The other day, a client told me he chose a dish from the weekly menu that included a balsamic-basil aioli because “Mary always does good sauces.” He has a point, I am obsessed with sauces. Whether it’s an aioli, salsa, gravy, pasta sauce, dipping sauce or a salad dressing, sauces are my favorite way to add flavor, complexity & texture to simple dishes.
And that’s not just for clients. Take a peak in my fridge and you’ll see several homemade sauce and dressing options on hand. For myself, I improv cook using versatile meal prepped components. And sauces are a huge part of making improv cooking sessions successful. Because I almost only cook vegan food for myself, I’ve come up with lots of plant-based sauce and dressing options that kick my dishes up a few notches, and this creamy green goddess dressing is the perfect example of this.
I use cashews, a bit of scallion, lemon juice and lots of fresh herbs to create this quick & easy vegan dressing – that also happens to be outrageously creamy. To me, green goddess is a very familiar dressing-type, but in case you don’t know, green goddess is a style of salad dressing that’s made bright green through the use of fresh soft herbs. For my version I use a mixture of basil, parsley & tarragon, but other options include mint, cilantro and dill.
Use this as a dressing for a simple side salad or a “big salad” (Seinfeld ref). You can also mix it into cooked grains like farro for a creamy, dreamy grain salad that no one will be able to resist. Or, cut back on the water for a thicker texture, perfect as a crudités dip or an aioli-style sauce.
Creamy Green Goddess Dressing
vegan | gluten-free | oil-free
Yield: 1.25 cups
3/4 cup water, filtered preferred*
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked and drained*
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed parsley
1/4 cup loosely packed tarragon
1 scallion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, fine grain (or to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until completely smooth. Serve as a salad dressing for lettuce or grain-based salads.
A traditional blender or food processor will also work for this, but the results will not be quite as smooth and dreamy. Keep in mind that a high powered blender takes 60-90 seconds to blend while something less powerful could take 5 minutes or more to achieve a creamy consistency.
Use less water to achieve a thicker consistency, like for a crudités dip or an aioli-style sauce.
I soak my cashews for as little as 1 hour in room temperature water for perfect results. Soak for longer if using a less powerful blender or food processor. You can soak them in the fridge overnight, if desired.