You are Never Helpless when You Can Help Yourself + Plant Based Oil-free Croutons

oil-free croutons

She sat on her couch and she cried.
She cried because she feels worried and scared and alone.
She cried because of the unknowns and the what-ifs.
She cried because so many people are hurting.
She cried because so many people are dying.
She cried because she felt helpless and overwhelmed.
She cried because her whole life has been turned upside down.
She sat on her couch and she cried.

She took her time. She felt all of it. She took some deep breaths. She drank a glass of water.

And then she stood up, she blew her nose, and she walked into her kitchen.
She opened her fridge and pantry, and she started pulling out ingredients – veggies, grains, and beans. Herbs and spices. Nuts and seeds.
She put on some Annie Lennox.
She took out her cutting board and she started to chop and dice and saute. She started to roast and blend and bring to pressure. She minced and peeled and grated. She stirred and whisked and simmered.

As the smell of healing food started to rise up from her kitchen, she started to feel her heaviness lift. She took a break to make a green smoothie. Her body perked up, she kept cooking. She began to loosen and she started to dance. Her shoulders dropped, her neck was free. She sang along with the music:

“Now every one of us was made to suffer
Every one of us was made to weep
But we’ve been hurting one another
And now the pain has cut too deep…
So take me from the wreckage
Save me from the blast
Lift me up and take me back
Don’t let me keep on walking…
I can’t keep on walking
I can’t keep on walking on broken glass”

When she was done cooking, she set her table, and she nourished her body with a big bowl of vegetable soup. She got up, cleaned her kitchen, and she took a hot bath before she went to bed. She relaxed into the water, knowing she was safe. Knowing that things will feel different soon. And knowing she is okay.

We don’t have control over a lot right now, but we always have control over what we cook and how we eat. Let’s cook and eat nutrient-dense foods that boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, fight free radicals, reverse type 2 diabetes, lessen inflammation, and help us maintain a healthy weight for our frame. These are the foods that will help us right now, and this is something we do have control over.

You are never helpless when you can help yourself.

When you’re ready to get off your couch and into your kitchen, we’re here to guide you, one recipe at a time.

Introducing Plant Fueled Recipes. Complete access to our whole food plant based recipe database with over 2,000 recipes and counting. Complimentary with our Plant Fueled Meal Plans or purchased as a separate subscription.

Take my hand, we got you.

Have you lost your mojo? Talk to us about it in the comments below.

oil-free croutons

Plant Based Oil-Free Croutons

Author: Molly Patrick


  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 5 pieces 100% whole wheat or sprouted grain bread, cut into crouton-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried dill AKA dill weed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • To a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and water. Give a quick stir.
  • In a separate small bowl, add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, dried dill, and salt. Whisk together.
  • Place the bread pieces into the medium-sized mixing bowl (the one with the liquid) and with your clean hands, gently massage the bread pieces so the mixture is evenly distributed. Add the spice mixture and use your hands again to thoroughly and evenly distribute the spices.
  • Place the bread pieces onto the baking sheet and spread them out in a single layer. Bake for 8 minutes and then take them out and flip the pieces over. Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes, checking on them frequently so they don’t burn. As soon as they start to look crispy, take them out of the oven to cool. Serve with your favorite salad.


Note: Using the ends of the bread works really well for this.

Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with getting in your kitchen and taking care of yourself.


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. Lourdes Raupe on April 11, 2020 at 9:21 am

    What’s the new project with your Canadian friends? Looking forward to hearing about it. All I got was the recipe for croutons, which, by-the-by, looks great!

    Or did I somehow miss something on your email?

    Love what you do for us, for humanity, for the planet!

    • Molly Patrick on April 11, 2020 at 9:29 am

      You can read all about it here!

      (It’s at the end of the blog post)

    • Alyson Armstrong on April 11, 2020 at 9:35 am

      Lourdes – the info is in the paragraph above starting with “Introducing plant fueled recipes…”. The words ‘plant based recipes’ is a link to lots of good info. ?

      • Marta on April 11, 2020 at 7:06 pm

        I wish it was a bit more straightforward. I keep clicking back and forth.
        Still pretty confused over what the big news is.

        • Molly Patrick on April 11, 2020 at 9:48 pm

          Hi Marta,
          We released our plant Fueled Recipes subscription today!
          It’s at the end of the blog post.
          You can find out all about it here:


  2. Mary on April 11, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Molly, Luanne, Carl and Magalie:
    This new access to all the recipes in one place is like a dream come true. I have dreamt of this!
    I can’t thank you enough!

    • Molly Patrick on April 11, 2020 at 9:35 am

      Awww! We are SO happy you love it!
      I hope it helps you and brings you joy.

  3. Diane on April 11, 2020 at 9:51 am

    In the midst of all this, I am moving apartments next week and ran into several difficulties. So bloody stressed out… I have been crying. I have been cooking. I think I’m over the worst now. I hope so. Anyway… if I hadn’t already packed my Annie Lennox records, I would put it on right now! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post. It’s a little balm on my heart. Will check out your recipes! 🙂

  4. Janet on April 11, 2020 at 9:51 am

    The croutons look AMAZING!!
    Two questions:

    Is stale bread best for these or is fresher, soft bread ok?

