I Broke My Own Rule + THE Plant Based Smoky Gouda Cheese Sauce Recipe


As a general rule… I do what I say and I say what I do.

Before I commit to something, I always make certain that I have the want, the time and the bandwidth to do it. This goes for a trip out of the country or lunch with a friend. If I don’t want to do it, if I don’t have time to do it, or if I can’t do it for whatever reason, I have no problem saying no.

This used to be really hard for me. It’s gotten easier with practice.

What I’ve learned is, most people beat themselves up for saying no FAR more than the person receiving the no. Most people completely understand if you say no, but they aren’t as understanding if you say yes and then you don’t follow through. So if you know you can’t do something, or if you think it’s a stretch, fuck it – say no and move on.

Now, all this said, there are times when we have the best intentions to do something and we jump the gun and say yes before we think it through all the way.

Case in point:

Last month, I said yes to creating a Clean Food Dirty Girl Sauce E-Book with some of our most popular plant based sauce recipes. I said yes because our private Facebook group is filled with awesome #SauceWhores who REALLY want this book.

I knew I was busy.
I knew it was going to be a stretch.
But I said yes anyway.

About a week into the project I knew I had prematurely sauced.

Here’s what happened. The more I worked on the sauce book, the more it became like an onion, and the layers of potential kept unfolding. See, I was going to do a quick little ebook with 25 sauce recipes and call it good. The thing is, I have WAAAAAY more than 25 sauces that are deserving of being in a book. I also have a TON of recipes to slather these nommy sauces over.

I have oodles of helpful tips about creating your own sauces. I have recommendations on the best blenders to buy – and why. I have important information about tahini and the best way to store your nuts (not those type of nuts, you dirty girl). Point is, I realized that my sauce book and the people using my sauce book (because they will be users) deserve more time and focus than I am able to give it right now.

So I made the decision to put it on hold until I can make sweet love to it and have the outcome of the book match how I envision it. This might mean finding an agent and pitching it to publishers. This might mean hiring an additional person to help me with recipes and meal plans so that I have more time and focus to give to this project. This might mean hiring another person to help with our day to day business.

Right now, I’m not exactly sure what it means or how it will unfold. But just like everything else in my life, if it’s something I want, the first step is to imagine it and play with it in my brain. The second step is to KNOW that it’s possible. The third step is to let that shit go, wait for the universe to open doors, and let the manifesting begin (along with a shitload of work).

In the meantime (for all of you #SauceWhore wannabes), our weekly meal plans have heavenly sauces in them Every. Single. Week. (both new sauces and classics that deserve repeating). So if you love sauces and dressings, jump on the plans for just $20 a month. You’ll get a new meal plan every Friday that includes a detailed grocery list, instructions for your batch cooking day, and how to throw everything together for easy and delicious dinners throughout the week (you’ll also have plenty of food for lunches throughout the week. Your body will thrive and your inner #SauceWhore will be very happy.

If you know me at all, you know I’ll squeeze a lesson out of anything for you.

This week’s lesson…

say no more often

It’s freeing. It’s empowering. It’s self preserving. And oftentimes it opens doors to much better things that your whole mind, body and soul will SCREAM yes to.

Do you have a problem saying no? Talk to me in the comments below.

As a token of my appreciation for understanding my sauce book debacle, I present to you our famous Whole Food Plant Based Smoky Gouda Cheesy Sauce. This is the sauce that our meal planners  have been raving about since it came out back in April.  Enjoy it and know that the Dirty Sauce Book will happen… one day. And when it does, it will be beautiful and well worth the wait.

Whole Food Plant Based Smoky Gouda Cheesy Sauce

Author: Molly Patrick


Instant Pot Ingredients

  • ½ cup yellow onion diced (70g)
  • 1 zucchini chopped (about 1 1/2 cups / 195g)
  • ½ cup daikon chopped (75g)
  • 1 small-ish head of cauliflower cut into chunks (about 4 cups / 335g)
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and left whole
  • 1 ½ cups water 355ml
  • ½ cup raw cashews soaked in water for at least 10 minutes (65g)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast 20g
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ume plum vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar

Stove Top Ingredients

  • ½ cup yellow onion diced (70g)
  • 1 zucchini chopped (about 1 1/2 cups / 195g)
  • ½ cup daikon chopped (75g)
  • 1 small-ish head of cauliflower cut into chunks (about 4 cups / 335g)
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and left whole
  • 1 ½ cups water divided (355ml)
  • ½ cup raw cashews soaked in water for at least 10 minutes (65g)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast 20g
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ume plum vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar


Instant Pot Directions

  • Place all of the ingredients into your Instant Pot and lock the lid into place, making sure the nozzle is in the sealing position.
  • Use the manual setting and set the timer for 3 minutes. Use the natural release method when the timer is up.
  • When all of the pressure is out of the pot, take off the lid and allow to cool for about 10 - 15 minutes, and then transfer the mixture to your blender and blend until super creamy and smooth, about 2 full minutes. You may have to blend this in batches.

