Acini Salad Recipe - Traditional Venezuelan Delight

Acini Salad

Acini Salad Recipe - Traditional Venezuelan Delight
Region / culture: Venezuela | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Servings: 8


Acini Salad
Acini Salad

Acini Salad is a delightful and refreshing dish that combines the tiny, pearl-shaped pasta known as acini di pepe with a medley of sweet fruits and a creamy dressing. This salad is perfect for picnics, potlucks, and as a summertime dessert or side dish. Its unique texture and combination of flavors make it a favorite among both children and adults. The recipe we're exploring today adds a twist to the traditional fruit salad by incorporating pasta, making it a more substantial and satisfying option.


The origins of Acini Salad can be traced back to Italian cuisine, where acini di pepe pasta is commonly used in soups and cold salads. However, the adaptation of acini di pepe into a sweet, fruit-based salad is a distinctly American innovation. This recipe likely emerged in the mid-20th century, during a period when canned fruits became widely available and home cooks were experimenting with new and convenient ingredients. Over the years, it has evolved into a beloved dish, especially in the United States, where it is often served during the holiday seasons and summer gatherings.


How to prepare

  1. Drain all fruit, reserving the liquid.
  2. Cut the maraschino cherries in half.
  3. Cook the acini according to the package directions.
  4. Drain and rinse the acini to cool, then set them aside in a large bowl.
  5. Beat the eggs or place them in a blender to whip.
  6. In the same pot used to cook the acini, place the reserved liquid, sugar, flour, and salt.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly with a wire whisk.
  8. Temper the eggs with the hot liquid, then return them to the pan.
  9. If you're using an electric stove, turn off the heat and return the pan to the hot burner, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to bubble.
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the cooled acini.
  11. Stir gently but thoroughly.
  12. The mixture will be soupy.
  13. Add the fruit and stir gently to combine.
  14. Cover the mixture and refrigerate it for 4 – 6 hours or overnight.


  • Tropical Acini Salad: Add diced pineapple and shredded coconut for a tropical twist.
  • Berry Acini Salad: Incorporate a mix of fresh berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
  • Creamy Chocolate Acini Salad: Mix in mini chocolate chips and use chocolate-flavored non-dairy whipped topping for a chocolatey version.
  • There are several ways to vary this recipe to suit your taste or dietary needs:
  • Use fresh fruits instead of canned for a fresher taste and less sugar.
  • Substitute the sugar with honey or maple syrup for a natural sweetener option.
  • Add nuts or mini marshmallows for additional texture and flavor.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your Acini Salad turns out perfectly, consider the following tips:

- Make sure to drain the fruits thoroughly to prevent the salad from becoming too watery.

- Rinse the cooked acini di pepe under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool it down quickly.

- When tempering the eggs, add the hot liquid slowly to avoid scrambling the eggs.

- Allow the salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours, or overnight, to let the flavors meld together and the texture to set properly.

Serving Suggestions

Acini Salad is best served chilled. It can be served as a dessert, a side dish at picnics or potlucks, or as a refreshing snack on a hot day. Garnish with additional maraschino cherries or a sprinkle of chopped nuts for added texture and flavor.

Cooking Techniques

The key techniques in making Acini Salad include boiling the pasta, making a custard-like dressing with the reserved fruit juice, eggs, sugar, and flour, and combining all the ingredients gently to ensure the salad is well mixed without crushing the fruits.

Ingredient Substitutions

Gluten-free pasta can be used in place of acini di pepe for those with gluten sensitivities.

- A plant-based whipped topping can be used instead of non-dairy whipped topping for a vegan version.

- Honey or maple syrup can substitute for sugar for a natural sweetener.

Make Ahead Tips

Acini Salad is an excellent make-ahead dish. It needs to be refrigerated for several hours before serving, making it perfect for preparing a day in advance. The flavors meld and improve with time, so making it ahead can enhance the taste.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the Acini Salad in individual cups or a large glass bowl to showcase the colorful fruits. Garnish with a sprig of mint or a few whole cherries for an elegant touch.

