The Easiest Flavor Boosts For TikTok's Green Goddess Salad

When recipes don't rely too heavily on exact measurements, the base as it's written is often delicious, but can also yield a ton of delightful variations. One perfect example is the viral TikTok green goddess salad created by Melissa Ben-Ishay — known on her blog and social media platforms as Baked by Melissa. In fact, she created the endlessly riffable recipe using only ingredients that she had on hand, and encourages anyone making it to substitute and customize the recipe in the same way.


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♬ original sound – Baked by Melissa


The salad and dressing do have some straightforward elements. But, once you understand what makes this salad work, you can easily swap in ingredients for flavorful customization. Ben-Ishay uses green cabbage, cucumbers, chives, and scallions. You'll definitely want to use a hearty mix like this to stand up to the thick dressing, but if you want more of a lettuce vibe, a sturdier green like romaine, iceberg, kale, or endive would work, too. Otherwise, stick to other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower. And maybe add fresh chilies for a little spice or green bell peppers for extra crunch and zing.

The crunchy raw vegetable base is then finely chopped into what Ben-Ishay describes as confetti-like pieces, which means that every single bit gets covered in the dressing, creating cohesive and flavorful bites. It also makes this salad uniquely perfect for scooping up like a dip or using as a topping on something like tacos.

Ingredient swaps to amp up the green goddess dressing

The viral TikTok green goddess dressing is delectable because it has both creamy and herbaceous elements. Shallots, garlic, rice vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil make up the base. If you want to change the tone, however, substitute lime for the lemon, or swap the vinegar for whatever your go-to is like white wine, apple cider, or white balsamic vinegar for a sweeter touch. Avocado, grapeseed, sunflower, or canola oil would all work here too.

The dressing has a creamy texture from the addition of cashews and walnuts, and a cheesy taste from a hefty amount of nutritional yeast. You could substitute different nuts or seeds, or add in some fresh avocado. Instead of the nutritional yeast, you could even use grated Parmesan cheese. If you want to make it even creamier, a scoop of Greek yogurt would also be delicious. As for the herbs, creator Melissa Ben-Ishay opts for chives and basil in addition to baby spinach, but any tender herbs would work like cilantro, parsley, mint, and dill.

The many ways to serve this popular dish

The cut of the veggies and texture of this dressing means that the dish straddles the line between a chopped salad and a dip. This also means that you can go far beyond a salad and scoop it with tortilla chips or shovel it by the spoonful if you so desire.

So, not only can you get creative with flavor combinations, you can also find unique ways to serve it. If you make an Asian-style version of the dressing using Thai basil, lime juice, and a touch of sesame oil, you could totally serve this salad on top of chilled rice or soba noodles, or rolled into rice paper wrappers like a spring roll. 

Adding Latin American ingredients like avocado, cilantro, and pumpkin seeds to the dressing and jalapeño in the base would also make this salad great on top of grilled chicken tacos, on a burrito bowl, or scooped up with plantain chips. Or, take things in a Mediterranean direction with parsley and dill, and finish with some crumbled feta cheese, then eat with pita chips, or pair it with falafel and make a loaded wrap. 

The combination of this green goddess salad is refreshing, crisp, creamy, and bright, and with an endless amount of variations, it can truly be whatever you want it to be.