Frog eye salad, made with vanilla pudding, is a perfect summer side dish to feed a crowd. Light and flavorful, this dessert dish is full of of pasta, pudding, and crushed fruits, making it not only a classic, but so easy to serve up at a BBQ or get together.
The only problem with this acini de pepe recipe isn’t how you make it, but how you stop eating it once its made!
With summer holidays coming up like 4th of July and Fathers Day, get together’s are getting ready to be in full swing.
That means tons of party food, large salads and side dishes for a crowd and desserts aplenty. If you are looking for a side dish that can feed the whole table and then some, this frog eye fruit salad is a perfect way to make a ton and have left overs to boot.
People ask how much it makes? Well that always depends on how much you eat, but you can safely feed 1000.
This frog eye salad pudding recipe feeds probably closer to 20, but you can still feed quite a bit! Now if you have never had frog eye salad, its light with a tapioca-like consistency and pasta. It doesn’t take too long to make, the longest party being boiling the pasta, and is a complementary dish for grilling.
Oh and I did want to mention that KIDS LOVE FROG EYE SALAD!
Frog Eye Salad Recipe
What is Frog Eye Salad??
Frog eye salad is a lovely combination of pasta, pudding, and crushed fruits, making it a perfect lightly sweet summer side dish. Also called a Acini Di Pepe Pasta Salad, its a super classic and homemade dessert side dish that keeps the spoonfuls coming.
Scroll to the bottom for a printable version of this post, including all measurements and instructions, so you can follow along in your kitchen without being on your phone.
Here is what you need to gather to get started:
- instant vanilla pudding
- mandarin oranges
- pineapple tidbits
- crushed pineapple
- acini di pepe pasta, uncooked
- whipped topping, thawed
- mini marshmallows
Substitution for Acini Di Pepe Pasta
Acini De Pepe pasta isn’t always available in every store. Its a specialty item for some common groceries.
Your best bet is to check out the International aisles in places like Publix or head to a store like Fresh Market. That being said, there IS a substitution that works well if you cannot find Acini Di Pepe that is readily available and that is PASTINA.
Pastina is a small round pasta that is usually at more stores and are also balls of pasta. They are slightly smaller (and in the shapes of teeny tiny stars) but have the same texture and taste. If you make Pastina too far ahead of time, you have to follow the box instructions on how to “unstick” the pasta so you can use it in the salad.
There is an alternate recipe in the recipe card for working with Pastina.
Easy Frog Eye Salad
To begin, you first mix your 2 cups of cold milk and 1 package Instant Vanilla pudding together and whisk until all lumps are gone.
Refrigerate your pudding mixture for at least five minutes so it can firm up a bit.
Drain your mandarin orange juice, pineapple tidbits juice and crushed pineapple juice into a saucepan.
In the same saucepan as the juice, add 2 cups water.
Bring to a boil and stir in Acini Di Pepe Pasta.
What is Acini Di Pepe Pasta?
This type of pasta is also used in Italian Wedding Soup and is a small ball of dough that is often referred to as a grape or peppercorn shape.
Heat your Acini Di Pepe Pasta according to package directions in the water and fruit juice, which is between 8-10 minutes.
Once the pasta is fully cooked, drain excess juice.
Note: I had to put a coffee filter into my colander so the pasta didn’t’ fall through the holes. A fine mesh strainer would work best.
Now add your drained oranges, two pineapple kinds and pasta to a mixing bowl.
Stir in the chilled pudding and whipped topping.
Fold in your mini marshmallows.
Refrigerate the Frog Eye Salad with pudding for 4 hours before serving so it can firm up and thicken.
Optional: Add Shaved Coconut prior to serving
Alternate Frog Eye Salad using PASTINA Pasta
This version is also on the VIDEO in this post.
- This step is best done first to give pudding time to thicken. Mix 2 cups milk and 1 package of INSTANT pudding together well. Put in fridge for a min of 5 minutes to thicken, but the longer the better.
- Cook 8 oz Pastina according to instructions on box. Pastina are teeny tiny pasta stars that are a great substitute for the texture of the recipe above. Once pasta is done, rinse with cold water to prevent sticking. Let drain. If Pasta sticks at all, you can use 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil to prevent sticking.
- Drain oranges, pineapple tidbits and crushed pineapple juice. Fold in whipped topping.
- Combine fruit, cooked Pastina, and Instant pudding in a bowl and mix gently with a spatula. Add 2 cups mini marshmallows.
- At this point, your frog eye salad may still be a little “wet”.
- Fridge for 4 hours to thicken before serving.
Side Dishes to Feed a Crowd
Need more side dish recipe options this summer season?
Try one of my favorites like Hawaiian Cheesecake Salad, Vegetarian Pasta Salad, or Pea Salad.
Plus Peanut Butter fudge is the perfect EASY dessert to grab and go!