Pairing Recommendations

Acini Salad pairs well with light summer dishes such as grilled chicken, seafood, or a fresh garden salad. For a dessert pairing, consider serving it alongside a slice of angel food cake or lemon sorbet.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Acini Salad should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and is best consumed within 3-4 days. This dish does not freeze well and does not require reheating.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Acini Salad contains approximately 250 calories. The majority of these calories come from carbohydrates, with a smaller contribution from fats and proteins.


A serving of Acini Salad contains approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates. The primary sources of carbohydrates in this dish are the sugar, fruits, and pasta. The carbohydrates provide the body with energy and are an essential part of a balanced diet.


This recipe is relatively low in fats, with each serving containing about 5 grams of fat. The small amount of fat present comes from the non-dairy whipped topping and the eggs. Using a light or fat-free whipped topping can further reduce the fat content.


Acini Salad offers a modest amount of protein, with each serving containing approximately 4 grams. The protein in this dish comes from the eggs and to a lesser extent from the pasta. For those looking to increase the protein content, consider adding a scoop of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese to the salad.

Vitamins and minerals

This salad is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, particularly from the mandarin oranges and maraschino cherries. It provides vitamin C, potassium, and a small amount of iron. The eggs contribute to the vitamin D and B-vitamins content.


The main allergens to be aware of in this recipe are eggs and potential gluten in the acini di pepe pasta. For those with gluten sensitivities, gluten-free pasta can be used as a substitute.


Overall, Acini Salad is a moderately nutritious dish that provides energy from carbohydrates, a small amount of protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. It is relatively low in fats and calories, making it a suitable option for a light dessert or side dish.


Acini Salad is a versatile, refreshing, and delightful dish that combines the sweetness of fruits with the unique texture of acini di pepe pasta. It's a perfect choice for a summer dessert or side dish that's sure to please a crowd. With its easy preparation and make-ahead convenience, it's a great addition to any meal, offering a balance of flavors and nutrition.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of finding this recipe for the first time is still fresh in my mind. It was a warm summer day, and I was at a neighborhood potluck party. The table was filled with all sorts of delicious dishes, but one in particular caught my eye - a light and refreshing salad with tiny pasta pearls and colorful fruits mixed in. I had never tasted anything like it before, and I knew I had to find out the recipe.

I made my way over to the woman who had brought the salad and introduced myself. Her name was Mrs. Johnson, and she was more than happy to share her recipe with me. As she went through the ingredients and the steps to make the salad, I could see the passion and love she had for cooking. She told me that the salad was called Acini Salad, and it was a family recipe that had been passed down for generations.

I was intrigued by the combination of flavors and textures in the salad - the sweetness of the fruits, the crunch of the nuts, and the creaminess of the dressing. Mrs. Johnson explained that the key to making the salad perfect was to let it chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. This allowed the flavors to meld together and the pasta pearls to absorb the dressing.

I went home that day with the recipe for Acini Salad written on a scrap piece of paper. I was determined to recreate the dish and share it with my own family. As I gathered the ingredients and followed the steps, I felt a sense of joy and satisfaction in the kitchen. Cooking has always been a way for me to express my creativity and show love to those around me.

When I finally served the Acini Salad to my family, they were blown away by the flavors and textures. They couldn't believe that such a simple dish could be so delicious. From that day on, Acini Salad became a staple at our family gatherings and celebrations.

Over the years, I have made some tweaks to the original recipe, adding my own personal touch with different fruits and nuts. I have also shared the recipe with friends and neighbors who have all fallen in love with the dish. It brings me so much joy to see others enjoy something that I have created with love and care.

As I reflect on the journey of discovering the Acini Salad recipe, I am reminded of the power of food to bring people together and create lasting memories. Cooking is more than just following a set of instructions - it is a way to connect with others, express creativity, and show love. I am grateful for all the recipes and culinary experiences that have shaped me into the cook I am today. And I hope that the Acini Salad will continue to be a beloved dish in my family for generations to come.


| Egg Recipes | Fruit Salad Recipes | Mandarin Orange Recipes | Maraschino Cherry Recipes | Nondairy Topping Recipes | Pasta Salad Recipes | Pineapple Recipes | Venezuelan Recipes | Venezuelan Salads |

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