How to Find Your Joy in Eating + Plant Based Cheddar Sauce (nut free)


One of the many benefits of switching to a whole food plant based diet is finding joy in eating.

Our bodies are designed to EAT. We need to eat, we want to eat. Yet many people experience guilt and shame around eating, or they feel deprived and cut off from food. Especially when it comes to comfort food like cheese. This is exactly why there’s a plant based cheddar sauce recipe below for you.

First of all, there is no wrong or right way to eat. There are no bad foods or good foods. And for the love of hummus, let’s never use the word compliant unless your career is in the field of quality control.

There are foods that help the body thrive, and there are foods that do not. Science and real life has shown that whole plant foods help the body thrive and animal based foods and processed foods do not.

There’s a lot of people who are afraid of carbs and lectins and soy and protein and calcium and anti-nutrients and enzyme prohibitors and what the fuck is nutritional yeast?

But let’s take a deep breath. There are also people who think the earth is flat.
And, we’re breathing.

When you start eating more plants and less of everything else, the body starts to wake up. You start feeling energized. More clear headed. More focused. Less achy. Less lethargic. Guys will notice their dude parts working better. Ladies will notice less period cramps and PMS each month. Cholesterol and blood pressure start to lower. Blood sugar starts to regulate better. All of these changes are the body bringing itself back into balance.

There is no better feeling than loving the food you eat and having it love you right back.

And when you eat food that is super tasty AND helps your body thrive, that’s exactly what happens. Your relationship with food and eating comes full circle and like any healthy relationship, both parties are actively involved in creating a beautiful and lasting bond.

There is no more deprivation (because if you’re hungry, just eat!), there is no more shame and guilt (because when you make this switch, you start to develop and nurture love and compassion for yourself), you start to feel empowered, and you find unexpected, unadulterated, raw JOY in eating. And in return, your health is supported and sustained.

Our bodies are designed to eat.
We need to eat.
We want to eat.

So my dear, are you ready to unapologetically give yourself a free pass to experience JOY in eating?

No more overcomplicating it.
No more waiting until next month.
No more feeling guilty about eating potatoes or plant based cheddar cheese for that matter.
No more being afraid of tofu.
No more depriving your body of the fuel it was designed for.
No more stressing over carbs, fat, and protein.
No more beating yourself up for not doing it “right.”
No more setting perfect as your goal.
No more categorizing food into good and bad.

Eat whole plant foods when you’re hungry and stop before you feel stuffed.

Put that jam on repeat and let your body move to THAT groove. 

We only get to be in our human skin for so long, and if your relationship with food and eating is anything less than healthy and joyful, it’s time to lovingly take note and try something new.

Now go make this plant based cheddar sauce below.

Do you have a healthy, joyful relationship with food or does it feel cold and one-sided? Talk to us in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.

Plant Based Cheddar Sauce (Nut-free)

Makes 3 cups
Author: Molly Patrick


  • cup nutritional yeast (25 g)
  • cup raw (shelled) sunflower seeds (50 g)
  • cup old-fashioned rolled oats (40 g)
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon regular paprika (not smoked)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 ½ cups water (590 ml)
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper (35 g)
  • ½ tablespoon coconut aminos


  • To your blender, add the nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, rolled oats, tapioca starch, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, mustard powder, paprika and turmeric powder. Process until it becomes a fine powder, about 20 seconds.
  • Add the water, red bell pepper and coconut aminos to the blender and process until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Cook for 7 – 10 minutes, stirring often. It will slowly become thicker and thicker. As this happens, begin to stir constantly until it’s thick and gooey.
  • Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, then promptly store in your fridge.

Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with finding JOY in eating.


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Our Sweary Saturday Love Letters are written by our ex-boozer, ex-smoker, plant-loving co-founder, Molly Patrick.


  1. Julia on April 6, 2019 at 10:03 am

    “We only get to be in our human skin for so long, and if your relationship with food and eating is anything less than healthy and joyful, it’s time to lovingly take note and try something new.”

