Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Panini

How do you like that – GREEN grilled cheese for St. Patrick’s Day! I made these sandwiches in homage to the salad dressing wonder that is the Green Goddess.

Bursting with bright, fresh green herbs and kicked up with the bold flavors of garlic and anchovies, Green Goddess salad dressing has been making a bit of a comeback in recent years. It was first created at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco back in the 1920’s. Now it’s once again popping up at restaurants, being bottled commercially by brands like Kraft and Annie’s Naturals as well as making the rounds of the food blogs. As I toyed with ideas for making green panini for St. Patrick’s Day it finally struck me to invent a grilled cheese version of this big-flavored classic.

Yes, I said invent. Googling Green Goddess Grilled Cheese did not turn up one single mention of anyone else ever having created this sandwich before. And who said there are no new ideas left in food?

Chopping all the fresh herbs

The green color in Green Goddess dressing, as well as in this grilled cheese version, all comes from a profusion of fresh herbs. Parsley, tarragon, cilantro and basil – plus some lime zest – are pulsed along with garlic and anchovies. If you go in for a taste at this stage in the game be prepared for a seriously concentrated flavor blast. It’s probably best to wait until you mix in the cheeses, when all that bold, fresh flavor is distributed amongst the creamy and tangy cream cheese, sharp cheddar and mozzarella.

Getting all melty

I chose the cheeses in this sandwich for both their flavors and melting qualities. Cream cheese and sharp cheddar both have that tangy-ness that you normally would get from the vinegar in the salad dressing. Meanwhile, melted mozzarella stretches like nothing else. The combination of the three gave just the right balance I wanted. Of course, I wouldn’t dream of honoring a San Francisco classic in sandwich form without sourdough bread. Once you brush olive oil on the outside and grill it it’s just like a crouton, which works perfectly when we’re dealing with a salad dressing theme.

This sandwich came out exactly as I’d hoped – bold Green Goddess flavors, creamy stretch grilled cheese and GREEN. Keep a breath mint at the ready and give this one a try!

Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Panini

Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Panini

Inspired by the Green Goddess Dressing recipe by Molly Wizenberg in Bon Appétit, May 2009

Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 15 min | Total time: 30 min

Yield: 4-6 panini


  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 oil-packed anchovy, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest (about 1 lime)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into smaller cubes
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 8-12 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Add garlic and anchovies to a mini-prep food processor and pulse for a few seconds until it’s really finely chopped, almost like a paste (if you don’t have a food processor, you can always just chop the ingredients really well with a knife on a cutting board).
  2. Add in the lime zest, parsley, tarragon, cilantro, basil, shallot, mustard and cream cheese and pulse again until well blended. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and stir in the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.
  3. Preheat the panini grill to medium-high heat.
  4. For each sandwich: Spread a generous amount of the cheese mixture onto one slice of bread. Close the sandwich with a second slice of bread. Brush a little olive oil on top. Grill for 5 to 6 minutes until the cheese is melted and oozy and the bread is toasted. Serve immediately and enjoy!



KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. I’ve never had Green Goddess salad dressing, but the sandwich looks right up my alley!

    Posted 3.15.11 Reply
  2. What a fantastic idea! That filling sounds amazing!

    Posted 3.15.11 Reply
  3. Marly wrote:

    I could definitely go for a vegan version of this green sandwich! Looks delicious!

    Posted 3.15.11 Reply
  4. OMG, I am drooling. (And I can’t quite believe I typed OMG, but it seemed to capture the feeling when I saw that photo.)

    Posted 3.15.11 Reply
  5. This sounds amazing, Kathy!

    Posted 3.15.11 Reply
  6. I’m ALL over this inventive recipe, Kathy. Homemade green goddess is my go-to salad dressing, and cheese is my favorite savory food. I’m making this for lunch … today!

    Posted 3.16.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      That’s awesome, Barbara!! I hope you like it! 🙂

      Posted 3.16.11 Reply
  7. Fantastic idea! I love Green Goddess Dressing, but would have never thought to use it as a basic of inspiration for a panini. Perfect for St. Patty’s Day… or any day, really.

    Posted 3.16.11 Reply
  8. oh my goodness, this sounds and look so good! Way to go inventing a new grilled cheese – can’t wait to try it! 🙂

    Posted 3.16.11 Reply
  9. Erin wrote:

    You continue to astound me with your creative sandwich creations! This one has my heart going “pitter patter” and my stomach growling.

    Posted 3.16.11 Reply
  10. ciara wrote:

    i love green goddess dressing, but somehow i missed that it had anchovies. i guess that’s like caesar dressing, no? i thing the panini looks delicious, but i’d prob omit the anchovies hehe :o)

    Posted 3.16.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      You’ve got to keep the anchovies in! 🙂 I swear to you it’s not the slightest least bit fishy tasting. It just adds a kind of briny-ness that makes the Green Goddess so good (yes, just like a Caesar).

