Those of you with an herb garden will find this low-calorie green goddess dip recipe easy to make—the recipe turns a bundle of freshly clipped herbs into a delicate green, creamy sauce. The perfect dippers to go with it are garden-fresh vegetables such as asparagus spears, baby carrots, radishes, and cucumber.–Diane Morgan

*Can I use full-fat mayo?

Let’s be clear about one thing, shall we? This is not The Original Green Goddess Dip. We can’t imagine that was ever dubbed “svelte,” in any incarnation or any era. This tweaked rendition, though not quite classic, is definitely svelte. Or rather, svelte-inducing. Of course, if you prefer to use full-fat sour cream and mayo rather than low-fat, we’re not about to stop you. We may, though, remind you that while thick-cut, kettle-cooked potato chips are tempting, virtuous vegetables become vixen-like when swiped through this super creamy dip.

A light-blue gravy boat filled with svelte green goddess dip

Svelte Green Goddess Dip

5 / 3 votes
Svelte Green Goddess dip takes the cool and creamy herbal classic and lightens it up a bit. Anchovies add a hit of umami, while low-fat sour cream keeps it velvety.
David Leite
Servings12 servings | 1 1/2 cups
Calories49 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes


  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed
  • 2 scallions, including 3 inches of the green tops, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped tarragon leaves
  • 6 large basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise


  • In the work-bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the anchovies, garlic, scallions, parsley, cilantro, dill, tarragon, basil, vinegar, salt, sugar, and pepper until finely chopped. Stop the machine once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Add the sour cream and mayonnaise and process until smooth. Scoop into a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld. (This dip can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator 10 minutes before serving.) Originally published September 20, 2010.
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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 49 kcalCarbohydrates: 3 gProtein: 1 gFat: 4 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 0.01 gCholesterol: 7 mgSodium: 310 mgFiber: 0.2 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 Diane Morgan. Photo © 2010 Sheri Giblin. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Absolutely the very best! With a houseful of runners here this weekend, the Green Goddess dip and salad dressing was just perfect. It got a thumbs up from everyone and requests for the recipe. No one would change a thing (we used the full-fat version). This will be one of the house specials here.

I made the “voluptuous” version of this dip, using full-fat sour cream and mayo, not because I thought the low-fat version would be bad, but because the full-fat ingredients happened to be sitting in my fridge. It was fantastic. Having so many different flavors going into it, one might think the dip would taste muddled or that there would be a clash, but it’s beautifully balanced and bright. Great with vegetables or crackers.

It’s also not too thick to use as a salad dressing. My husband tried it over a salad and loved it. Even though I didn’t try the low-fat ingredients, I have a feeling that the dip would still be very good because there’s so much herbal flavor. Definitely a keeper.

I wasn’t planning to make this dip, but I found myself with a container of sour cream, 2 small anchovies in a jar, and some wilting basil I’d picked earlier. I made this to bring to a party and it was well received—beautiful in color, bright with herbs, and it had a garlic kick (my clove was rather large). The second time I had only basil, chives, and dried dill—and it was still delicious. Creamy, tasty, and I couldn’t tell it was low-fat.

We’ve dipped veggies in it, pita chips, potato chips, and cooked shrimp. I’ve spread it on toast and topped it with a fried egg. And the last of it got stirred into halved cherry tomatoes and a diced avocado. It’s so versatile. The fact that it tastes great no matter what combination of herbs and vinegar means I can mix it up at any time, as long as I have sour cream in the house!

I would not call this delicate—delicious and decadent, yes, but not delicate. The garlic and anchovy really hit the mouth, something I happen to love, but if someone else is expecting a light and delicate sauce, they may be disappointed. I wasn’t. I thought the sauce was very flavorful.

We had it on grilled salmon and grilled whole baby Yukon golds (and on the back of my spoon). I used fat-full mayo and low-fat sour cream, as that was what was in the fridge. I have to wonder why some of the herbs were chopped before going into the processor and others not. I just threw them all in whole. It’s a little annoying to buy all those herbs and only use a small amount, so either make a ton of sauce or have another plan for the herbs so they don’t go to waste.

This recipe is great to make ahead for entertaining, and keeps well in the fridge, but you may have to hide it or mislabel it to keep it around for even a day or two. It’s addictive and will surely disappear within minutes of anyone finding it. This is the perfect Green Goddess dip for all manner of things, and it can easily be used as a sauce as well. A truly versatile recipe that has loads of uses and is a cinch to whip up.

The tarragon wasn’t as much to my liking as the other herbs in the mix, so next time I’ll try lemon basil instead. Maybe a little lovage, too. Mixing in whatever tender herbs you have at hand would only enhance this recipe’s flexibility.

This recipe for Green Goddess dip gave me a good excuse to round up some fresh herbs from my garden and whip up a dip that doesn’t disappoint. The beauty of this dip is that it’s built around two base ingredients—mayonnaise and sour cream. I opted to use the full-fat version of each for a creamier, more full-flavored condiment. But you can go lean if you’d like. Either way, the mayonnaise and sour cream mixture takes on a new look and attitude when processed with a bunch of fresh herbs: it turns pale green and features specks of chopped herbs throughout. It also has a distinct garlic-dill taste that plays against the coolness of the dip.

