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Little Gem Lettuce with Green Goddess Dressing

Little Gem Lettuce with Green Goddess Dressing

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If you can’t find Little Gem, use any other small crunchy green, such as romaine hearts.


  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4½ teaspoons olive oil, plus more
  • 6 heads of Little Gem lettuce, cores removed, leaves separated
  • 2 small watermelon radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced

Recipe Preparation

  • Blend anchovies, garlic, mayonnaise, sour cream, basil, parsley, tarragon, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 4½ tsp. oil in a blender until smooth with only a few flecks of green; season dressing with salt.

  • Combine lettuce, radishes, and remaining 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lemon juice in a large bowl, drizzle with oil, and season with salt; toss to combine.

  • Top salad with a few spoonfuls of dressing; reserve remaining dressing for another use (like a turkey sandwich!).

  • Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

,Photos by Elizabeth Cecil

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 200 Fat (g) 16 Saturated Fat (g) 5 Cholesterol (mg) 30 Carbohydrates (g) 9 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 4 Protein (g) 3 Sodium (mg) 240Reviews Section

Recipe Summary

  • 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups lightly packed mixed herbs, such as chives, parsley, tarragon and dill
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Six 6-ounce heads of Little Gem lettuce or hearts of romaine, dark outer leaves discarded and inner leaves separated (1 1/2 pounds)
  • 8 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 24 white anchovies (alici or boquerones)

In a blender, combine the vinegar with the shallot, mustard, honey and 1 cup of the herbs and puree until nearly smooth. With the machine on, gradually add both oils and puree until very smooth. Scrape the dressing into a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

In a large serving bowl, gently toss the lettuce with half of the dressing and 1/2 cup of the herbs. Scatter the radishes, anchovies and the remaining 1/2 cup of herbs on top of the salad and serve, passing the remaining dressing at the table.

Salad with green goddess dressing is heavenly

Don’t you just feel like a good salad when the weather gets nice? When leaves start to appear on trees and our lawns suddenly look verdant, our dinner plates call out for a little green, too.

This salad is a great place to start. It doesn’t require lots of ingredients, but it’s full of flavor. The dressing is a vegan version of green goddess, named for its color. Chef Philip Roemer of San Francisco’s Palace Hotel is said to have created this classic mayo-based dressing in the 1920s to honor actor George Arliss, who starred in William Archer’s play “The Green Goddess.”

Like so many dishes, green goddess has gone in and out of style over the years, but this fresh, herbal version with creamy avocado, lemon, rice vinegar and three soft and leafy herbs is a keeper.

The original recipe calls for using “Little Gem” romaine lettuce, but my grocery store was out. So I substituted a mix of torn romaine and butter lettuce. For herbs, think dill, tarragon and chives along with parsley, cilantro and mint. For some extra crunch, throw on a few seasoned croutons.

This dressing also can be served as a dip for raw veggies, as a base for coleslaw or as a jazzy sauce for potato or pasta salad.


1/2 c. packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems

1/3 c. packed fresh mint leaves

1/2 c. packed fresh parsley leaves

2 large garlic cloves

1 t. kosher salt

1 ripe avocado, halved

3 T. fresh lemon juice

3 T. unseasoned rice vinegar

1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 c. safflower or vegetable oil

8 c. romaine or butter lettuce, torn, or mix of both

2 ripe avocados, sliced

5 radishes, sliced

1 spring onion, sliced

Additional fresh herbs, for garnish

Seasoned croutons, for garnish

Make the dressing: Add herbs, water, garlic and salt to a blender and blend until ingredients are pureed. Next, add avocado, lemon juice and vinegar and blitz again.

With the blender running, slowly pour in oils. Season with salt and pepper. (Dressing can be made 1 day ahead, and refrigerated. It will keep for up to a week.)

Make the salad: Rinse lettuce in cold water. Shake off excess and let dry cut side down on kitchen towels or paper towels. Wrap them up in the same towel, putting the two halves together, and chill in fridge until you are ready to serve, or up to 1 day.

Arrange lettuce on a platter and drizzle with dressing. Garnish with avocado, radishes, spring onions, fresh herbs and any flowering herbs from the garden. Add a handful of croutons for extra crunch, if desired. Serves 6.

