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip Free thawed
- 1 container Pina Colada yogurt
- About 2 cups JET-PUFFED Fruity Fun Mallows
- In a large bowl, fold together the Cool Whip Free and the Pina Colada Yogurt. Add in the canned fruits, marshmallows, and one (1) cup of the shredded coconut. Gently fold and toss to combine until coated.
- Refrigerate the mixture for at LEAST 2 hours or until flavors have set together.
- Optional, but recommended: if you'd like, toast the remaining 1/2 cup coconut. In a 300 degree F oven, line a baking sheet with parchment and lay out coconut in an even layer. Toast in 5 minute increments, stirring after each round, until golden. Sprinkle over the top of the ambrosia right before serving. Garnish with a cherry if you'd like.
You guys – this is so fruity and fabulous! I love the sweet softness of the JET-PUFFED Fruit Mallows — they have such fun flavors and add a great pop of rainbow color! And the fruit itself is a great, tropical combination that transports you right to the beach. Ripe pineapple chunks, juicy mango and mandarins, bright cherries, all coated in a luscious and light whipped cream and pina colada yogurt dressing. This salad is totally awesome!!
Have a fabulous Sunday!!
Hi. Sounds delicious with its new face lift on ambrosia! Could you please state the size in ounces of the pina colada yogurt and what brand. Thanks.
Hi Candice! I used a 6 oz container of Yoplait Pina Colada Yogurt. You could use any brand you prefer, but I happened to purchase Yoplait. As long as it’s 6 oz (or around that amount) you’ll be fine 🙂 This would also be great with orange yogurt, plain coconut, or banana!
So amazingly awesomely retro. Love this!!
Thanks Jessie! For years I refused to eat it because I was so sick of it, but this twist makes it super delicious! xoxo.
My family makes a similar salad. My grandma did the color-coded Easter egg hunt for me, my brother and our 2 cousins. She made clues and it was a scavenger hunt for each of us. Great memories!
Lauri – I think every family probably has their own version of this salad somewhere in the family tree, haha! And yes, you’re so right – they are great memories!
Crystal @ Food Swoon says
My MIL used to make this every year for xmas, always using the same bright purple bowl. I never understood how it could be called a “salad”?! So, I would pile it on my plate, to be polite; but always eat it last, kinda like first dessert! I dig your interpretation, I might have to bust it out for my hubby, for ol’ times sake! I wonder how it tastes with out the hint of gravy, though? hmmmm…
Haha, I definitely agree with you Crystal! It’s a good reminiscing food, but otherwise it has zero nutritional value whatsoever, ha! I think people in the 50’s threw the ‘salad’ on it to make themselves feel better about eating Cool Whip-coated fruit, lol.
Heather @ Sugar Dish Me says
Hahaha I know ALL about the good candy. My mom is a good candy buyer. She also still makes us Easter baskets, though there is no forced egg hunting. Ambrosia Salad!!! Total throwback. Love it.
Throwin’ it baaaack, as you know 😉 And I wish there were no forced egg hunting, but alas my wishes are denied.
Would looooovvvve to be “forced” to hunt color coded eggs at my grandmothers house……or even my Mother’s house for that matter. Enjoy every minute of it……won’t last forever!!