Green Goddess Dressing is insanely delicious. I’ve updated and improved this classic 1920s recipe (and reprinted the original so you can see for yourself.) We love it on salads but hey, we also use it as a dip for raw veggies, and ~ who are we kidding? ~ fries!
what is green goddess dressing and why should you make some?
What is it? The OG Green Goddess dressing was made by the chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 1923. The beautiful herbaceous dressing has gone in and out of vogue over the years, having a big comeback moment in the 70s, but true salad lovers have always had it on their radar.
Why should you want it? Let’s start with the brilliant green color and the flavor of ALL the herbs blitzed together with lemon and garlic and mayo for a rich creamy texture. Let’s talk about the wonderful under-used flavor of tarragon which lingers after every bite. Because of all the fresh herbs, you can’t get anything like it in a bottle (no, not even from Kraft or Trader Joe’s.) And finally, as if you needed any more reason to try this, it turns any salad into an epicurean delight…really!
what makes Green Goddess green?
The color comes from fresh herbs. The original 1923 recipe (I’ve reprinted that exact recipe below) was a much paler shade than the one I’m making today. It relied on a little bit of chives and parsley which could only have given it the faintest tint of green. We’re much bolder in our use of herbs today and appreciate the fresh flavor and vibrant color that lots of parsley, watercress, tarragon, dill, and chives bring to this dressing.
Green Goddess is made right in the blender
This is a blender or food processor recipe meaning everything goes in and gets blitzed together. The way I make it is quite heavy on the herbs and lemon, but you can adjust as you like. Dip your finger in repeatedly until you think it’s just right.
- Masses of herbs, and the mix is somewhat flexible. I used parsley, dill, tarragon, and chives. Lots of watercress, too. Use those tender stems, they’re delicious! If you can’t find watercress, use baby spinach.
- Lemon and garlic are major players.
- A good olive oil adds that peppery note.
- A little bit of anchovy is essential if you want to be traditional. Use filets or paste in a tube. They add that special something that distinguishes this dressing. No one will know they’re in there!
- The creaminess comes from mayo (a fine French sauce so don’t turn your nose up at it!)
variations and substitutions
Other herbs to use are chervil, basil, cilantro, or mint. Obviously if you change out the herbs you’re going to get a different flavor, but there is leeway here. Note: basil, like tarragon, will tend to overpower, so limit your amounts.
Any mild vegetable oil will work, avocado is a good choice.
If you absolutely positively can’t or won’t do anchovies, consider using a couple of briny kalamata olives instead. Not as good, but ok.
If mayo isn’t your thing, try sour cream, a nice thick cultured buttermilk, or full fat yogurt. Mix and match them, too. You can also blend in a ripe avocado for creaminess and an extra dose of healthy fat.
green goddess can be a dip, sauce, or dressing
This is a zesty dressing that will take you through spring and summer, so whenever you find yourself with an abundance of fresh herbs, consider making it. I like that this isn’t a super thick dressing. Very thick dressings can overpower delicate greens and weigh a salad down. This one is creamy, but light, which is ideal.
You’ll use it on green salads, of course, but think about adding it to chicken or tuna salad, and deviled eggs. Drizzle it over avocados, baked potatoes, or roasted veggies for an instant upgrade. Definitely use it as a dip for crudité.
green goddess dressing FAQS
Yes, you’ll need to mince the herbs as finely as you can, and then whisk everything together. I think a blender or food processor brings out the flavors better, but it can be done by hand, and was, in the original recipe, below.
Most dressings are not particularly healthy in themselves, but we only consume them in small amounts, and they encourage us to eat more fresh greens, which are incredibly healthy. If you want to boost the nutrition in this dressing, use Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise.
Yes. You can add even more fat by adding sour cream, or blending in a ripe avocado.
Yes! Add a fresh jalapeño to the blender. For less spice, use half or even a quarter of a pepper.
You bet you can and I guarantee this is much better than the viral dressing.
Use Vegan Mayonnaise and substitute Kalamata olives for the anchovies.
the original 1923 Palace Hotel Green Goddess dressing recipe
The original recipe as published in the New York Times in 1948. It’s much lighter on the herbs, heavier on the anchovy, and omits the fresh lemon. Don’t want to prejudice you, but I think my version’s way better 🙂
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced chives
- 6 anchovy fillets (in oil), drained and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil from the anchovy tin
- Cracked pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Place the garlic in a large salad bowl. Using a whisk, blend in the mayonnaise, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chives, anchovies and anchovy oil. Add cracked pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature for an hour or longer to help meld the flavors.
more salads with epic dressings
- Apple Salad with Celery and Walnuts
- Pear Salad with Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette
- Beet and Wild Rice Salad with Spiced Pecans
- Lemon Poppy Seed Salad Dressing
- The Perfect Chopped Salad
- Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad
- Ranch Potato Salad
- Homemade Ranch Dressing
- Green Goddess Wedge Salad
Green Goddess Dressing
- blender or food processor
- 1 cup parsley, packed
- 1 cup watercress, packed
- 1/3 cup snipped chives
- 2 Tbsp chopped tarragon
- 2 Tbsp chopped dill
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 2 anchovies
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- salt and fresh cracked black peper to taste
- Put the herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and anchovies into a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the machine a couple of times, as necessary.
- Add the mayo and process briefly to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Adjust any of the other ingredients at this time and process to blend in.
- Put the dressing in an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. Will keep a minimum of one week, refrigerated.
- Make sure all your greens are completely dry to start. Wet greens will make a watery dressing.
Questions and Reviews
You don’t specify what type of parsley you use? Please, forward my inquiry to my email address. My mother made Green Goddess back in the ’70’s, and it was wonderful! Eager to try your recipe for similarity. Thanks, BradL
I always buy Italian flat leaf parsley.
Great recipe! Herbs really make the dressing here. I’m going to cook a chicken breast and throw it in a salad at greens and more herbs! I did add 3 more anchovies, and a teaspoon of champagne vinegar for tang. I love deep umami flavors. This is such a great base recipe and no dairy!
Hi Sue, Can you freeze this? Sounds wonderful. My mom used to make the NYT recipe. Too many anchovies for me. This sounds like a great upgrade from that!
Gosh, I’ve never thought about freezing it, but if you want to, I’d divide it into ice cube trays, freeze, and then pop the cubes into a sturdy zip lock freezer bag.
We loved this Green Goddess dressing! I keep this on hand all the time now. Thanks for a great recipe.
This is such a bright and tasty dressing! I’m hooked and will be making another batch again soon because this first batch isn’t lasting long at all.
This salad dressing sounds so amazing. Will try it super soon.
This is such a perfect dressing for me!! SO easy to make, tastes really good and healthy!
I have never made it but it looks delicious. I love the name as well. Thanks for sharing.
Homemade dressings are the best. You can make them fresh and they are not full of preservatives either.
My mom used to eat a lot of Green Godess, and I’ve always loves ANY creamy dressing. I agree with you: this should never drop completely off anyone’s radar, especially if it’s homemade.