      Posted 3.16.11 Reply
  11. Oh that looks like HEAVEN! I am so making that for dinner tomorrow! Happy St. Pattys!!

    Posted 3.16.11 Reply
  12. Maria wrote:

    I want this for lunch!

    Posted 3.16.11 Reply
  13. Jana wrote:

    I love everything about this–the profusion of herbs, the combination of cheeses, the crispy sourdough. Awesome. Thank you!

    Posted 3.16.11 Reply
  14. This would be perfect for St. Paddy’s Day, what with the glorious color. But I bet it’s so tasty that we’ll want to eat it every day of the week.

    Posted 3.16.11 Reply
  15. Aggie wrote:

    This has got to be one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever seen!!

    Posted 3.17.11 Reply
  16. This looks great! And so creative, too!

    Posted 3.17.11 Reply
  17. Emma wrote:

    Wow this sounds so utterly flavour-packed and yet oozing and comforting! Green Goddess dressing isn’t something that really exists here in the UK, but it sounds delicious!

    Posted 3.18.11 Reply
  18. Eva wrote:

    That looks AWESOME. Seriously, I will have to make this asap because I’m about to eat my screen right now.

    Posted 3.18.11 Reply
  19. Julie M. wrote:

    Kathy, you’ve done it this time. this seriously looks like heaven on a slice of bread. Just gorgeous!

    Posted 3.19.11 Reply
  20. Megan wrote:

    It sounds so fresh and delicious. What a fun sandwich this would be to serve on St. Patty’s Day!

    Posted 3.19.11 Reply
  21. Memoria wrote:

    My mom loves Green Goddess dressing. I sent her the link straight away! Thanks!

    Posted 3.20.11 Reply
  22. I too have been noticing that Green Goddess is coming back. I hate to be a contrarian, but I didn’t love it all that much the first time, so I’m trouble getting excited about its return. A GG grilled cheese, though? That I can get excited about.

    Posted 3.21.11 Reply
  23. Awesome panini! Totally awesome. I’ve always loved Green Goddess dressing and I’m so glad it’s making a comeback lately. Great way to use it in a panini.

    Posted 3.24.11 Reply
  24. Kristen wrote:

    Oh my goodness gracious – what a delicious, delicious looking sandwich!

    Posted 3.31.11 Reply
  25. I never would have thought of this combination! It’s gorgeous.

    Posted 4.7.11 Reply
  26. This looks amazing!!! What a great idea!

    Posted 6.12.11 Reply
  27. lily wrote:

    Yum! Made this for my Aunt and she loooooved it! So easy and great comfort food.

    Posted 8.30.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      I’m so glad, Lily!

      Posted 8.30.11 Reply
  28. laura wrote:

    Although this looks absolutely delicious and I am really excited to try some of your other recipes… this is not a vegetarian dish since it has anchovies in it. I have been a vegetarian for 8 years and I definitely can’t eat this with those in there.

    Posted 11.15.11 Reply
    • laura wrote:

      Sorry didn’t mean to include that web address at the end.

      Posted 11.15.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Sorry, Laura – forgot about the anchovies. I may need to create a general “Grilled Cheese” category instead.

      Posted 11.15.11 Reply
      • laura wrote:

        I am sure it will be just as delicious without them for all the veggies out there! Keep up the good work! I just bought a panini grill and will be trying out tons of your recipes! Thanks so much for sharing!

        Posted 11.15.11 Reply
  29. Kris wrote:

    wow. these flavors are genius, and it looks delectable!

    Posted 1.3.12 Reply
  30. Oh yum! I love the idea! This looks so delicious.

    Posted 1.3.12 Reply
  31. Liz wrote:

    Wow, how gooey and DELICIOUS!

    Posted 1.4.12 Reply
  32. I love Goddess Salad Dressing, but I must admit I’ve never tried their Green version… that’s definitely going on the list of things to check out at the store. I love the colors used in this recipe… what an absolutely perfect combination!

    Posted 1.21.12 Reply
  33. This looks amazing! What a great way to liven up grilled cheese 🙂

    Posted 3.1.12 Reply
  34. Janet wrote:

    Your recipe looks totally yummy and I look forward to making it. However, isn’t grilled cheese more or less a vegetarian standby? It seems lately every vegetable, or non meat food is being prepared with some meat or stock. I’d keep this pure and omit the stinky anchovies .

    Posted 1.14.13 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      It’s totally up to you how you’d like to prepare it! Grilled cheese, as I know it, isn’t strictly vegetarian. Anchovies are a traditional component of Green Goddess dressing, which is why I included them (I also happen to be a fan of anchovies :-)).

      Posted 1.14.13 Reply
  35. Alex wrote:

    All I can say is OMG!!! I can NOT wait to try this!

    Posted 2.27.13 Reply