Green Goddess salad dressing is both fresh and creamy, a luxurious dressing for light, crisp salads. The main ingredients are sour cream or Greek yogurt, plus lemon and loads of fresh herbs.
If you like Ranch dressing, you'll love Green Goddess! Try this easy recipe next time you want to a healthy dressing.
What is Green Goddess Salad?
The original recipe for this dressing was created in the 1920s by a San Francisco chef who was honoring an actor in a play called "Green Goddess". The dressing was a blend of mayonnaise with tarragon and other herbs, plus garlic, scallions, anchovy and vinegar.
This version is lighter and simpler, made from sour cream or Greek yogurt, fresh herbs of your choice, lemon and scallion.
Green Goddess salad can be anything you want it to be! Pour the dressing over crisp salad greens, cabbage, chicken, salmon or pasta salad. It's also fantastic as a dip for raw veggies or drizzled over roasted vegetables.
In this recipe, I combine Green Goddess dressing over a crisp and colorful rainbow salad. It's healthy, gorgeous and very easy to make!
Two more favorite salads are bagged kale salad with creamy poppyseed dressing (made from Greek yogurt!) and broccolini slaw with honey mustard yogurt dressing.
Dressing Ingredients & Substitutions
Sour cream: Use full-fat sour cream; it tastes the best and has a rich, creamy texture without added stabilizers. You can substitute full-fat Greek yogurt if you want. Using low or non-fat versions of either will make the dressing less creamy and overly tangy. This dressing can also be made using a combination of sour cream and mayonnaise.
Fresh Herbs: This dressing is all about fresh herbs! Combine 2 to 3 different herbs, depending on what you like and what you have on hand. This recipe is a great way to use up herbs before they go bad, so check your refrigerator first, before you buy fresh herbs.
Traditional Green Goddess always has tarragon, but if you don't like its bold anise (licorice) flavor it's okay to leave it out. I use parsley as the main herb along with dill and/or basil. You can also choose cilantro to give the dressing more of a Southwest flavor.
Lemon: Fresh lemon gives the dressing a bright, citrusy flavor. You can substitute white vinegar, which is actually more traditional.
Scallion: Lots of options here! You can snip a green onion or two into the dressing, or a small bunch of chives, or a small shallot. You can also add a garlic clove if you love garlicky salad dressing.
Salt: A generous pinch of salt is absolutely necessary. The original recipe for Green Goddess includes jarred anchovies, which add salt and savory, umami flavor. I don't include anchovies because I almost never have them on hand in my kitchen.
If you find that you want to add more salty, umami flavor, then you can add 2 small anchovy fillets or a tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
Note: I don't add olive oil, although it is traditionally added to most Green Goddess recipes. Honestly, it just doesn't seem necessary. The main reason to add olive oil is that it makes the consistency more pourable and less thick. If you'd like to add olive, mix in ¼ to ½ cup.
Rainbow Salad Ingredients
A creamy dressing like Green Goddess is best drizzled over sturdy, crisp greens. Romaine, iceberg, and butter lettuce are all good options. I love adding cabbage too; chop it up into confetti-sized pieces so it's easier to eat.
This rainbow salad is colorful combination of healthy, flavorful ingredients. Tossed with the herb-flecked dressing, it's an over-the-top chopped salad that you will absolutely love!
Optional salad ingredients include croutons, marinated artichokes hearts, black olives, bacon, chicken, hardboiled eggs, beets and sunflower seeds.
This salad dressing is very easy to make. Just combine the ingredients and blend!
Step 1: Combine sour cream, fresh herbs, lemon juice, salt and scallion in a blender or food processor.
Step 2: Blend until the herbs are very finely chopped and the dressing is a gorgeous light green color. It's ready!
A blender (I use a Nutribullet) will give the dressing a thinner, runnier consistency. It will also do a better job of chopping the herbs so the dressing will be smoother.
A food processor will keep the consistency slightly thicker. Also, it won't chop up the herbs as finely, so the dressing will have more texture.
Tips and Tricks
Don't worry too much about removing the herb leaves from the stems of parsley, cilantro or dill. The stems have good flavor too, and will easily get chopped up when blended.
For the best results, cut off the thicker, bottom part of the stem at the bottom of the herb bunch, but the thinner stems attached to the leaves have great flavor and don't need to be discarded.
