This traditional holiday potluck treat can be made for your dessert table in less than an hour. Easy to make and always a hit, this ambrosia salad recipe has a healthy twist with our delicious Mochi Pearl Barley in it.
- 1 1/2 (12 ounces) containers frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 cup of cooked Mochi Barley (1/3 cup or 1 packet dry) – use the quick-cooking kind if you have it to save 45 minutes
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts — (almonds can also be used)
- 1 (8 ounce) can fruit cocktail in light syrup, drained
- 1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
- 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
- 3 cups miniature marshmallows
- 1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained
In a large bowl, combine the whipped topping, Mochi Barley, coconut, chopped nuts, fruit cocktail, pineapple, mandarin oranges, marshmallows, cherries. Mix together well and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To be even more festive you could replace regular marshmallows with fun Holiday colored ones.
Most ambrosia recipes contain: canned or fresh pineapple, canned mandarin orange slices or fresh orange sections, miniature marshmallows, and coconut.
For many Southerners, ambrosia barley salad is a dish often associated with holiday potlucks or aunts and grandmothers. It occasionally gets a bad rap, along with the often-maligned fruitcake, but when prepared correctly it can be light and delicious. The dividing line between love and hate seems to be one ingredient: coconut. But, this much is clear – ambrosia salad absolutely must include coconut.
Ambrosia barley salad also has a bit of an identity crisis. Depending on your family’s prerogative, it might be considered a salad, but it may also be considered a dessert. It is a fruit dish so, depending on preparation, it can be light, like a salad. Other recipes are sweeter and include layers of whipped cream or even marshmallows, placing it clearly in the “sweets” category. My family always placed it in a different spot in the buffet line, depending on which aunt had prepared the dish.
NOTE: If you’re not using quick-cooking pearled barley, which takes 15 minutes to cook in boiling water vs 60 you could save some time in the kitchen by soaking your grains a day before. That makes working with traditional pearled barley SO much easier when considering that NOBODY has time to wait 60 minutes in the kitchen anymore.