Green Goddess Dip & Dressing

Do you like herbs? I adore them. I always have fresh parsley, cilantro, and chives on hand, and often thyme, mint and sage, too. They cost less than $1 per bunch and they add so much to meals that I don’t even mind throwing them away if I don’t use them up.

I miss my beautiful herb garden jungle… It was my pride and joy… until it got gnats and then slugs. SLUGS. In an indoor garden. How does that even happen?! Shudder.

Despite my obsession with fresh herbs, I had never tried fresh tarragon. I decided to track it down for an authentic Green Goddess dressing. And it is incredible! It has absolute no flavour semblance to the lackluster green powder that is its dried counterpart. Fresh tarragon’s long, tender leaves are sweet with anise and fennel notes – it has a freshness on the palette that reminds me of mint. I munched down half the bunch before it ever graced my dressing.

Green Goddess was the hero of American dressings before Ranch came along. You will find hundreds of versions online, but my research tells me that the authentic version is made with fresh tarragon, chives and parsley, lemon juice, anchovies, mayonnaise and sour cream. I aimed for an authentic ingredient profile with my recipe, but you can experiment with different herbs and dairy products (like buttermilk or yogurt).

Complex with it’s blend of tangy, savoury, and sweet, herby flavours, this makes a fabulous accompaniment to a veggie platter at a party – pair with a few less common crudites like belgian endive leaves (pictured here), radishes, blanched green beans, jicama sticks, etc. You could alternatively use it to dress a salad of hearty greens like romaine, or for dipping steamed artichoke leaves. You could even serve it with steamed fish. Or with poached eggs, as an alternative to hollandaise sauce. Or as a dip for baked root vegetable “fries”.

Anchovies contribute an important savoury, salty element, but not to fear – they in no way come off as fishy. They are a key component of Caesar dressing as well. I love having anchovy paste on hand to add depth and umami to pasta dishes and sauce. It comes in a tube with a screw-on cap, packaged in a box (like a mini toothpaste box), usually in the refrigerated section near the dairy and eggs. In this recipe, you can substitute one or two tinned anchovies in oil, or a teaspoon of either Thai fish sauce or worcestershire sauce (which are both anchovy based as well).

Green Goddess Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (half a lemon)
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender, starting with a good pinch of salt and pulse until blended. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more of any herb if more flavour or deeper green colour is desired.

Last Updated on February 20, 2012 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

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