Lighter Green Goddess Dressing

Lighter Green Goddess Dressing

We’ve been Green Goddess obsessed over here. Virginia brought a little crock of this tangy, herby dressing home from a playdate at a friend’s house exclaiming, “this is the best dressing ever, mom.”

When a child has that sort of enthusiasm about anything related to vegetables, it’s smart to listen up. We promptly put it on our cooking “to do” list.

A few days later my friend Kim asked if she could come over to snap some pictures of me and the kids in the kitchen for a photo essay. Kim is a professional photographer (among other talents) who specializes in family and child photography. It seemed the perfect occasion to tackle Green Goddess.

We did a little research on the dressing and learned it actually hails from here in San Francisco, created in the 1920s by the Palace Hotel to honor an actor starring in a play called, you guessed it, Green Goddess.

Traditionally, the dressing is made with a variety of herbs, which are what give it the signature green hue. The Lighter Green Goddess version I share below, adapted from an Ina Garten recipe, relies largely on loads of fresh basil. If you know anything about Ina, you know she isn’t shy with fat, salt, or flavor, so I’ve scaled back the fat and sodium, and cut out the anchovies altogether since that can be a deal breaker for a lot of kids. It remains delicious nevertheless.

The dressing is excellent over salad, and is particularly well suited to the salads of summer, abundant as they are in tomatoes and cucumbers. Green Goddess is also tasty alongside tender new potatoes, spooned onto grilled fish, or tossed into chicken salad.

I thought I’d share a handful of Kim’s lovely photos from our afternoon in the kitchen. Virginia and her friend Nikou, who was visiting that day, did most of the heavy lifting, and gobbled up every bite of their beautiful work.

Green Goddess

green goddess

green goddess

Lighter Green Goddess Dressing

This makes a thick, creamy dressing that is delicious for a vegetable dip or to dress a salad. If you like a thinner dressing, you can drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar onto your salad along with the Green Goddess.
Course Salad
Author katiemorford


  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions , white and green parts (3 to 4 scallions)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 medium clove chopped garlic (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 1 small anchovy (optional)


  1. Put the mayonnaise, sour cream, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper into a blender or food processor and whirl just until silky smooth.
  2. Store in the fridge for up to four days. Makes about 1 1/4 cups dressing.

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, 2006)

Photos by Kimberly Koch (



07.18.2013 at7:15 AM #



07.18.2013 at12:43 PM #


The dressing looks delish! I love the photos too…..and the friendship bracelets….sigh…..

07.18.2013 at12:43 PM #


Thanks Kate. Yes….those bracelets …. on little hands speak volumes about what it means to be 10.

07.18.2013 at8:43 PM #

Kimberly Koch

Thanks for the shout out, Kate. I had a great time at your house. And my take-home dressing was delicious! Great on salads, but also excellent as a dip for fresh cucumber slices.

07.21.2013 at3:30 PM #


Just made your dressing and it is wonderful! I have never made Green Goddess dressing before, was I ever missing out. Divvied it up in mason jars to share with a couple of friends tonight, as I shouldn’t eat all of it in the next three days. Thanks!

07.21.2013 at3:30 PM #


Glad you like it Kris and so sweet to share. I cut the original recipe in half, but it does still make quite a generous amount.

02.26.2014 at12:57 PM #

Juegos Tragaperras sin Descargar

Your style is very unique in comparison to other folks I have read
stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess
I will just book mark this blog.

04.13.2020 at4:36 PM #

Gloria Corley

Can I substitute yogurt for the sour cream?

04.13.2020 at4:36 PM #


Yes! I’d recommend Greek yogurt, but if you only have regular yogurt, the dressing will be a bit thinner.

06.03.2021 at6:39 PM #

Christina Moreno

Hi! Do you know the calories on your version?

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