    Wow, wow, wow…..wish I had discovered this before I abused my body with diet after diet, and a lifetime of unhealthy food after unhealthy choices.

    These powerful words will be my new mantra.

    • Annette on April 6, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      Right there with you, Julia!

  2. Mary Lou on April 6, 2019 at 10:19 am

    The cheese recipe looks great only I can’t eat red pepper. Will it make a difference or should I add more of certain spices like smoked paprika. Always wonder if the flavor changes much when I leave out bell peppers. TIA

    • Molly Patrick on April 6, 2019 at 11:18 am

      Hi Mary Lou,
      You can leave out the pepper, no problem! Or you could add another veggie.
      It’s mainly added for the color.

  3. Crystal on April 6, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Oh, my gosh! All of this has been the BEST part of going WFPB! I eat beautiful delicious food, guilt-free, whenever I’m hungry and I don’t weigh or count or measure. What freedom this felt like beginning the very first week! I expected to lose weight, I expected my blood pressure and heart rate would drop…and all that happened (and continues to.) I did not expect that eating this way would COMPLETELY transform my relationship with food. I did not expect to be able to savor every delicious bite, and then just stop eating when I was pleasantly full. I didn’t expect that I could have a snack in the afternoon if I felt hungry and not fear it would trigger a binge. It is truly as if my body is saying to me, “I have been waiting to be nourished like this for my entire life.” That change in relationship was not from a struggle on my part…it was a healing that took place from the food itself. Thank you for helping me along on this journey. Today’s words were written by you, but it was as if I was reading my own thoughts!

  4. Peggy on April 6, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Hey Molly, love this post! Re:’recipe, do you think this sauce would work well over some brown rice elbow macaroni? I was going to make that today, and if so, I might try this cheese instead of the one from your mac & cheese recipe.

    • Anne on June 24, 2019 at 12:07 pm

      Holi-macaronni Batman, that sounds like a great idea!!

  5. Lesley Nicol on April 6, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Hello, thank you for wonderful words of wisdom. Never made “cheese” sauce before but this recipe looks uncomplicated so I will give it a try. Have never bought nutritional yeast before but it seems to be a necessary ingredient in every “cheese” sauce recipe I have seen. My questions please are: How long will it keep in the fridge, and to use I am assuming it’s a simple matter of just reheating? Thank you and all the best in all of your new developments.

    • Molly Patrick on April 6, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      It will keep for about a week in the fridge and you can freeze it for much longer.
      Yup, just heat it up in a pot!
      Try it out and let me know what you think.

      • Sonoma on September 18, 2021 at 5:27 pm

        5 stars
        Holy Cow, Batman!!! I have been vegan/forks over knives for quite a long time. I have tried many cheesy sauces but this one takes the cake!!! Between the oatmeal and the tapioca flour this has the very real mouthfeel of a real cheesy sauce, but better because it’s not, eh?!!!! Thank you soooo much?

        • Team Dirty - Brittany on September 18, 2021 at 9:40 pm

          Holy cow, or holy plants, is right! We are thrilled you love the sauce. Thank YOU for sharing the love!

  6. Suzanne on April 6, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Wow this looks delicious. I can’t wait to give it a try. I m one of those people that fall off the wagon all the time! I tell myself that I’m going to get back into plant eating and I get as far as making a huge salad but end up adding chicken. I guess the good news is that I’m starting to really dislike the texture of meats. I m really hoping to make full transition soon and that’s getting me excited.

  7. Annie on April 6, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    5 stars
    This cheese sauce was perfect! Looking to reduce the amount of nuts that go in my pie-hole so this truly hit the spot. Easy to throw together with some pasta and broccoli for a hearty meal after working in the yard today! Many thanks:)

    • Molly Patrick on April 6, 2019 at 5:23 pm

      Fantastic! So glad you enjoyed it.
      It’s crazy how easy it is to whip up.

