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Low sugar, low fat mini apple crisps {vegan}

Low sugar, low fat mini apple crisps | www.ricottaandradishes.com

Today I bring you…drum roll please…a dessert!  Other than the Italian pizzelle I posted last Christmas, this mini apple crisp recipe is the first real dessert to see the light of day on this blog. I’m pretty proud of this, mainly because I suck at baking, but also because I was quite resourceful in making this recipe.

We had a fruit bowl full of Granny Smith apples which my husband doesn’t exactly love but I thought looked pretty for our home staging. I wasn’t eating them fast enough myself, so my mind started wandering to apple slaw, apple salads and baked apples. With September on the horizon, there’s no better time to have apples on the brain.  Eventually I settled on apple crisp after realizing we also had some flour, oats, coconut oil and other baking ingredients that needed to be used up as well.

I’m especially excited about this recipe because I’m not sure it’s possible to make a healthier apple crisp!  All the necessary components are there, so it’s not some strange raw concoction or anything like that.  It’s just a simpler, lighter version of the much-loved fall dessert that also happens to be satisfying and taste great – just like a dessert should.  Here’s the nutrition lowdown…

Low sugar, low fat mini apple crisps  |  www.ricottaandradishes.com

Low sugar, low fat mini apple crisps  |  www.ricottaandradishes.com

This recipe uses a fraction of the sugar of regular apple crisp.  Only four tablespoons, or 1/4 cup, of brown sugar is used in the entire recipe (the classic recipe uses at least 1 cup for 4-6 servings).  But if you didn’t know that ahead of time, I promise you wouldn’t notice!  It has the right amount of sweetness in my opinion.  Better yet, the Granny Smiths turn soft and sweet after baking, adding a nice natural dose of sweetness to the dish.

The other major health upgrade here is the use of coconut oil instead of butter – and in much smaller amounts.  I used just 2 tbsp for the whole recipe (it’s only in the oat topping), whereas traditional apple crisp typically includes about 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter or more.

This saves tons of calories from fat and also removes animal products from the equation, making this recipe vegan.

The downside is that butter is what gives classic apple crisp its rich-tasting, buttery crumble topping (which makes the dessert so satisfying in the first place).  But rest assured that the topping in this recipe is still nice and crumbly thanks to the oats, and is bursting with flavour from the spices and vanilla.  Not a bad compromise, I say!

The third major swap is the use of whole wheat flour instead of white.  There’s only about 2 tbsp in the whole recipe, which is a really small amount, but that extra dose of fibre certainly can’t hurt.

Low sugar, low fat mini apple crisps  |  www.ricottaandradishes.com

I’m a big fan of shortcuts when it comes to baking, so I opted for pumpkin pie spice to flavour these mini apples crisps instead of measuring out individual spices.  A bit lazy, I know, but I had a container in my spice drawer so why not?  Pumpkin pie spice is a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and other warming spices.  If you don’t have any on hand, or don’t feel like picking some up, just use small amounts of each spice to total the 1 tsp called for here.

I really hope you like this recipe as much as I do!  Serve warm from the oven for dessert, with or without ice cream (obviously without if you’re sticking with the vegan theme).  You can also go out on a limb and enjoy one for breakfast (yes, breakfast!) – just add a few spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt for protein so the meal is balanced.

What desserts are on your radar this fall?

Are you willing to experiment with healthier versions of your favourite desserts, or do you prefer to stick to the classic recipes?

Healthy mini apple crisps
Yields 4
Healthy low sugar, low fat individual apple crisps served in mini ramekins
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
For the apple mixture
  1. 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
  2. 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  3. 2 tbsp brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
For the topping
  1. 1 cup quick oats
  2. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325F. Grease 4 small ramekins with coconut oil.
For the apple mixture
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients and toss by hand to combine evenly. Divide evenly among the ramekins.
For the topping
  1. Add the remaining ingredients to another medium bowl and mix with a pastry .. until evenly combined and crumbly. Spoon on top of the apple mixture in each ramekin and pat down gently. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the apples are tender.
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