— Adapted from “Lush Life: Food & Drinks from the Garden” by Valerie Rice (Prospect Park Books, $35)

Little Gem Salad with Green Goddess Dressing


For the dressing:
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sour cream
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1 cup (1 1/3 oz./40 g) minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) minced fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the salad:
  • 4 to 6 rainbow carrots, peeled and thinly shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 4 to 6 heads Little Gem lettuce (or more if very small), halved lengthwise
  • 4 to 6 radishes (red, green or a combination), trimmed and thinly shaved on a mandoline
  • 1 cup (7 oz./220 g) fava beans, blanched
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
  • Freshly ground pepper


To make the dressing, in a blender, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, anchovies, cilantro, chives, parsley, lime zest and juice, olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Blend on high speed until well combined. Set aside.

To make the salad, put the carrots in a bowl of ice water and let stand until they start to curl, 10 to 15 minutes drain and pat dry. Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter or divide among salad plates. Top with the carrots, radishes, fava beans and eggs. Drizzle with the dressing and garnish with the cilantro sprigs and a few grindings of black pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Please Don't Come Near My Salad With Those Tongs

"I've never seen anyone be so picky about salad greens" he says. It's the first time I'm cooking dinner for a new love interest and he is perched at the stool of my kitchen island, sipping a beer and watching with a little too much attention as I bustle about with pre-dinner preparations. "You're actually examining each leaf of that lettuce?"

This Spring, Let's Ditch Spring Mix

Yes, of course I'm examining each Little Gem leaf as I pull it off the head. I'm tearing off and tossing any browning or wilting bits from each leaf into the open compost bucket next to me, smiling off any notion he might be brewing that I'm perhaps a little too particular for him.

The leaves that pass the examination will get torn into bite-sized pieces, gently washed, throughly air-dried, and then wrapped in a clean towel and stored in the fridge to stay crisp until exactly the moment before serving the salad. Then I will pour some tart buttermilk dressing into the bottom of my biggest work bowl, add the groomed and ready leaves of Little Gem and carefully lift and fluff them until each leaf is coated just enough. I will use my hands again to gently scoop and divide the salad between each dinner plate without squishing or bruising any of those perfect leaves, letting any excess dressing fall behind in the bottom of the bowl to avoid any potential sogginess. (Look, when you put this much love into a salad your hands are the only thing that should touch it—tongs or sharp-edged serving utensils come with the near-certain risk of crushing and bruising the leaves.) But I will perform the rest of these particular salad preparations between other tasks, sometimes with my back turned to him, distracting him with my multi-tasking and extra chatter so he doesn't see exactly how much love I'm giving this salad.

At the dinner table he will say it is the best salad he's ever had.

I'm a dinner guest at one of my best friend's houses and have been told she doesn't need any help. So I'm leaning against the kitchen counter occupying my hands with the abundant cheese board.

My friend is packing baby arugula into a dark walnut salad bowl. She opens a second clamshell and packs in more than should fit, pours a lovely homemade vinaigrette over the top, and then takes a pair of kitchen tongs out and starts pinching and turning those tender baby greens over and over to coat them in dressing. I'm stuffing more cheese in my mouth to stop myself from telling her not to abuse the salad. But with each new pinch and turn I can see the arugula bruising: it's turning that weird dark translucent green and shrinking in size.

At the dinner table I will push my stringy salad around a bit to make it look like Iɽ eaten more than I did, and wish I hadn't held my tongue.

There are too many cooks in the kitchen at my grandparents' house. My family loves to cook, and so there we all are pumping out dinner for 20. One of my cousins has run out of tasks, and I spot her getting ready to dress our salad, a pair of heavy, elegant salad tongs in her hand. "Wait!" I cry out a little too loudly. Everyone stops what they're doing and looks at me.

"Please don't use those tongs! Iɽ like to dress the salad myself just before we eat it." My cousin is a deer in headlights, holding the tongs in front of her in confusion. "Anna's very particular about salad. " my mom explains with a knowing smile. I apologize and we laugh away my abruptness and the awkward moment passes.

In a few minutes I will sneak the salad bowl into the most private corner of the kitchen where I can pick through it to remove any bruised or wilting pieces of the tender red leaf lettuce my mom has brought from her garden. Then I will tilt the leaves over to one side of the bowl, pour a bit of the garlicky vinaigrette my aunt just made down the other side of the bowl and use my hands to gently toss and coat all those sweet greens in just enough of the agreeably pungent dressing just before serving.

At the dinner table I will eat a second helping of salad and be glad I never hold my tongue with my family.

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Alex Brannian, Food Styling by Michelle Gatton

Green Goddess Dressing


1 1/2 large hass avocado
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium shallot
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1.5 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp italian parsley
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt (start with 1/4 tsp if using non-flaky salt)
Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste


Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

Add to a salad containing greens and vegetables of your choice.

