A classic favorite with bright, tangy, herbal flavor
You’re probably thinking salad dressing. And why not? Green Goddess gets greens.
But this recipe also works well as a dip or sauce. Maybe even better.
Fresh herbs are the key to Green Goddess. They provide the green hue – not to mention the terrific flavor. That means summer (when herbs are at their peak) is the perfect time to make it.
So serve up some Green Goddess. Then graciously accept adoration from your guests.
Recipe: Green Goddess Dip, Dressing, and Sauce
Green Goddess was created in the 1920s, reportedly by the chef at a San Francisco restaurant. He may have invented it to honor the actor George Arliss, who was starring in a play called (what else?) The Green Goddess.
The recipe is mayonnaise-based and herb heavy, typically featuring tarragon, chives, and parsley. Some versions add basil and/or spinach leaves as well. Exact measurements aren’t critical, so feel free to adjust ingredient quantities to suit your taste.
This recipe takes about 15 minutes to prepare. It yields around 1½ cups of dressing/dip/sauce.
You can make this recipe a couple hours ahead of time if you wish (in fact, we think it tastes better when the flavors have a chance to mingle).
Leftovers keep for 2 or 3 days if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh chives (or to taste)
- ¼ cup parsley leaves and tender stems (see Notes)
- 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or tarragon vinegar)
- 2 teaspoons anchovy paste (or a couple of canned anchovy filets; or to taste)
- 1 cup mayonnaise (preferably Homemade)
- ¼ cup yogurt or sour cream (we like to use Greek yogurt)
- salt to taste (a few pinches of kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (a few grinds for us)
- Peel the garlic, chop it coarsely, then add it to a mini food processor or blender.
- Wash the chives, parsley leaves, and tarragon; shake them dry. Chop them all coarsely, then add them to the food processor.
- Add the lemon juice and anchovy paste to the food processor. Pulse a few times to begin breaking down the garlic and herbs. Add the mayonnaise and yogurt or sour cream. Pulse until you create an emulsion, with all the ingredients thoroughly combined.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, then pulse briefly to incorporate them into the dressing.
- Serve immediately. Or, better yet, place the mixture in an airtight container and refrigerate it until ready to use (we think this recipe tastes better when made a couple hours ahead of time).
- Tarragon vinegar is traditional in this dish, but we prefer lemon juice.
- Many versions of this recipe call for adding a scallion or two. We skip those, and instead use a bit more chives.
- When a recipe calls for parsley leaves, you should use only the leaves and tender stems (that is, the little stems attaching the leaves to the main stems). The larger, main stems are tough – even when chopped finely or run through the food processor. It takes a few minutes to separate parsley leaves from their main stems, but it’s worth it. (This isn’t a problem with cilantro, BTW. Cilantro stems are much more tender. So when you chop cilantro, you can use the entire bunch.)
- Don’t have yogurt/sour cream on hand? You can skip them and just increase the amount of mayo. But we like the tang that yogurt or sour cream provides.
- Don’t care for anchovies? You can omit them, but you’ll be missing some of the classic Green Goddess flavor.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. Kosher salt is coarser than regular table salt, so it doesn’t pack a measure as tightly. That makes it less salty by volume. If substituting table salt, start with about half as much as we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
- When we use this recipe as salad dressing, we like to mix it with a butter lettuce, such as Boston Bibb, or a lettuce with some structure, like romaine.
- It also works great as a dip with crudités. Or potato chips.
- Green Goddess is particularly tasty when served as a cold sauce with seafood or chicken.
- Green Goddess dressing was very popular in the 1970s and 80s. Then it faded away – perhaps because people came to associate it with the commercially prepared versions, which can be truly awful. Our recipe tastes nothing like those, we can assure you.
“Yum, so kind of you to make this in my honor,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Or maybe you intended to celebrate our other household deity, Kitty Riffs?”
“You’re both worthy of worship, no doubt,” I said. “But you’re even wilier than Kitty.”
“True,” said Mrs K R. “I’ve always admired Athena, goddess of wisdom.”
“Thought you’d go for Aphrodite,” I said. “Better box office.”
“The rabbits in our garden seem to think I’m Artemis,” said Mrs K R. “Protector of wild animals. They don’t even run from me anymore.”
“Maybe you should borrow a thunderbolt from Zeus,” I said.
“Too dangerous with all that vegetation,” said Mrs K R. “I don’t want to become the Parched Brown Goddess.”
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