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Tour of California: Green Goddess Dressing

So, the Tour of California certainly got off to an interesting start (or, rather, non-start [2]? or, perhaps a stutter start [3]?) For this next recipe featuring California cuisine, I take us to the Palace Hotel [4] in San Francisco. In 1923, the English actor George Arliss was staying at the Palace Hotel. The chef was inspired to create a recipe in his honor and serve a meal to the actors in the play. He whipped up a salad dressing featuring anchovies, mayonnaise, vinegar, green onion, garlic, parsley, tarragon and chives. And, he named it after the play Arliss was starring in – The Green Goddess.


The Green Goddess [5], the play, involves a convoluted story of jealousy with Arliss playing a Raja infatuated by one of three survivors of a plane crash that landed in his, fictional, kingdom. Unfortunately, the woman, Lucilla, is married to another survivor. Hilarity ensues. (Hostages! Kidnapped children! Sacrifice!) Lucilla is eventually killed by a bomb leaving the Raja to end the story consoling himself with the line: ““She’d probably have been a damned nuisance.” (Why this was left off of the Top 100 Movie Quotes [6], I’ll never know.)

This dressing is still served at the Palace Hotel, and is known around the world, meanwhile, the play and the subsequent movie are pretty much all but forgotten.

Since we’ve got two cycling races going on now, we really don’t need to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen. This is an easy recipe that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. I took the original recipe and adapted it a bit to fit the vegetarian or vegan taste. Capers are substituted for anchovies and the mayonnaise is cut with a little Greek yogurt. (Although, this recipe would work nicely with just the Greek yogurt if you find the taste of mayo overwhelming.)

Vegetarian Green Goddess Dressing
by Megabeth

1 cup fat-free mayonnaise (or vegan mayo)
1 cup fat-free greek yogurt
2 teaspoons chopped capers
1 green onion, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons chopped chives
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
!/4 teaspoon dried OR 1 teaspoon cut, fresh tarragon

Throw it all in a blender.

Blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before using.