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Healthy Recipes Series

Delicious Vegan Apple Pie

We have a new recipe for you this week! This is an American favorite. It is usually double crusted and has a decadent fruit filling. Can you guess?

Apple Pie!

Apple pie is one of the most common comfort foods and desserts in the United States. It is almost a culinary symbol of the country although it actually originated in England. Apple pie is double crusted, with pastry above and below the filling. The filling is mainly apples and different apples can be used. Both the crust and filling in the original recipe are full of sugar, butter, and other “not too healthy” ingredients. Making a delicious but still healthy Apple Pie is the perfect challenge for our raw vegan chefs. 😊

Apple Pie

For the apple pie, you are going to prepare two main components, the crust, and the filling. The crust is mainly composed of almonds, pecans and oats, but also calls for dates, coconut butter, and salt. The filling uses mainly apples and cashews, combined with maple syrup, spices and salt.

To sweeten the pie, we used dates and maple syrup. Dates are a whole food and still contain fiber and associated health benefits, so although high in natural sugar we use them to make desserts or naturally sweeten some recipes. Syrups are always processed and if you are looking for a lower glycemic index syrup, yacon syrup is a good alternative to maple syrup. The taste profile is not exactly the same, but it will “do the work” and it has a glycemic index of 1 (Glycemic Index: yacon syrup = 1; maple syrup = 54; cane sugar = 60-65).

It is important to highlight that when making desserts and using sweeteners, we try to keep the sugar content as low as possible. When using fruits and dates, the sugar will increase, but they are whole foods. When using sweeteners, choose natural sweeteners and try to opt for those with a lower glycemic index, such as stevia, monk fruit, allulose, inulin, and yacon syrup. Nevertheless, sweets and desserts are to be eaten seldom, unless the sugar content is really low.

Back to our pie! We will share with you our original recipe, from the new An Oasis of Healing recipe book! However, below are some alternatives to certain ingredients, in case you want to reduce sugar content. 😊 To reduce the sugar content of your pie, you can use one date instead of two, replace cashew with macadamias and, as mentioned above, replace maple syrup with yacon syrup.

Now, we will highlight the health benefits of almonds, pecans, dates, and a spice we love – cinnamon!

Delicious Vegan Apple Pie
Delicious Vegan Apple Pie

Almonds and pecans are both rich sources of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, beneficial phytochemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids. There is no better combination for a crunchy, delicious crust for your pie!

Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Almonds and Pecans1,2,3,4

  • Balanced nutrient profile with essential vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, and protein.
  • Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) like oleic acid and palmitoleic acids, contributing to healthy blood lipid profiles.
  • Both nuts are excellent sources of vitamin E, a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E protects from free-radical damage and contributes to cell-membrane restoration.
  • Nuts are a great source of plant phytochemicals with antioxidant action. Pecans are especially rich in beneficial compounds such as ellagic acid, beta-carotene, lutein-zeaxanthin, and crypto-xanthin. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress and prevent free radical damage.
  • Good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), and folate (B-9). B-vitamins work in conjunction as co-factors for enzymes in cellular metabolism and are essential for macronutrient metabolism.
  • Combined, almonds, and pecans are an excellent source of several minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
  • Both these nuts are naturally gluten-free and a good alternative in recipes that call for ingredients that contain gluten, such as crusts and bread.

Dates

Delicious Vegan Apple Pie

Dates are a great natural sweetener, and we use them in most of our sweet recipes and desserts. Despite having a high sugar content, dates still possess valuable nutrition and many health benefits, not present in table sugar or other sweeteners, and here are some of the most important ones.

Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Dates5,6

  • Contain polyphenolic compounds, namely the antioxidant flavonoids tannins. Tannins exhibit anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic and anti-microbial properties, among other beneficial physiological effects.
  • Other antioxidant flavonoids are present, such as ß-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These may protect against the harmful effects of free radicals and certain cancers.
  • Excellent source of iron and potassium and other minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
  • Modest source of vitamin-A and certain B-vitamins, including riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), and vitamin-K.
  • Fresh dates are easily digestible, composed of simple sugars like fructose and dextrose, and rich in fiber. 100 g of Medjool dates are equivalent to about 277 calories.

A note on sugar in dates:

Per 100 grams of fresh dates, around 75 grams consist of carbohydrates, of which about 7 grams is fiber. This means that per 100 grams of dates, approximately 68 grams is sugar! This is still a good amount of sugar and one of the reasons we do not recommend you indulge in the consumption of dates or foods with high date content. Moderation is the key with natural sugars.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum sp.)

Delicious Vegan Apple Pie

Cinnamon is a sweet-flavored spice that has been used for centuries for its flavor, fragrance, and medicinal and culinary properties. Cinnamon is obtained from the inner brown bark of Cinnamomum trees, belonging to the family of Lauraceae or Laurel, native to some Asian countries.

Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Cinnamon10,11

  • This spice is known for its bioactive compounds, boosting with health benefits: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-diabetic, among others.
  • Highest antioxidant strength (calculated as ORAC – oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of all the food sources in nature! Many hundred times more than apples, for example.
  • Contains flavonoid antioxidants carotenes, zeaxanthin, lutein, cryptoxanthin, and lycopene.
  • Excellent source of minerals like manganese, iron, calcium, and copper. Both manganese and copper work as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Good levels of vitamin E, K, A, and Pyridoxine (B6).
  • Cinnamon contains powerful essential oils:
    • Eugenol (pleasant, sweet aromatic fragrance; local anesthetic and antiseptic properties)
    • Cinnamaldehyde (anticoagulant – prevent blood clotting)
    • Ethyl cinnamate
    • Linalool
    • Beta-caryophyllene
    • Methyl chavicol
  • Good for digestion and elimination, especially because it helps increase the secretion of gastrointestinal enzymes.

Do you have your grocery list ready? Or do you have all these delicious ingredients at home? Get ready, this Apple Pie is totally worth it! 😊

Here is the full recipe for the fabulous Apple Pie!

  • Makes: 5 servings Prep time: 40 minutes                • Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 2 Medjool dates, pitted
  • ¼ cup coconut butter
  • ¼ tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 2 green apples, peeled and cored
  • ¾ cup cashews, soaked
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2-3 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

To make the crust, place nuts and oats in a food processor and grind into a flour. Add remaining ingredients and process until combined. Pour 2/3 of the mixture into a 9″ pie dish and press the mixture into the bottom and sides. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling. Set the remaining mixture aside.

To make the filling, cut the apples into quarters and slice them thinly. Place them in a bowl and set aside.

In a high-power blender, combine all remaining ingredients and blend on high until smooth. Pour cashew mixture over apples and toss to combine. Spread evenly into the pie pan and top with the remaining crust mixture.

Enjoy 😊

REFERENCES

  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, almonds. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170567/nutrients, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
  2. Nutrition and You. Almonds Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/almonds.html, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
  3. United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, pecans. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170182/nutrients, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
  4. Nutrition and You. Pecans Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pecans.html, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
  5. United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Dates, medjool. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168191/nutrients, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
  6. Nutrition and You. Dates Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dates.html, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
  7. United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Spices, cinnamon, ground. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171320/nutrients, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
  8. Nutrition and You. Cinnamon Spice Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cinnamon-spice.html, accessed Jun 23, 2023.