It’s apple season, which means my family was like most this past weekend and hit up an apple orchard. Particularly during these strange times, families are jumping on board with any and every outdoor activity available this year! Apple picking was no exception. We packed our picnic basket and trekked 45 minutes north of the city to one of the few organic orchards in our area. Apples are one of the dirty dozen foods, meaning they are one of the highest scoring fruits and vegetables in pesticides, so buying organic is important.
We headed straight for the honey crisp rows and got to work. Although many of the trees had been picked over already (despite being there one day after the honey crisps were deemed ripe enough to pick), we were still able to get a good haul. We weren’t above picking up decent looking apples off the ground. In fact, these are referred to as “wind apples” and it usually means they fell naturally--a sign they are ripe and ready to be eaten. So I was all for the ground apples, as I liked to call them.
As soon as we got home, I got to cooking, mostly because I didn’t have anywhere to store 5 dozen apples. First, I made a couple batches of home made apple sauce, my absolute favourite. I steam the apples with skin on for added nutrients, and blend them up using the Vitamix. Sometimes I add some cinnamon, but it’s optional. If any extra liquid is needed, just grab a few tablespoons from your steaming pot. If you make a few batches, it freezes really well and means you can enjoy homemade applesauce any time of the year.
After that I obviously had to whip up an apple crumble. Gluten-free was a no brainer for me, but I also decided to keep it vegan by omitting any butter. Easy.
The ticket to a crispy crumble is to make sure the mixture is entirely coated in oil before adding it on top of your apples and then also throwing the oven on broil for a couple of minutes at the end of the cooking process. Just make sure you are watching the clock like a hawk, or you’ll end up with a burn crumble… and nobody likes that. It’s a risky game, but I think the reward is worth it.
I don’t add any sweetener to my apples, like many recipes suggest. Most apples are sweet enough and if you’ve included maple syrup in the crumble, like my recipe uses, it provides just enough added sweetness. I recommend cutting down on the sugar content by letting the apples do their thing. This recipe actually has so much goodness packed in, you could use it as a dessert or breakfast interchangeably. And what’s better than that?
If you’re looking for a last minute Thanksgiving dish, I’ve got you covered. Otherwise, this makes the perfect fall comfort food and what a fantastic excuse to eat seasonally and support local.
Vegan, Gluten-Free Apple Crumble
If you’re on the hunt for your next healthy dessert idea, the search is over. These almond butter stuffed dates dipped in chocolate basically taste like a turtle and I am HERE for it.
Anytime there’s chocolate involved in my baking, my daughter, Ayla, magically appears in the kitchen ready to “help” and I honestly can’t blame her. She knows she’ll likely get a taste test along the way and may even get the lick the spoon at the end. I admire her stealthy ways
So, why do I love this recipe so much? Where to start?! The base is dates, which I tell Ayla are nature’s candy because they’re just so darn chewy and sweet. They have a low glycemic index, making them an incredible natural sweetener for dessert recipes, and are a great source of potassium.
These little guys are stuffed with almond butter, making them a satisfying treat without leaving you feeling like you need to eat the whole plate. And finally, they are dipped in a dairy-free dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt.
I have a very special place in my heart for dark chocolate. It is my treat of choice. I have spoiled myself for life by buying high quality, organic dark chocolate with a high cacao content. It is rich and luxurious. Pro tip: keep your chocolate in the freezer. Not only does it help you limit the amount you eat in a day, making your treat last a bit longer, but I think the cold and crunch this gives makes chocolate even better. So, my chocolate lives in the freezer, always. Give it try and let me know if you agree!
This dessert is super easy to throw together. In fact, Ayla and I made it happen in about 15 minutes yesterday while her brother napped. You just have to have some patience as it sets in the fridge. To speed up the process, you can pop the plate or cookie sheet in the freezer.
This makes the perfect hostess gift or dessert plate. It looks impressive without all the work, and who doesn’t love that?
Get the recipe details below and tag me on instagram (@lindsay.m.nutrition) if you try it!
Almond Butter Stuffed Chocolate Dates