Get Your Green Goddess On

By JeanMarie Brownson | March 6th, 2024

The fresh dressing on a festive, healthy, and delicious green salad


Fresh Green Goddess dressing. Image by Elena Veselova

Use homemade green goddess dressing for a burst of fresh flavor with a Broccolini and Avocado Salad. Get your healthy dose of green for St. Patrick’s Day or any time of year.


Green. The favored color to wear on Saint Patrick’s Day for good luck and to keep us invisible to leprechauns. We love the color for everything from the Chicago River to beer and dinner. This year we’re tapping into one of our favorite dressings, green goddess, to create a meatless meal as brilliantly green as the lush green fields of Ireland.

Homemade green goddess dressing requires fresh herbs and a blender to puree them into a creamy sauce with mayonnaise and yogurt. The sauce keeps its beautiful pale green color and fresh flavor for several days in the refrigerator.

Off season, I grow fresh herbs on the kitchen counter with the help of a hydroponic container made by AeroGarden. With electricity, water and plant food, I have success growing delicious fresh basil, dill, parsley, mint and more all winter long at a fraction of the price of those plastic cartons in the supermarket. More often than not, those fresh herbs motivate kitchen creativity.

For a meatless main-course salad, I’ll toss the green goddess dressing with a bevy of green vegetables, including broccolini, green beans, avocado, tomatillos and spinach. A scoop of warm quinoa and some chopped pistachios add protein and flavor.

Broccolini, sometimes called baby broccoli, actually is a hybrid vegetable — a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. Broccolini has long thin stems with small florets at the top. It is packed with vitamins C, E and K as well as a deep, rich, green flavor. The crisp texture works well for stir-fries or briefly blanched for a salad or side dish.

For the salad that follows, broccolini pairs with creamy avocado, tart wedges of tomatillo, and crunchy green beans. Almost any green vegetable, fresh or frozen can be used in the salad–the trick is to keep them a bit crunchy so the salad has a great texture. For example, swap out the broccolini for broccoli florets, use frozen shelled edamame in place of the green beans. Wedges of roasted or steamed Brussels sprouts taste good here too.

The salad tastes best when tossed with warm quinoa and room temperature vegetables and dressing. Add the pistachios at the last minute so they stay crunchy. Serve the salad as a main course or as an accompaniment to roasted salmon or thin slices of corned beef.

Broccolini and Avocado Salad

Makes 4 servings

The green goddess dressing keeps its beautiful color and fresh flavor for several days in the refrigerator.
The green goddess dressing keeps its beautiful color and fresh flavor for several days in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

  • Green goddess dressing, recipe follows
  • Cooked quinoa with herbs, recipe follows
  • 2 bunches (8 to 10 ounces total) broccolini, or small broccoli spears or florets
  • 1/2 pound skinny green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 small poblano chile pepper or green bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 4 small tomatillos, peeled, sliced into ¼-inch wide wedges
  • 4 to 6 cups baby spinach leaves or arugula
  • 1 small avocado, halved, pitted, diced
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts
  • Fresh herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, dill or combination, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Make Green goddess dressing. Make quinoa and keep warm.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, trim about 1/4 inch off the ends of the broccolini. Cut the stalks into 2-inch lengths. Cut green beans into 1 1/2 inch lengths; you should have 2 generous cups. Remove core and seeds from poblano. Cut poblano flesh into 1/4-inch pieces.
  3. Heat 2 saucepans of salted water to a boil. Add green beans to one pot of the boiling water and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well. Add broccolini pieces to second pot of water Cook until a knife pierces the stems easily, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well.
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add oil, then add poblano and onion. Cook and stir until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the drained broccolini and green beans. Cook until everything is hot and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in tomatillos.
  5. Put a portion of the spinach in the bottom of 4 large shallow bowls. Put a scoop of cooked quinoa in the center of the spinach. Surround with some of the cooked vegetables and diced avocado. Drizzle generously with dressing, Sprinkle with pistachios and herbs. Serve. Toss well to enjoy.

Green Goddess Dressing

Makes 1 generous cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped mixed herbs, such as a combination of cilantro, dill, parsley
  • 1/2 cup each: mayonnaise, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Put basil and herbs into blender. Add remaining ingredients. Process with on/off turns until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt.
  2. Refrigerate covered up to several days. Use at room temperature.

Cooked Quinoa with Herbs

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tricolor quinoa (or 1/2 cup plain quinoa and red quinoa)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, dill, chives or cilantro or a combination

Directions:

  1. Put quinoa into a fine mesh strainer. Rinse well and shake dry.
  2. Heat broth in small saucepan to a boil. Add salt and quinoa. Reduce heat to a simmer; cover and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Fluff with fork. Add herbs and serve hot.

JeanMarie Brownson is a James Beard Award-winning author and the recipient of the IACP Cookbook Award for her latest cookbook, “Dinner at Home.” JeanMarie, a chef and authority on home cooking, Mexican cooking and specialty food, is one of the founding partners of Frontera Foods. She co-authored three cookbooks with chef Rick Bayless, including “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” JeanMarie has enjoyed developing recipes and writing about food, travel, and dining for more than four decades.

©2024 JeanMarie Brownson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Also from JeanMarie Brownson, this recipe for a satisfying meatless burger. Really!

Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day ideas? Try this healthy version of Spotted Dog Irish Soda Bread.

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