This dip tastes best after it has set overnight, and is the perfect accompaniment to a crudité platter filled with crisp vegetables and toasted bread. I would even use it as a sandwich spread. There are no restrictions here. This easy, no-fuss dip is certainly made to please people—whether they’re your family or a crowd you’re entertaining. Enjoy!

Who doesn’t like recipes that only have two steps?! I couldn’t wait to eat this dip, although I am sure it tastes even better after waiting an hour for the flavors to come together. I used low-fat sour cream and full-fat mayo. I would have liked more garlic, more salt, and less anchovy. Next time I make this dip I would make those adjustments.

Rather than serving this as a dip, I used the recipe as a salad dressing, as it was thin enough to drizzle over lettuce, tomatoes, and croutons.

We loved this so much I’ve made it twice more, once with yogurt instead of sour cream and no sugar (it became a diet dip) and another time with only 1 anchovy for those who prefer less salt and fish taste. Both changes gave a nice result. I think the secret is in the large variety of herbs in the recipe, but you can adapt the rest of the ingredients to your taste or diet. Goes well with vegetables and as a sauce for grilled or fried fish.

Definitely a keeper! I made the recipe using real mayonnaise and full-fat sour cream and served it as a dip for cut veggies as part of a first course. The main course was baked salmon and my guests asked if I had any more of the dip to put on their salmon. It was easy to make, refreshing, and the recipe well written. Everyone loved it.

This dip is so delicious and fresh. The herbs are amazing coupled with the cool creaminess of the sour cream and mayo. The anchovies add a nice bit of saltiness, the sugar balances the acidity of the white wine vinegar. Serve this dip with cut vegetables or place a dollop on grilled fish. Excellent.

I’m going to try it mixed into some steamed rice for a refreshing side dish when I make it again—and I will definitely make it again. A must try!

What a wonderful way to use the herbal bounty of the summer. I used reduced-fat sour cream and mayonnaise and the dip was delicious and fresh tasting. We dipped fresh vegetables and wheat crackers into the dip and none was left over. We think it would even be delicious on baked potatoes. I wouldn’t change anything next time, except to make a double batch.

This recipe is going into my party file. While low-fat (or perhaps lower-fat), the dip is full-flavored, looks beautiful in a bowl, and is perfect for dipping both raw vegetables and potato chips. I wouldn’t know there were anchovies in it if I hadn’t put them in myself, but they bolster the flavor of the dip without being an obvious presence. The blend of herbs adds a wonderful freshness. A definite winner.

I thought that this dip had great flavor considering that it used low-fat ingredients. It was nice to be able to use so many fresh herbs from the garden. I did feel that the raw garlic overwhelmed the rest of the flavors. Next time I would either use less garlic or leave it out entirely.

Wow, this dip is amazing. It’s so flavorful, so rich, so velvety—and guess what? I used low-fat varieties of mayonnaise and sour cream. My family and I consumed way too much of this dip and, had they not been around, I probably would’ve licked the bowl clean. It was that good.

I did substitute anchovy paste (1 teaspoon = 2 anchovy fillets). The paste worked well, and the anchovy flavor itself is undetectable, but adds so much depth. I can’t wait to use this dip in other ways—perhaps on pizza, or hot asparagus. It will become a staple in my house, especially when summer comes and my herb garden is in full abundance. Thanks Leite’s, for introducing me to this recipe.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made this dip many times in the early 70’s always to rave reviews. Difference is there wasn’t light mayo or sour cream then and the only herbs the recipe called for was parsley and dill. Not having a food processor then—if there were any I’d never heard of one—I simply made it in a blender, and would chill it overnight for the flavors to blend. Still remains one of my favorite standbys, with lots of fresh vegetables on ice. The 70’s weren’t so bad in some ways!

    1. I’m not going to argue with you, Diane! This recipe is equally lovely when made with real, full-fat sour cream and mayo, by the way….

  2. Sorry, this dressing might be good, but it is not Green Goddess. Too many people radically change the recipe and call it something it’s not. Green Goddess was created at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco to honor George Arliss, the lead actor in the movie The Green Goddess. Arlis and cast were staying at the Palace when the chef created the dressing for Arliss. Here is the real Palace Hotel recipe. Californians, there is no avocado or cilantro (nor dill or basil) in it:

    Green Goddess Dressing

    1 tablespoon anchovie paste
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 cup plain yogurt
    1 green onion, chopped
    4 teaspoons chopped parsley
    2 teaspoons chopped chives
    1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    1/4 teaspoon dried OR 1 teaspoon cut, fresh tarragon

    Put in a blender and keep it going until blended very smooth, about 1 minute. Very simple and delicious. This recipe is also very popular in Europe as a dressing for Belgian Fries.

    1. T., thank you for the comprehensive story behind Green Goddess Dressing and of the role it played at the Palace Hotel. When we asked our recipes testers to put the dish through its paces, and then later decided to post it, we thought, like the author, that by calling it Svelte Green Goddess Dressing, it was clear it wasn’t the classic. But I see we weren’t clear enough and didn’t tip our hat to the original. Thank you for the reminder. I’ll make sure something is added to the LC Note to address this. (As far as changing the title, we’d have to do battle with a publisher!)

  3. 5 stars
    We have a Thanksgiving/Christmas recipe that uses Green Goddess dressing. Unfortunately, it entered our holiday repertoire in honor of the vegan boy, so we end up buying vegan green goddess dressing. This sounds so much better. Hmmm maybe the kid will be un-vegan by Christmas.