Basil Green Goddess Salad Dressing

So I wanted to make an authentic Green Goddess salad dressing. I dutifully looked up recipes. I hit the biggies–Ina, Epicurious, Bon Appetit, etc. They were definitely at odds as to what constitutes green goddess. Then I randomly checked out the little guys. None of them agreed on the ingredients either.

I get the feeling that the name green goddess gets slapped on any dressing that is creamy and green and has some herbs in it. Common sense tells me that Ina is probably the most correct in her version of that elusive green dressing. I mean, really, we’re talking about Ina, the queen, here. Would she lead us down a woe begone path of food impropriety? No, of course not.

What about those other guys? Would they show us the wrong way? Yes, of course they would. Would their imposter recipes for “green goddess” taste good? Again, yes, of course they would…or would not.

What’s a blogger to do? Silly question. I dutifully put on my stiffest, loose-fitting, button up, starched white shirt, turned up the collar and decided to go with Ina on the recipe. With my good mayonnaise in hand I was all set to believe in Ina, I really was, but the cosmos lured me back one more time to my computer and I read a 1948 recipe from the New York Times. It was a distressing moment. Here I was dressed up like Ina, ready to make her recipe, only to discover that maybe she was not on the right path afterall.

After that, I stripped off the chaffing button-up shirt, put back on my favorite old, worn out pair of green scrubs (I did NOT bring these home from work–they just showed up one day on my back porch and begged me to to keep them) and tried out some of the other creamy, green salad dressings. It’s really great to have green scrubs when making green dressing.

Wait a minute—did you think I meant that I wore the green scrubs so that if I spilled any of the dressing on me it wouldn’t matter if it stained? You are so misguided. I firmly believe any good cook worth her salt, dresses so that the clothes she is wearing matches the food that she is making. Everybody knows it’s proper cooking etiquette. Everybody. And the apron thing, who has time to don an apron when genius is at work?

In the end, I tried three versions of Green Goddess Dressing: the New York Times 1948 version of the original Green Goddess Salad; an updated Green Goddess from Bon Appetit; and Ina Garten’s Basil Green Goddess Dressing

The 1948 version turned out tan (lots of anchovies) instead of green and I was not a fan of its flavor. I only took the tiniest taste of it which still lingers after having eaten dinner and brushed my teeth–garlic and anchovies are bound to somehow negatively impact a peaceful nights rest. Perhaps my palate is woefully uneducated, but I really do not like the official Green Goddess Dressing.

The dressing from Bon Appetit was relatively lack luster with bitter undertones. Initially I thought that it showed a lot of promise, namely because it used an avocado base and had a lovely array of fresh herbs. I let the dressing sit overnight in the refrigerator and then tried it on a simple mixed lettuce salad. The flavor improved, but did not wow me.

The Ina dressing was tamed down greatly from the original Green Goddess recipe and I found it to be absolutely delicious. Ina used basil instead of the traditional tarragon and the dressing tasted amazing even before the ingredients had had a chance to meld. I knew that my girl Ina wouldn’t let me down, I just knew it. I questioned Ina’s use of basil as opposed to tarragon and parsley and her mere nod to the anchovies, but guess what–Ina is the queen mother of kitchen wisdom. I most humbly wear my stiffest of loose fitting button up classic shirts with my collar standing at attention.

Basil Green Goddess Salad Dressing

Recipe slightly adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa


  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (6 to 7 scallions)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste (I found this in a tube stocked with the other canned fish-type products: ie, tuna, clams, oysters.)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (I used sea salt)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 heads Bibb lettuce (I used mixed lettuces + additional Romain)
  • 2 to 3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 -2 cucumbers, sliced (I used the small English cucumbers that have a thin skin, which I left intact.)


  1. Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add the sour cream and process just until blended. (If not using immediately, refrigerate the dressing until ready to serve.)
  3. If using Bibb lettuce, cut each head into quarters and remove some of the cores. If using a bag of mixed lettuces, rinse well and spin or pat dry. Arrange lettuces on six salad plates.
  4. Add the tomato wedges and cucumber slices.
  5. The dressing may be poured on top or served separately to meet each guests personal preference.
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    • says

      Whenever I post a classic, I always try to do a little research before I post the recipe. I don’t want to call something classic if it is actually an updated version of the classic. In this case, however, I really did not like the classic version and was more than grateful for Ina Garten’s version! It saved the day.


    I was looking for a recipe for the authentic green goddess dressing and I want to
    thank you for saving me me the the time and trouble and pointing me to Ina’s
    recipe. I would have started with the 1948 recipe also and most assuredly would have
    reached the same conclusions as you! Thank you!

    All the best,

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