    How should I store these? Covered in the fridge or on the counter?

    Clean Food Dirty Girl rocks and your writings make me happy! ?Thank you!!! ?

    • Molly Patrick on April 11, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Hi Janet,
      Here are answers for you!

      1) these work with either stale or soft bread 🙂
      2) For best shelf life, save them covered in your fridge. Just make sure they cool completely before you put them in a container.


  5. Brenda Scott on April 11, 2020 at 10:07 am

    Thank you! Thank you! I reactivated my subscription and as I only cook for one this is exactly what I needed and I don’t miss a recipe anymore.

    • Molly Patrick on April 11, 2020 at 10:08 am

      So glad it is helpful to you!

  6. Amanda H. on April 11, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Thank you for this post today. I got to the last line and burst into tears. I HAVE lost my mojo. I promised myself when I found you all and started this WOE the end of last year that 2020 would be MY year. I would take better care of myself and feed my body well. All that fell apart a month ago… my husband lost his job, we realized cost of living here was more than we could handle. Just as things with COVID-19 began to peak he packed up and moved 2000 miles away from us to start a new job. I am now on my own juggling an increased work load from home and caring for our 3 year old, unsure when, during all this madness, we’ll be reunited as a family. There have been good and bad days… and there has been a lot of SAD food and comfort eating. I allowed myself to give up and wallow in refined sugar, greasy junk, and margaritas. I am not proud but I am only human. This post and the new changes to meal plans give me hope.
    Thank you to the whole dirty girl team for doing what you do and continuing to be an inspiration.

    • Molly Patrick on April 11, 2020 at 10:21 am


      Your situation is rough and I’m sending you lots of love.
      You have been doing the best you can – and our best changes.
      Sometimes my best is an apple with peanut butter for dinner (#AboutLastNight).
      Sometimes it’s a big beautiful salad.
      Give yourself a hug and some mercy.
      And then go eat some fruit. That’s a start.
      You will get through this!
      xo Molly

  7. erin rae on April 11, 2020 at 10:21 am

    i wrote on your facebook group last week that through this chaos, i’ve lost my boner for cooking.
    this blog post welled me up as it really hit home for me…and really inspired me.
    thank you.
    you put into words JUST what i need to focus on, and why.
    thank you.

    • Molly Patrick on April 11, 2020 at 10:46 am

      Does this mean your food bober is back?!
      You got this, my dear.

  8. Dorothy Johnstone on April 11, 2020 at 10:42 am

    I’m confused. Is the monthly price the same for the recipe access as it is for the meal planning subscription? I couldn’t find a difference. Thanks so much!

    • Molly Patrick on April 11, 2020 at 10:44 am

      Hi Dorothy,

      The Recipes section is $5 cheaper a month than the Meal Plans 😉

  9. Melissa H on April 11, 2020 at 10:59 am

    It’s like you read my mind – I was just thinking how much I love croutons in my salad and wanted some WFPB ones. Perfect timing!

    • Molly Patrick on April 11, 2020 at 11:03 am

      Ha! That’s so wild!
      These are SO yummy.

  10. Angela on April 11, 2020 at 11:01 am

    There were a couple of days this week when either I, or my partner and I, made beautiful nourishing food that came from what was in the fridge and the pantry. (And I can rarely cook without a recipe.) It felt like a luscious massage for my soul; beautiful colors, tempting scents and a real sense of connection to the earth and her power to make everything ok. We are losing our shit regularly, too. But those two meals helped, offering us the power and love from the plants a few times this week. Thanks for the consistent inspiration and encouragement (and total lack of judgement), Molly and team! You make the world a better place.

    • Molly Patrick on April 11, 2020 at 11:06 am

      I could just hug you, Angela!
      Thank you for sharing.
      Food nourishes us in many, many ways.
      We’re all in this together and we will get through this.

  11. Mindy on April 11, 2020 at 11:06 am

    If you sign up for annual recipe option and you later want to convert to full subscription, can you just adjust the cost to convert?

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl - Steph on April 11, 2020 at 11:23 am

      Hi Mindy!

      You’re free to change subscriptions at any time. We pro-rate the charges depending on whether your cost goes up or down. We do this by moving your next billing date according to the difference in prices between the two subscriptions. We have an algorithm that calculates this and lets you know what your new billing date will be when you confirm the change in your subscription.

      If you have more questions about this, feel free to email us at [email protected].

      Booty bump!

  12. Michelle on April 11, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    You must have felt those like me that have been close to the edge of reverting back to that old way of eating. It’s been getting harder to stuck with wfpb especially since I’m the only one in the house who wants to eat this way. I was afraid this would be the week I stepped off the edge, but after reading this email alone, I’m rejuvenated and can’t wait to look at the new platform. Thank you!