You can blend an array of additional ingredients into the dressing, taking the flavor in different directions.
- Jalapeño: add half of this hot pepper to make the dressing spicy (especially good if you use cilantro as one of the herbs)
- Capers: a tablespoon will add briny, vinegary flavor
- Anchovies: add 2 fillets from a jar for salty, umami flavor
- Nutritional yeast: a tablespoon will add cheesy, umami flavor
- Feta cheese: adds salt, tangy, cheesy flavor. Add ¼ cup of crumbles.
- Mayonnaise: gives the dressing a saltier, richer flavor. Add up to ¼ cup.
- Avocado: more creaminess and subtle avocado flavor
What to Serve with This Recipe
Green Salad: Choose greens that are sturdy and/or crunchy and won't wilt under a creamy dressing. Romaine, iceberg, and butter lettuce are all good choices. Green or purple cabbage adds delicious crunch.
Raw, sliced vegetables: This dressing can also be served as dip with a veggie platter or a simple plate of cucumbers and carrots that you give the kids before dinner. Sliced bell peppers, broccoli florets and snap peas are also delicious dipped into Green Goddess.
Roasted vegetables: Potatoes are especially good, but so is roasted cauliflower, broccoli or zucchini.
Salmon: Chilled salmon on a salad with Green Goddess dressing...perfection!
Chicken: You can use this dressing to make chicken salad from leftover chicken. Or, add chopped chicken to your salad.
Pasta salad: Toss the dressing with tortellini or cold pasta and vegetables.
How to Store Leftovers
It's best to store the dressing separate from the salad and combine the two right before eating.
This dressing will keep well in the refrigerator for up to five days. Store it in an airtight container, like a glass jar or Tupperware.
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More Salad Recipes
Green Goddess Salad Recipe
If you like Ranch dressing, you'll love Green Goddess salad! Try this easy recipe next time you want to a healthy dressing.
Green Goddess salad can be anything you want it to be! Pour the dressing over crisp salad greens, cabbage, chicken, salmon or pasta salad. It's also fantastic as a dip for raw veggies or drizzled over roasted vegetables. In this recipe, I combine Green Goddess dressing over a crisp and colorful rainbow chopped salad. It's healthy, gorgeous and very easy to make.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Salads and Bowls
- Method: Mix
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
Green Goddess Salad Dressing
- 1 cup full fat sour cream
- 1 cup gently packed parsley leaves
- 1 cup gently packed herbs of your choice (choose one or more from basil, dill, cilantro or tarragon)
- 2 tablespoons snipped chives or scallions OR 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
For a chopped salad, chop the lettuce and vegetables into small pieces. You can also make a regular salad with larger chunks of vegetables.
- 1 romaine heart, quartered lengthwise then chopped into bite-sized pieces OR one 7 ounce bag of butter lettuce, chopped
- 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced or finely chopped
- 1 cup (5 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced or grated
- 2 cups shredded or finely chopped purple cabbage
- 1 to 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup loosely packed mint leaves
Optional add-ins: Croutons, marinated artichokes hearts, black olives, bacon, chicken, hardboiled eggs, beets, sunflower seeds
- Combine all of the salad dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender: sour cream, herbs, chives/scallions, lemon juice and salt.
- Process until the herbs are very finely chopped and the dressing turns a pretty light green color. This will take about 1 minute in a food processor and less time in a blender.
- Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Combine the rainbow salad ingredients in a large bowl. If serving immediately, pour the Green Goddess salad dressing over the top. You don't have to use all of the dressing, just use as much as you like.
- Toss really well, add salt and pepper if needed. If you have any fresh herbs remaining, snip some over the top of the salad.
If possible, wait to dress the salad until right before eating so that the ingredients stay crisp and don't get soggy.
The salad dressing, stored in a glass jar or Tupperware container, will stay fresh for 3 to 4 days.
See the "Variations" section in the blog post above for ingredient suggestions that will add even more flavor to the dressing.
A blender (I use a Nutribullet) will give the dressing a thinner, runnier consistency. It will also do a better job of chopping the herbs so the dressing will be smoother. A food processor will keep the consistency slightly thicker (more like a dip than a dressing). Also, it won't chop up the herbs as finely, so the dressing will have more texture.
Keywords: Green Goddess Salad, Green Goddess dressing