  8. Mary on April 9, 2019 at 3:17 am

    What can I substitute sunflower seeds for, I get a reaction from them but would like to try this recipe. Thanks, great blog!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on April 9, 2019 at 7:13 am

      Hi Mary, Cashews will work nicely here. ~Karen

  9. Fiona Manoon on April 20, 2019 at 12:43 am

    Thanks for this amazing healthy and tasty recipe.
    My family loved it.

  10. Julia on April 24, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Thank you! This is exactly the message I needed today. I was developing a great relationship with food and then I started back up on myfitnesspal and the joy was gone. I’m sure it’s a great tool for some people, but mentally it’s not good for me. And oddly enough, I gained 6 lbs in a month whereas I was maintaining and feeling great when I was just eating lots of plants, no restrictions. So I am choosing joy again!
    P.S. The word compliant around our food really grates my nerves!

  11. Douglas R Mosier on June 11, 2019 at 8:53 am

    Sigh. I really just need to stop hoping for/expecting the same taste as the neon yellow-orange glop from a Kraft boxed dinner and appreciate these “chezz” (my term for them) sauces for what they are; a nice sauce to wrap around macaroni and pour over stuff. I think it’s the nooch. Much like with coffee, I really like the smell of it in the container you buy it in, but once you cook it? BLECH! (although with coffee it takes a lot less of the cooked product to get to the “blech” stage, haha.) It was the same with the sauce for the scalloped potatoes in the free meal plan: when I was expecting “cheese” I was very disappointed, but when I put that out of my mind, it was a pleasant dining experience. Maybe one day!

    • Molly Patrick on June 11, 2019 at 4:08 pm

      Hi Douglas,
      You are so right! I wrote a post about just that. I think you will enjoy it.
      Here’s the link.
      This is a journey and good for you for starting the trip!

  12. Jennifer Smit on July 7, 2019 at 7:56 am

    5 stars
    I decided to try this version of the cheesy sauce to go with my rice bowl and it is amazing! Thank you so much for putting ingredients together that is so delicious!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on July 7, 2019 at 8:59 am

      Oh yeah! Thanks for sharing Jennifer! ~Karen

  13. Nyuki Shotts on September 22, 2019 at 5:43 am

    Would it be possible to use another kind of starch,if you don’t have tapioca on hand? Thanks for all the yummy inspiration!

    • Joanne on September 23, 2019 at 6:48 am

      Hi Nyuki! We have a great substitution guide with many ideas to sub out items in our recipes. It looks like brown rice flour would be the closest thing. There is a note that brown rice flour won’t work as well in cheesy recipes as it will not give that ooey gooey pull. Here is a link to our guide so you have it on hand:
      When the link opens click on “substituion guide” and an Excel spreadsheet will open. You can find tapioca flour under the “packaged ingredients” tab. I hope this helps!

  14. sarah on October 2, 2019 at 7:50 am

    I’m blown away by this post…it’s just what I needed to read today. I’ve gotten into a bad place with food over the past few years. I gained weight during pregnancies and in the process of trying to lose it I tried several diets that have really warped my sense of what is healthy (I’m looking at you, Keto Diet!), and I find myself very torn about what to eat!

    • Molly Patrick on October 2, 2019 at 11:04 am

      I know it can be so confusing!
      I’m glad this post did something for you, my dear.

      Here are a few more posts you might enjoy.




      If you haven’t yet, join our private Facebook group, because well, you must! It’s the best group on the planet.

      And lastly, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! I know all about being overwhelmed by food.


  15. MamaTree on November 17, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    5 stars
    Mama of little food-allergy-kid here. Was delighted to find plant-based, nut-free sauce. Great texture. Had to omit the garlic powder & coconut aminos (allergens); added a few drops of low-sodium soy sauce to my serving (kiddo can’t have soy). Used roasted sunflower seeds because that’s what was in the pantry; suspect using raw seeds next time, as written, is better for this sauce’s flavor. Will try again later & report back, subbing in a spoonful of chickpea miso for the aminos in next batch. Thank you so much for sharing this deliciousness. xo

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