Green Goddess Dressing

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

  • 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.



  • 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


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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Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Panini - from Panini Happy

Green Goddess Burgers - from Macheesmo

Green Goddess Dip - from Leite's Culinaria

Green Goddess Dressing

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Showing 4 of 41 Comments

  • Amina

    Great recipe! Is it at all possible to substitute dried herbs for fresh in this case? It seems unlikely but it’s also hard to justify buying seldom used herbs when grocery stores sell them in such large quantities.

    Great question. If I were to make this without herbs fresh from my garden, and if I were being budget-wise, I would still use fresh parsley (that’s cheap and available), dried tarragon, and the greens from green onions. ~Elise

  • Sheryl

    Ah Green Goddess! Actually it was popular even before then because I remember my mother using it back in the 60’s as a dipping sauce for her beef fondue. Loved the stuff! Thanks for the recipe and the stroll down memory lane.

  • Sarah

    this sounds great! it’s exactly the basic mix i use to make caesar dressing: mayo, garlic, lemon juice, anchovy – minus the parmesan cheese & evoo, plus herbs and sour cream.
    homemade dressings make such a difference, and they’re usually made with stuff you already have on hand :) thanks!

  • jjmcgaffey

    Yeah – I eat alfalfa sprouts regularly, growing them at home. I freeze the seeds so they last longer, which might deal with some of the bacteria, or I’ve just been lucky – but there’s no way I’ll stop eating raw foods (lettuce. Strawberries. Celery, apples, grapes…) so I’m not going to worry too much about sprouts.

    The dressing sounds interesting – I’d use it as a dip rather than a dressing, as I prefer my salads undressed. The green part of it sounds like my pesto – whatever fresh greens I have, whizzed up with garlic, nuts, cheese and olive oil. I’ve made it with everything from cilantro to mint, though there’s usually parsley and basil in it as well, and often spinach. I may try this (have to get some anchovies, though).

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