If you have leftover dressing, place in a glass container. The dressing will keep refrigerated for 2-3 days.

Hopefully you’ll love this dressing as much as we do. A fun way to change it up is to use a different kind of vinegar or experiment with using different herbs. If you make any delicious varieties of this dressing, we’d love to know in the comments.

Emilía Rún

Emilía Rún is the Chef and Founder of Los Angeles based Shanti Kitchen, a paleo, plant-based and keto-friendly cake and catering service. Emilía also instructs kundalini yoga and insight meditation, teaching self-compassion as the path to ultimate freedom.

Green Goddess Dressing (paleo, vegan)

This creamy Green Goddess Dressing is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a salad. The avocado adds the perfect dairy-free creamy base, and the basil adds in a touch of bliss, and the red wine vinegar adds just the right amount of tang. The vinegar also keeps the dressing green for a couple days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge too. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your own taste buds. This is one of my favorite recipes to use hemp hearts in, as the earthy taste of hemp seeds pairs perfectly with this creamy Green Goddess Dressing. And if you’d rather sprinkle the hemp hearts onto the salad for an extra serving of protein that tastes pretty darn good too.

This dressing also makes a fabulous replacement for ranch dressing when served with fresh veggies for dipping!

Little Gem Lettuce with Green Goddess Dressing - Recipes

Prep the optional garnishes, if desired. Make the herb broth and garlic confit.

Combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz until creamy and smooth. Season to taste with salt.

Wash lettuces, cut in half and core. Smoke or grill the lettuces with mesquite or pecan wood.

Dress gems with 1–2 tablespoons pickling liquid and tahini dressing to taste. Garnish with optional candied pepitas and pickled lettuce cores.

*Chervil, chives and tarragon are traditional but feel free to substitute parsley, green onion, fennel fronds, basil, dill or mint.

Candied Pepitas

Combine sugar and maple syrup and bring to a rapid boil. Remove from the heat add pepitas, turmeric and salt. Stir, spread out on a Silpat mat or an oiled baking sheet and cool.

Pickled Lettuce Core

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and steep for at least an hour. Strain out spices retaining lettuce cores and pickling liquid.

Recipe Summary

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/4 pounds chicken tenders
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated garlic (from 1 small clove)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, plus 4 teaspoons fresh juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying and drizzling
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (1/4 cup)
  • 6 cups chopped Little Gem or iceberg lettuce, or a combination
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fennel (from 1/2 bulb)
  • 1 cup julienned sugar snap peas (2 ounces)
  • 1 jalapeño or Fresno chile, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Whisk together yogurt and mayonnaise. In another bowl, toss chicken with 1/2 cup yogurt mixture season with salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes (or refrigerate, covered, up to 2 hours).

Whisk garlic, lime zest and juice, mustard, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil into remaining 1/2 cup yogurt mixture (it should have a pourable consistency if too thick, whisk in water, 1 teaspoon at a time). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Stir together panko and cheese in a pie dish or other wide, shallow vessel to combine. Dredge a few chicken pieces at a time in mixture to coat pat to adhere.

Add enough oil to a medium nonstick skillet to reach 1/4 inch up sides. Heat over medium-high until a panko crumb sizzles immediately when tossed in.

Working in batches, add chicken to oil and cook, flipping halfway, until golden brown all over and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes a batch. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet season with salt. Let cool slightly.

Toss lettuce, fennel, and snap peas with a drizzle of oil. Divide among plates and top with fried chicken, chile, and avocado. Serve, with dressing alongside.

Green goddess dressing

Prep 20 min
Makes 450ml

Samin Nosrat’s roast beetroot with green goddess dressing.

3 salt-packed anchovies (or 6 fillets), soaked and filleted
1 ripe, medium avocado, halved and pitted
1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
4 tsp red-wine vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice, plus 2 tsp extra

2 tbsp each finely chopped parsley and coriander
1 tbsp each finely chopped chives and chervil
1 tsp finely chopped tarragon
125ml stiff mayonnaise

Coarsely chop the anchovies, then pound them into a fine paste in a mortar. The more you break them down, the better the dressing will be.

Put the anchovies, avocado, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, herbs and mayonnaise in a blender or food processor with a generous pinch of salt, and blend until creamy, thick and smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and acid as needed.

Leave the green goddess thick to use as a dip, or thin with water to your desired consistency for a salad dressing.

Serve with romaine, iceberg wedges, little gem lettuce, beetroot, cucumber, radicchio, or with grilled fish or roast chicken, dipping crudités and with an avocado salad. Leftovers will keep, covered in the fridge, for up to three days.

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