Want the perfect way to use your fall apples this year? Try my easy healthy apple crisp recipe, it's simply the best tasting dessert for Thanksgiving or any family holiday gathering. My version of a healthy apple crisp is vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free made with gluten-free oats and flour.
This healthy apple crisp is perfect to enjoy for Thanksgiving or any holiday gathering.
It was inspired by my grandmother's apple pie recipe. I am still working on recreating that recipe for you. In the meantime, you can be inspired my my simple and delicious crisp apple pie smoothie recipe or my paleo apple pie bites recipe.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS HEALTHY APPLE CRISP RECIPE
- Healthy Dessert for a Gathering - Simple to prepare and tastes like it took hours to make.
- Great Source of Fiber - Delicious way to add more fiber into a yummy dessert.
- Vitamin & Minerals - Apples contain potassium, vitamin C, boron, copper, and vitamin B6.
- Gut Healthy Recipe - Pectin, a fiber found in apples acts like a prebiotic, which is food for your good bacteria in the microbiome.
What Makes This Apple Crisp Healthy?
For starters, apple crisp is great dessert idea to get more fiber into your diet. Let's break down how I made a traditional apple crisp healthy.
I swapped out regular flour for gluten-free flour. This is the best option for people with celiac diease or are gluten intolerant. There are many gluten-free options available but I personally love the brand by King Arthur. I used their measure for measure flour because it makes all your baking swaps simple.
Whole rolled oats are fiber rich and also naturally gluten-free. However, some facilities prepare other items on the same machinery, so I also look for certified gluten-free oats like Bob's Red Mill.
I chose to use coconut brown sugar which has more phytonutrients, iron, potassium, zinc, and calcium. However, it is still sugar. So even though it sounds better in theory, there will still be a spike in blood sugar.
The key is to pair any sugar with fiber rich foods, like apples and oats with healthy fats (coconut oil and pecans). Even better if you swap in the protein or collagen powder for extra protein. I also love to sprinkle hemp seeds over the ice cream or whipped cream for an additional boost of protein.
Healthy Apple Crisp Ingredients
To make this healthy apple crisp, you will simply need to gather a few key ingredients that create the best tasting apple crisp recipe made with oats.
Let's talk about apples. I love using a mix of granny smith or honeycrisp but really any type of apple will work.
Ever wonder why apples are perfect during the colder months where our lungs are at a compromised state? Well, apples are the perfect fruit to help keep your lungs healthy.
A five-year study of more than 2,500 men from Wales found that those who ate five or more apples per week filled their lungs with more air than men who didn’t eat apples. (1, 2) Experts believe you might get some special protection from the antioxidant quercetin. Learn more about the health and nutrition of apples here.
As a person who has celiac disease, it is important to get certified gluten-free oats. I like Bob's Red Mill brand of rolled oats because it is handled in a dedicated gluten-free facility. Whole rolled oats is what I used in this healthy apple crisp recipe and this is how you get that delicious crisp topping.
Pecans are the best nut for the holiday winter and fall season. Feel free to swap with any other nut of choice. If you are a fan of pecans, check out my pecan pie bars recipe or my almond butter pecan fudge recipe.
Pecans are a wonderful source of magnesium, potassium, and calcium too. The magnesium and potassium will aid in lowering your blood pressure.
I used the traditional warming spices used in most desserts. I added cinnamon and nutmeg. That's really all that you need in terms of spices.
GLUTEN FREE FLOUR
I use gluten-free flour as a substitute in most of my recipes because I avoid gluten due to celiac disease. I have found that other flours work well too. Simply swap for the same ratio with regular flour, almond flour, or oat flour.
I recently tried it by making my own pecan flour. That turned out delicious because it added another layer of pecan flavor throughout.
I used a coconut brown sugar in the recipe, but regular brown sugar is perfect too. If you don't have either on hand, swap with maple syrup or even honey.
I chose to use coconut oil instead of traditional butter. If you aren't dairy-free or prefer butter, simply swap for the same ratio. Use room temperature butter, so it blends easily.
Just a dash will work. I use ½ teaspoon for 2 servings and it works well.
You can control the level of sweetness with more or less maple syrup. If you prefer honey or stevia, adjust to your likeness.
