The One Healthy Apple Recipe You Need to Use Up Leftover Apples
Registered dietitian and plant-based diet specialist Cynthia Sass shares one of her favorite healthy apple recipes. Vegan, gluten free, and low in sugar, this baked apple recipe is a great way to get more vitamin C, fiber, and other key nutrients.
Health benefits of apples
This is the time of year to enjoy all the fresh varieties of apples that will never taste better than they do right now. It’s also the best time to make healthy apple recipes. And fortunately for apple lovers, getting your fill of this fall fruit can offer some pretty impressive health benefits.
One medium raw apple contains 8.4 mg of immune-supporting vitamin C, which is about 10 percent of the daily value (DV). It has smaller percentages of vitamins E and K, B vitamins, and potassium. One apple also provides at least four grams of fiber. The soluble fiber found in apples has been shown to promote healthy weight loss, support immune function, lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure, improve blood sugar regulation, and reduce inflammation, according to a 2016 study in Current Atherosclerosis Reports.
An April 2020 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that apples may also be potent protectors of brain health. In a 20-year follow up of more than 2,800 older adults, those who consumed high amounts of high flavonoid foods, including apples, were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias compared with those who had low intakes of flavonoid-rich foods.
What to do with lots of apples
If you have a bounty of apples, there are plenty of healthy apple recipes to help you incorporate them into your daily eating routine. Apart from snacking, apples make a great addition to savory recipes, from garden salads and slaws to cooked dishes, like braised cabbage and stir-fries.
If you want to use up many apples at once, whip up a batch of homemade applesauce. Or, try one of my favorite healthy apple recipes for baked apple slices. They’re delicious straight from the oven, but also can be stored in the fridge for three days, or frozen for a variety of future dishes. They’ll flood your kitchen with the sweet scent of fall, and healthfully satisfy a sweet craving. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Cinnamon Spiced Baked Apple Slices
In this simple recipe, I opted for virgin coconut oil in place of butter. In a 2018 BMJ Open study, researchers found that unlike butter, the use of virgin coconut oil resulted in positive effects on blood cholesterol, including increasing “good” heart-protective HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, without increasing “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Virgin coconut oil, which has not been refined, bleached, or deodorized, is also rich in antioxidants known to fend off cell damage and aging.
Courtesy Cynthia Sass
In addition to its characteristic fall flavor, maple syrup also provides at least 24 different types of antioxidants, as well as key nutrients. About one-third cup of maple syrup provides around 30 percent of the adequate intake (AI) for manganese, a mineral that supports healthy bones and collagen production. Cinnamon, another high antioxidant food, has been shown to help regulate blood sugar, and boost satiety.
4 whole medium apples, sliced into 8 wedges (use any type you enjoy)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
½ teaspoon apple pie spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
In a large bowl stir together maple syrup, coconut oil, apple pie spice, and cinnamon. Slice the apples, place in the bowl, and toss to coat thoroughly with the spiced mixture. Place the wedges on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 15 minutes. Flip the wedges and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve immediately as is, or garnish with a crumble topping made from a combination of almond butter, maple syrup, and rolled oats.
To freeze what you don’t use just place the cooled apple slices on a baking sheet so they don’t touch, and place in the freezer for four hours to overnight. Transfer frozen slices to freezer bags, remove as much air as possible, seal, and stash in the freezer for up to six months.
Add the frozen wedges to smoothies, thaw and add to plant-based yogurt, or warm on the stovetop to serve with oatmeal or plant-based ice cream.
- Current Atherosclerosis Reports: "Lipid Lowering with Soluble Dietary Fiber"
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Long-term dietary flavonoid intake and risk of Alzheimer disease and related dementias in the Framingham Offspring Cohort"
- BMJ Open: "Randomised trial of coconut oil, olive oil or butter on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors in healthy men and women"
- Journal of Endocrine Society: "Influence of cinnamon on glycemic control in subjects with prediabetes: a randomized controlled trial"
- USDA Food Data Central: "Apple, raw"
- USDA Food Data Central: "Syrup, maple, Canadian"
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Vitamin C"
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Manganese"
- Pharmaceutical Biology: "High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Characterization and Identification of Antioxidant Polyphenols in Maple Syrup"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Apple, raw"
- NutritionData: "Syrups, maple Nutrition Facts & Calories"
- Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Information Center: "Manganese"