14 Cheap and Delicious '70s Recipes Due for a Comeback

1970s Recipes Cover

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1970s Recipes Cover
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That 70s Food

American food in the 70s was filled with some truly horrifying creations, from jellied tuna aspic to ham-wrapped banana casserole. But it wasn't all bad, and not all retro foods people ate should go the way of the shag rug. In fact, some of those trendy, economical dishes were downright delicious, and deserve to make a comeback. If you grew up in the 1970s, you'll definitely remember eating a lot of these foods.

Homemade Green Pistachio Fluff Dessert

1. Watergate Salad

No one really knows where the name of this sweet dish came from, but we do know it was ubiquitous after its namesake Watergate scandal captured the nation's attention. The recipe only has five ingredients, including pistachio flavored Jell-O pudding mix, which gives the dish its bright green color. Plus there's another totally 70s ingredient: canned crushed pineapple. And apparently, it's comeback has already started, according to the New York Times.

Recipe: Mom on Timeout

Orange cake sliced with zest
Luca Melo/istockphoto

2. Harvey Wallbanger Cake

The Harvey Wallbanger is a cocktail of orange juice, vodka, and bright yellow Galliano that became super popular in the 70s. Naturally, someone decided to turn the drink into a cake, because why not? This bundt cake recipe tastes just like the drink thanks to fresh orange juice and Galliano, but it's easy to make thanks to starting with a box of cake mix.

Recipe: Weekend at the Cottage

Related: Old-Fashioned Desserts We Secretly Still Love

Cheese Ball with Crackers
Swedish meatballs in a pan

4. Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs never went out of style, at least if you ask Ikea. But beyond giant blue and yellow stores, the meatballs are great as an appetizer or a meal, and everyone loves them. It's the allspice and nutmeg in the meat mixture that gives the dish its signature flavor, so don't skip them.

Recipe: Tastes Better From Scratch

cheese fondue,french gastronomy
Homemade Bacon Wrapped Dates

6. Devils on Horseback

This appetizer sounds scary, but it's really just dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped in bacon. It's a great combo of sweet and salty, soft and crunchy. This simple recipe coats the little morsels with a soy sauce, ginger, and brown sugar glaze.

Recipe: AllRecipes

Rotini Primavera in a Browned Butter and Garlic Sauce
Lauri Patterson/istockphoto
The Viral Green Goddess Salad Dressing

8. Green Goddess Dressing

Salad bars were all the rage in the 70s, and creamy green goddess and ranch dressings were a staple on all of them. For some reason, only ranch stuck around, and it's time to rectify that. The green color and bright flavor comes from tons of fresh herbs, including parsley, chives, and dill. Capers and lemon juice give it tang.

Recipe: Love & Lemons

Pineapple and Chicken in sweet and sour sauce with bell pepper, rice and spring onion in black plate

9. Polynesian Chicken

Remember when everyone was obsessed with Polynesia and Hawaii? Pineapple and soy sauce were everywhere, including in easy dinners like this Polynesian chicken. It calls for bell peppers, snow peas, and tomato paste, though you can use ketchup for that authentic 70s flair. Serve it in a hollowed out pineapple half if you want to get really fancy.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Related: Foods We Miss From the '70s and '80s

Pistachio sponge cake covered in icing sugar.
Al Gonzalez/istockphoto

10. Watergate Cake

Not only did the Watergate scandal inspire many to make a sweet dessert salad, it spawned a cake using the same ingredients. This recipe includes a box of cake mix, a box of pistachio pudding mix, and even lemon lime soda for a truly quasi-homemade experience. 

Recipe: Not Entirely Average

Seven-layer salad. American dish that includes ingredients: iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, sweet peas, hard boiled eggs, cheddar cheese, and bacon pieces topped with a mayonnaise dressing.
Olga Mazyarkina/istockphoto

11. Seven Layer Salad

You couldn't go to a potluck in the 1970s without seeing a big glass bowl of seven layer salad. It's simple to make, relatively healthy, and it looks beautiful on a table. The seven layers are traditionally iceberg lettuce, peas, onion, celery, hard boiled eggs, cheese, and bacon, but you can switch some out for whatever you prefer. The dressing is always simple, slightly sweet, and mayonnaise-based.

Recipe: Julie's Eats & Treats

Related: Jell-O Salad and Other Retro Summer Recipes We Secretly Love

Lesya Dolyuk/shutterstock

12. Quiche Lorraine

Even if not everyone knew how to pronounce quiche in the 70s, they knew they liked the egg pie. Most popular was quiche lorraine, a French recipe filled with bacon, onions, and cheese. This recipe stays true to that recipe with Gruyere and shallots, but uses a frozen pie crust for ease.

Recipe: Once Upon a Chef

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Black Forest Cake

13. Black Forest Gateau

Though black forest cake was first created long before the 1970s, it gained real popularity during that decade — though it was often called gateau for maximum chic. It's made with chocolate cake layered with whipped cream and cherry filling. This recipe's cherries are made with canned sour cherries instead of cherry pie filling, giving it a stronger fruit flavor.

Recipe: AllRecipes

Ildi Papp/shutterstock

14. Crepes

The crepe craze peaked in the 1970s. They were filled with everything from ham and hollandaise to bananas and chocolate. Though you may think the thin pancakes are intimidating, they're really easy to make — at least after the first couple. This is a standard batter recipe that you can put together in your blender, then fill with anything you want after cooking in a nonstick skillet.

Recipe: Sally's Baking Recipes