Yes, I used some citrus inside this recipe. A bit of lemon zest and juice. Plus, I added a splash of orange juice. Only a ¼ of a teaspoon, but it makes all the difference.
See recipe card for quantities.
Healthy Apple Crisp Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and get your baking dish ready. I like to lightly spray a 8 x 8 baking pan with coconut oil cooking spray first.
Peel and core your apples. Then slice the apples thinly. Place the apple slices into a mixing bowl with the apple filling ingredients. Set aside while you prepare the apple crisp topping.
To prepare the topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, pecans oats, coconut oil, and spices. Mix until the mixture is crumbly and the coconut oil is well combined with the oats and flour.
Take ¼ of the topping mixture and add to the filling mixture. Gently combine the two mixtures.
Pour the filling mixture into the prepared baking dish. Evenly top with the rest of the crumble topping mixture.
Bake on a baking sheet to ensure any spillovers are captured. Bake for 45 minutes. Be sure to check about halfway through the baking process and if the top is browning too quickly, cover with a piece of aluminum foil.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve as is or with your favorite vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Health Note: While this apple crisp recipe is a healthier version, it still contains sugar and if you have concerns about the sugar content, swap with stevia substitutes or omit the maple syrup, orange juice, and brown sugar all together. Their will still be sweetness from the apples.
Healthy Apple Crisp
Apple Filling Ingredients:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and get your baking dish ready. I like to lightly spray a 8 x 8 baking pan with coconut oil cooking spray first.
- Peel and core your apples. Then slice the apples thinly. Place the apple slices into a mixing bowl with the apple filling ingredients. Set aside while you prepare the apple crisp topping.
- To prepare the topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, pecans oats, coconut oil, and spices. Mix until the mixture is crumbly and the coconut oil is well combined with the oats and flour.
- Take ¼ of the topping mixture and add to the filling mixture. Gently combine the two mixtures.
- Pour the filling mixture into the prepared baking dish. Evenly top with the rest of the crumble topping mixture.
- Bake on a baking sheet to ensure any spillovers are captured. Bake for 45 minutes. Be sure to check about halfway through the baking process and if the top is browning too quickly, cover with a piece of aluminum foil.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve as is or with your favorite vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Making a healthy apple crisp recipe is a personal preference in terms of sweetness and dietary needs. Check out some easy substitutions and variations to customize this recipe to your liking.
- Apples - try this with pears instead.
- Maple Syrup - instead of maple syrup, swap it for honey or limit sugars, even more, try stevia.
- Pecans - great alternative to pecans is walnuts.
- Arrowroot Starch - swap with your favorite collagen powder, vanilla protein powder, or gluten-free flour instead.
You can store any leftover apple crisp in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days. Warm it up before serving.
It's also freezer safe too. However don't bake it first. Assemble the crisp, cover, and freeze for up to 3 months. Then when ready, bake it off in the oven for one hour in 350 degrees. Easy as "apple crisp"!
Here are a few variations on my healthier version of a healthy apple crisp made with oats.
- Higher Protein: I like to add a scoop of my Radiant Beauty Collagen Peptides into the filling mixture, instead of the arrowroot starch. Also, top with hemp seeds which will provide additional protein to the recipe.
- Toppings: Serve with vegan vanilla ice cream or add your favorite store bought or homemade coconut whipped cream. If not vegan, than use traditional ingredient toppings.
Enjoy This Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe!
So, were you surprised at how easy it was to make an healthier version of a traditional apple crisp recipe? Will you be trying this healthy dessert recipe at your next Thanksgiving or holiday gathering?
In addition, I would also love to hear what you think, or take a photo and tag me @Eat_Your_Nutrition on Instagram. I love seeing your photos. #EatYourNutrition #LauraVillanueva
Looking for other healthy dessert recipes like this? Try these:
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- Boyer J., Liu R. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutr. J. 2004;3:5. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-3-5.
- Butland B.K., Fehily A.M., Elwood P.C. Diet, lung function, and lung function decline in a cohort of 2512 middle-aged men. Thorax. 2000;55:102–108. doi: 10.1136/thorax.55.2.102.