Green Goddess Dressing

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A classic salad dressing made with parsley, tarragon, chives and sour cream for a tangy finish.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Do you remember green goddess dressing? It used to be pretty popular in the 70s and 80s when I first encountered it. If I’m not mistaken it was one of the usual dressings for a typical California salad with mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts and sunflower seeds, that one could order at the aptly named Good Earth restaurant in Palo Alto.

It sounds like a dressing right out of Marin County central casting, but apparently it was invented in the 20s, by the chef at the Palace Hotel (beautiful hotel, still there) in San Francisco, to commemorate the actor George Arliss and his play, The Green Goddess.

Pre-Internet, not knowing the provenance of this dressing, all I cared about was that it tasted good, good enough to mask the taste of alfalfa sprouts which thankfully people don’t eat much of any more, and it was called “green” and “goddess” which appealed to this Birkenstock-wearing hippie wanna-be.

Parsley and Garlic Chives

Italian parsley and garlic chives

Fast forward to now, and you know what? This dressing is a gardener’s dream. I just picked some herbs from the garden, puréed them with some anchovy paste (essential), lemon juice, garlic, sour cream and mayo.

Instant awesome!

By the way, this recipe makes the kind of dressing that sort of glops on, so you want to toss it in with the lettuce greens, to just lightly coat the salad before serving. Or you can serve it as a dip. It’s great spread on crackers or with crudités.

Green Goddess Dressing

Green Goddess Dressing Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 2 cups

Vary the proportions of the herbs to suit your taste. If you want, add some ripe avocado to the mix.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 2-4 canned anchovies
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped tarragon
  • 3 Tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Method

Put all of the ingredients in the bowl of a blender or food processor and blend or pulse until you get an evenly smooth dressing, about 30-45 seconds.

Serve as a dip, or toss with salad greens for a dressing.

The dressing should last about a week in the fridge.

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Links:

Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Panini - from Panini Happy

Green Goddess Burgers - from Macheesmo

Green Goddess Dip - from Leite's Culinaria

Green Goddess Dressing

Showing 4 of 34 Comments

  • Monica Salyer

    I made this for the first time earlier tonight. Only made one small change – Used buttermilk instead of mayo.

    Oh my! This is good!

    The lemon juice adds just the right amount of “brightness” to balance out all the other flavors.

    I initially just used it on my salad, but it’s so good I ended up pouring it over everything on my plate.

    At this rate, the dressing will be gone tomorrow.

    Definitely making this again!

  • Fe McNeil

    Made this dressing substituting goat yogurt for the mayonnaise &sour cream. Added light cane vinegar & olive oil. Delicious!

  • larry smith

    Tarragon can be really over powering…I don’t taste tarragon at all in the store bought version..I think I might use less than they call for..I think I would add avocado too.

  • kerri

    Any substitutions for the anchovies to make a viable vegetarian version?

  • Renee

    This dressing is fantastic. My sister begged me to make some more for her to have at her house. I throw in a pinch of sugar to take off the edge and change out the chives for scallions.

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