    • Molly Patrick on April 11, 2020 at 9:53 pm

      You GOT this!
      Now is not the time to give up! Now is the time to CHARGE up with plants!!
      For yourself, for your family.
      Who cares what everyone else eats, this is about what YOU eat!
      Lots of love and nudging headed your way, my dear.

  13. Ruth on April 11, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Hi, this all sounds wonderful, but I rarely have the discipline to follow a recipe, and don’t have the budget to subscribe, but I love to read the recipes for inspiration. Will you still have recipes available on the website, or is the only way to access any CFDG recipes is to pay for them? And how will this change affect the Saturday Fuckeries?
    Love you and all the dirties.

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on April 11, 2020 at 5:50 pm

      Hi Ruth – Thanks for the love! Our free blog recipes are not going anywhere and will continue to be released each week! Same for the Fuckeries 🙂 ~Karen

    • Molly Patrick on April 11, 2020 at 9:54 pm

      Hi Ruth,
      The Saturday Fuckeries and the free blog recipes aren’t going anywhere!

      • Ruth on April 12, 2020 at 9:35 am

        Hi Karen and Molly,
        Thanks for the clarification. I’m happy about this.

        • Molly Patrick on April 13, 2020 at 11:48 am

          You got it!

  14. Marian on April 12, 2020 at 8:37 am

    If you have a meal plan subscription, do you get access to the recipes too, or would that be two separate subscriptions?

    • Molly Patrick on April 13, 2020 at 11:48 am

      Hi Marian,
      When you sign up for the Meal Plans subscription you have automatic access to the Recipes subscrition as well.
      It’s the best of both worlds 🙂

  15. Nadine on April 12, 2020 at 9:49 am

    This would only be recipes and more then we can find on the blog? We won’t be getting the meal plan without batching? I unsubscribed because I don’t batch and it was not easy to put a recipe together . I was hoping for a meal plan where you had the choice of batching or just a meal plan with only recipes . I guess it’s not possible to make everyone happy right?lol

    • Lu on April 12, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      This is from the website. It looks like all the recipes needed to make the meals are there, just not organized like the meal plan is. So you can see what recipes are needed for the meal all in one place. For instance, this week is Kick Ass Kidney Bean and Rice Bowl. Instead of separate batching recipes for the beans and the rice and the sauce, all those are in the one main recipe.

      “Do you like the idea of our weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans, but don’t like to batch cook?

      All of our Meal Plan recipes are included when you sign up for our Plant Fueled Recipes, so you never have to miss out on the yums.”

      Does this help?

      • Lu on April 12, 2020 at 5:19 pm

        BTW – I don’t batch either, so this is great having them all in 1 place. Plus, if I ever want just the beans or the sauce, that standalone recipe is there too!

        • Molly Patrick on April 13, 2020 at 11:49 am

          Yes! Exactly right!
          So happy you dig it 🙂

    • Molly Patrick on April 13, 2020 at 11:47 am

      Hi Nadine,
      It’s different from the blog because you can pick what recipes you want, scale the portion for each recipe, and create your own custom grocery list. After that you can follow the recipes, so yes, the Recipes only subscription does what you want it to do 😉

      You can always sign up for one month and test it out.

  16. kathy on April 13, 2020 at 7:54 am

    Thank you for adding the Recipe feature to the already-awesome-new-Classroom! I usually have one (or more) recipes from each week that I lovelovelove (like those artichoke stuff shells!) but didn’t keep track of and didn’t want to review the recipes from each week to find them again.

    • Molly Patrick on April 13, 2020 at 11:44 am

      Awesome! I’m so glad you like it.
      Yes, those Stuffed Shells are INSANE!

  17. Sam on April 14, 2020 at 5:12 am

    Hi Molly,
    We thank our lucky stars every day that we happened to find this WOE before the pandemic started. My husband was in a high risk group due to his type 2 diabetes and hypertension. He also had liver problems and they were threatening to biopsy his liver. In November we cut out meat and dairy, and in January we found your website, signed up and have never looked back. His HbA1c improved for the first time in 8 years, to normal non-diabetic levels. His BP is controlled on half his former medication. He has lost 28lbs and no longer needs a liver biopsy. Today he stopped his diabetes meds, and fingers crossed won’t need them again. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to you and your team, you are inspirational and amazing. Keep going, you are putting so much good out into the world.

    • Molly Patrick on April 14, 2020 at 12:02 pm

      This is so freaking awesome! I am overjoyed for you and your husband.
      Isn’t it amazing what changing the diet can do for the human body?
      Way to dive in and trust the process!
      I’m doing a happy dance for you right NOW!

      • Sam on April 16, 2020 at 7:45 am

        Thank you! I am so amazed by what has been possible – as a doctor I was formerly a bit hesitant about the idea of a plant based diet and its potential for such an impact on health – and he has tried a load of different diets over the years – but never been able to stick to one – he just loves his food. That is what is so flipping amazing about the CFDG recipes – my (formerly) committed carnivore hubby loves them, and comments that this really isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle, and a lifestyle he’s very happy to keep to. And the results speak for themselves. I’m a convert!

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