Ambrosia salad (or the “food of the gods,” which was often eaten on Mount Olympus in Greek mythology) is a type of fruit salad that became popular in the United States as early as the later part of the nineteenth century when it was first mentioned in cookbooks. Though the exact origins of ambrosia are vague, it is often considered to be a Southern dish.
There are a number of different ambrosia recipes but all agree that coconut is needed for true ambrosia; some ambrosia salads are as simple as orange segments topped with shredded coconut. Many popular versions of ambrosia salad also include pineapple, banana, maraschino cherries, and/or miniature marshmallows. Often times these ambrosia salad variations call for the ingredients to be mixed with whipped cream, sour cream, or cottage cheese and then refrigerated several hours before serving. Less commonly, they can include flavored gelatin as well.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.