Anything-Goes Green Goddess Salad

This pick-your-own-protein salad is all about the green goddess dressing, an herby, punchy, creamy green sauce that originated in San Francisco in the 1920s. It’s just as delicious as it is versatile: You can use any combo of tender herbs (cilantro, mint, basil, parsley, dill, tarragon, chives), cultured dairy (yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, labneh, crème fraîche), and acid (lemon juice, lime juice, unseasoned rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar) you’d like, which means you’re never more than a whiz away from a batch. Mix it into shredded poached and chilled chicken breasts, high-quality canned tuna, chickpeas, or boiled-and-chopped eggs. 


2-4 servings

  • 3 (heaping) cups tender herbs (such as dill, parsely, cilantro, basil, mint, tarragon, and/or chives
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup plain whole-milk yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, crème fraîche, or labneh (Lebanese strained yogurt)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. drained capers
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 lemons, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 chilled cooked medium skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 lb.), one 15-oz. can chickpeas, 8 boiled eggs, or three 5-oz. cans oil-packed tuna
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 head Bibb, butter, romaine, or iceberg lettuce
  • Potato chips (for serving)


  1. Combine 3 (heaping) cups tender herbs (such as dill, parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, tarragon, and/or chives), ½ cup mayonnaise,  ½ cup plain whole-milk yogurt (or sour cream, buttermilk, crème fraîche, or labneh), 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, 1 Tbsp. drained capers, 1 garlic clove, and a big pinch of kosher salt in a blender.
  2. Finely grate zest of 1 lemon into the blender. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze in juice through your hand or a fine-mesh sieve to catch the seeds. Blend on high until bright green, and speckled with small pieces of herbs. Taste dressing and season with freshly ground black pepper and more salt as needed.
  3. If using 2 chilled cooked medium skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 lb.), slice against the grain 1″ thick. Tear each slice into bite-size pieces. If using one 15-oz. can chickpeas, drain, and rinse well. If using 8 boiled eggs, peel and cut into bite-size pieces. If using three 5-oz. cans oil-packed tuna, drain, and flake with a fork into bite-size pieces. Place protein of choice in a medium bowl.
  4. Add ¼ cup dressing to protein and mix well to combine. Place remaining dressing in a small bowl and set aside for serving.
  5. Remove any leaves attached to 2 celery stalks. Thinly slice stalks on a diagonal and mix into the salad. Season with salt and pepper. Top with any celery leaves.
  6. Cut 1 ripe avocado in half. Remove pit, scoop the flesh out of the skin, and cut into ½”-thick wedges.
  7. Separate leaves of 1 head Bibb, butter, romaine, or iceberg lettuce. Wash and dry leaves thoroughly.
  8. To serve, place a bowl of salad and reserved dressing on a platter and arrange lettuce, avocado wedges, and a big pile of potato chips around. Slice remaining 1 lemon into wedges. Drizzle a bit of juice over avocado. Arrange lemon wedges on a platter. Season avocado with some salt and a crank or two of pepper.
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