Avocado Green Goddess Dressing

July 27, 2015

I’ve always suffered mad book-love, even before I could actually read. Mama read to us for hours during long North Dakota winters, and I learned early on that even if you were snowed-in and drop-dead-bored, you could lose yourself in the world of Wonka; be comforted by Charlotte, spinning in a corner of the barn.

For most kids, summer means swimming, baseball, popsicles, games of kick-the-can. For me, summer meant books. Lots and lots of books. Mama would take me to the library twice a week and I’d get lost in possibility, studying shelves and scanning inside covers with ardent fingers. Books took me far away from myself; they made me forget that I didn’t have any friends and felt nervous all the time. I could go places without ever leaving the four walls of my room. Books were magic.

One of my favorite books was (and still remains) Harriet the Spy. I adored Harriet–every sneaky, spunky inch of her. The summer I discovered Harriet, I realized that it was okay if nobody wanted me on their kickball team–Harriet would carry me through. And she did.

I loved Harriet so much that I told Mama that I needed to try Harriet’s favorite lunch: The Tomato Sandwich. This came as a bit of a surprise, because I’d never been that crazy about tomatoes. Maybe because North Dakota isn’t exactly tomato country; most of the year, tomatoes were tough and tasteless disappointments. But dangit, I wanted that sandwich and Mama, bless her heart, was happy to oblige.

Turns out, Harriet was right. There’s nothing quite so fine in life as a tomato sandwich, particularly in the summertime, when tomatoes run sweet and bursting. To this day, it’s one of my favorite afternoon repasts. Sure, things have changed a bit–I don’t use squishy white bread and I jettison the Miracle Whip and I add an extra flavor or two–but the essence is still the same.

Once tomatoes are worth eating again, Harriet’s sandwich calls to me. It’s the first thing I crave. And then I eat too many tomato sandwiches and I want something a little different. I still want my tomatoes–I know how fleeting the season is and so I almost eat myself sick on them. Corn and peaches and cherries suffer the same summer fate; I’m gluttonous with them until I can’t stuff myself with another bite.

So I’m a greedy little piglet. Sue me.

It’s been steamy the last few days and even something as Puritan as a tomato sandwich seemed heavy. I’d gotten my hands on some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market, and wasn’t about to waste them, so what’s a girl to do?

She makes avocado green goddess dressing/dip. That’s what she does. Green goddess salad dressing normally doesn’t contain avocado. The “green” in green goddess salad dressing comes from the addition of a bucketload of fresh herbs. Tarragon and chives are essential, but the rest can be up to interpretation and what you have on hand. I’ve made it with basil and flat-leaf parsley, I’ve added chervil or cilantro to the mix. It’s all delicious, especially if you decide to add an avocado into the pool.

The avocado adds enough richness that you can actually substitute some lowfat yogurt for the traditional mayonnaise and nobody will be the wiser. How great is that?

One thing you must not skip is the anchovy paste (or regular anchovies, if you can’t find the paste). The anchovy is what gives green goddess dressing it’s quintessential umami zing. It’s salty and rich and delicious and nobody will say, “is that anchovy I taste?” They won’t, because there’s too much herb action going on and the stuff is dang delicious. Actually, it’s sort of addictive. I made up a big batch of this and I have been putting it on everything.

It’s awesome as a dip for crudites at your next summer party. It’s delicious thinned with a little buttermilk to dress leafy salads. It’s yummy on top of a piece of grilled fish (halibut and ahi tuna are particularly swoon-worthy). It transforms a pot of white rice–just swirl some in after the rice is cooked and you’ll be a believer.

And that tomato sandwich? Oh yeah. It’s the ideal thing to shmear on crusty bread for your next tomato sandwich binge. Even Harriet would approve.




Avocado Green Goddess Dressing

makes about 2 cups


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt

1 ripe avocado

1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced

1 teaspoon anchovy paste*

1/2 cup minced fresh chives

1/3 cup minced flat-leaf Italian parsley

3 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon champagne or white balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper


In a blender, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, Greek yogurt and avocado. Whir together until blended. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Whisk in the garlic and the anchovy paste. Add the other ingredients and taste for salt and pepper.  Allow dressing to sit in refrigerator for a half an hour before serving to allow the flavors to blend.

*If you can’t find anchovy paste, substitute 4 whole anchovies and whir them together with the mayo/avocado mixture before whisking in the herbs.

Note: This dressing, made as written, will be thick–more like a dip. If you want to use it to dress a salad, thin it with a little buttermilk or even plain milk and proceed.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Biz July 28, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Much like you I could easily read 10 books a week in the summer time – and I have only read one book in the last 5 years – my friend Andie wrote It Was Me All Along – and I’ve read that book 10 times already – finished the 10th time on my flight to and from Virginia this weekend.


She was one of the first food bloggers I started reading back in 2010 or so – I love her success!

And I agree with the anchovy paste – it’s the secret in any red sauce I make – Tony turned me on to that trick!


Susan Scott July 28, 2015 at 11:55 pm

Well, it’s still early morning here in South Africa and I’m positively salivating. I wish my avos were ripe – I’d make your recipe NOW! Anchovies? I’ll give it a try! Thank you for the recipe. Coming by via Eli’s 6 words. Have a great day :)


Eli@CoachDaddy July 30, 2015 at 9:51 am

This recipe sounds delicious! Added to my recipes file.

I miss books as a kid. Those days when you had not a care in the world, no mortgage, no 9-to-5, no taxes. Just a summer of possibilities and a pile of books. Choose Your Own Adventure were my favorites.


Annette August 3, 2015 at 8:39 pm

I can make this now because I splurged on anchovy paste for the shrimp dish, which, by the way, was simply fabulous!


Tiffany August 8, 2015 at 5:43 am

Summer = reading for me too! Always has, always will.


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