Stove Top Directions

  • Place the onion, zucchini, daikon, cauliflower and garlic into a medium-sized pot, cover with 1 cup of water (235ml) and simmer for 15 minutes over medium heat with the lid on.
  • After 15 minutes, allow to cool for about 15 minutes and then transfer everything from the pot (including the remaining liquid) to your blender.
  • Drain and discard the water from the cashews and add the cashews to the blender, along with the nutritional yeast, salt, smoked paprika, ume plum vinegar, brown rice vinegar, and the additional 1/2 cup of water (120ml).
  • Blend until the sauce is super creamy and smooth, about 2 full minutes.


This sauce is orgasmic on just about anything, but my fave is spooning it over a baked sweet potato, loaded with steamed broccoli.

Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with saying no when you need to. May it also be filled with Gouda Sauce.


Get a weekly dose of inspiration to eat more plants and celebrate imperfection

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


  1. Jo on July 21, 2017 at 9:35 am

    This is so good! I didn’t tell my husband it was all vegetables. I just told him it was no guilt cheese sauce. He commented several times on how good it tasted. He ate it with homemade oven fried and steamed broccoli. Thank you so mI have for this awesome treat!

  2. Molly on July 22, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Is there anything that I can sub the cashews for? I always want to make these yummy recipes but my daughter can’t eat cashews. Thanks!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on July 22, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Yes – in any of our sauces you can sub the cashews for an equal amount of white beans (any variety) or firm tofu.

      • Joy on October 9, 2018 at 1:04 pm

        Thank you! We have a cashew&soy-allergy kid, too, so the bean suggestion helps! Looking forward to trying!!

      • Kristin on May 3, 2021 at 9:17 am

        I cannot have nutritional yeast and so many of these recipes call for it. All of the umami flavors ( nutritional yeast, miso, etc) are a gastric nightmare for me. I have been just skipping those recipes, but geez – I’m missing out! Can I just not include the nutritional yeast and have a halfway decent chance at a tasty outcome?

        • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl - Steph on May 3, 2021 at 9:45 am

          Hi Kristin,

          Yes! You can absolutely leave out nutritional yeast and still have everything come out yummy. The flavor will be different, of course, but our recipes are very forgiving. I would recommend leaving out any problematic ingredients, blending it up as it says in the instructions, and then tasting it still in the blender. If it needs anything to your palate, you can add it then and blend again. If you’re missing that umami flavor, garlic powder, onion powder, or salty ingredients can help with that.

          Happy eating!

    • Nathalie on July 27, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      5 stars
      I didn’t have enough cashews and subbed pine nuts. OMG! So fucking good!

  3. Luna on September 29, 2017 at 7:42 am

    How is nutritional yeast a whole food? And vinegar? Confused

  4. Sara on July 5, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Can I sub in more zucchini for the 1/2 cup of daikon? Or more cauliflower? For some reason every grocery store near me is out of daikon right now (ugh!) but I’m eager to make this since I have all the other ingredients on hand. Thanks!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on July 6, 2018 at 6:03 am

      Hi Sara! Either zucchini or cauliflower should work here. ~Karen

  5. Ashley on August 12, 2018 at 6:56 am

    5 stars
    This was delicious! I used pumpkin seeds instead of cashews and it came out really good. I’m about to make this recipe a second time today – definitely want to make it part of my regular rotation!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on August 12, 2018 at 7:54 am

      Hi Ashley, thanks for stopping back to share your modification and the result! I’m sure this will be helpful to someone with a cashew allergy. Enjoy batch #2. ~Karen

  6. Marcy on March 15, 2019 at 6:35 am

    About how long will this be good if kept in the fridge? Does it freeze well at all?

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on March 15, 2019 at 8:20 am

      Hi Marcy, It should stay good for 5-6 days. Yes, it will freeze just fine, you just may need to stir or re-blend upon thaw. ~Karen

  7. Lynn on April 13, 2019 at 7:01 am

    What is your take on the natural “toxic” coating on cashews (even organic) that requires multiple soakings, rinses, etc.?

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on April 16, 2019 at 12:18 pm

      Hi Lynn, The toxic coating you are referring is a gooey liquid layer, made up of different chemicals including anacardic acids (which are a derivative of salicylic acid – used for acne), that is located in between an inner skin (testa) and outer shell of the cashew.

      Apparently, the processing of cashews can leave small but detectable residues of the liquid on the cashews. There was an outbreak of dermatitis in 1982 in Pennsylvania from improperly processed cashews.

      Cashews undergo a series of variable steps depending on where they are processed to remove this inedible part. It could be that cashews processed one way end up with less residue than cashews processed in other ways. I’m not finding any current literature on cashew toxicity related to modern processing other than toxicity to the actual humans who shell cashews by hand and that’s because they are coming into contact with the liquid and may not be wearing gloves.

      The majority of our meal plan recipes that call for cashews involve soaking them and then dumping the water before using them in recipes. This process should further reduce any leftover residue that might be present.

      Definitely talk to your doctor if you feel like cashews bother you or cause itching in your mouth so you can be monitored for an allergy. ~Karen

  8. Aimee Swartz on October 10, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Did the sauce book ever happen?

  9. Deb on October 12, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    I have tried several not-cheese sauces, and this is by far my favourite! Use it on pasta, and pizza. Great recipe! Thanks ?

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on October 13, 2019 at 10:40 am

      Oh yes, it’s versatile. So glad you like it. Thanks for stopping by, Deb! ~Karen

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