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Nutritarian Apple Pie Filling


This is pretty much all-the-goodness-of-grandma in a bowl.

My grandma was known far and wide for her Dutch apple pies and when the holidays strike I can’t help but long for that rich, tart, cinnamon-y goodness.  So I set out to get all those warm delicious flavors in a nutritarian-friendly recipe without the refined sugar or any health-derailing oils.

It’s taken almost 4 months of extensive testing to get this recipe right.  And by “extensive testing” I mean my kids demanding that I make more Nutritarian Apple Pie Filling the instant they finished the previous batch.

And you better believe I obliged.

Cause there’s nothing I’ve been loving more lately than adding a big old dollop of this goodness on my morning hot oatmeal bowls (especially during these cold winter days).

Apples Have Best Friends Too

Guys, I’m not going to spend time here talking up the amazing health benefits of apples.

Mainly because to get all those amazing beautiful benefits you need to eat a raw whole apple and the skin.  But also because apple pie filling has never been about health benefits.

Apple pie filling has only ever been about one thing: comfort.

The question is: How much comfort and yumminess can you cram into this Apple Pie Filling recipe without derailing your whole-food plant-based, nutritarian lifestyle?

And the answer is all about rounding up the right squad of whole-food ingredients.

Meet the humble apple’s besties:

  • dates
  • cinnamon
  • pecans

These three simple whole foods simmer with water and a splash of lemon juice and render you a true holiday experience.  We’ve been loving hard on this Nutritarian Apple Pie Filling through early September right up to Christmas Day (you better believe this is making an appearance on this year’s spread).

What Apples Can You Use in This Recipe?

We started making our test batches with Golden Delicious apples.  I say we because my 6-year-old daughter became the champion of this recipe after an apple taste-test in her first grade class where she discovered that she liked Golden Delicious apples the best!  Before that she was decidedly a Fuji-lover.

As the apple season progressed so did the apples we used for our test batches!

I’m happy to report to you that we’ve used the following varieties and found them to work very well with the recipe:

  • Golden Delicious
  • Granny Smith
  • Fuji
  • Honeycrisp
  • Jazz
  • Cripps Pink

Note that each apple variety gives the final product a different flavor but we found all of them to be delicious in their own way.

Yes, we have plans for an apple pie filling showdown next fall where we’ll make batches with all our favorite apple varieties and crown an official “best tasting” winner–I’ll be sure to update then with our results 😉

Essentially you want to use an apple that won’t break down too much during the cooking process.  You still want to have large chunks of apples in there, with texture and bite.

The Secret Ingredient

Okay, let’s be real.

Some would say this is just a chunky apple sauce recipe.

Heck, even my kiddos call it “apple sauce” (even when I’ve corrected them about a million times).

But I can tell you with 100% certainty that this is oh-so-much-more that your typical homemade apple sauce recipe.  It’s because there’s a top-secret, kinda-unexpected ingredient that tips this over the edge into apple-pie-filling-status…

Pecan meal.

That’s right before you put the finishing polish on this recipe you’ll be blasting it with some serious goodness.  The pecan meal (which you can make yourself in a blender BTW! Wait, don’t believe me? Here’s the recipe!) lends a richness simulating the butter that would bake into a traditional apple pie filling.

It’s adding richness and flavor without the bad-for-you-stuff and I think you’re going to love it as much as we do!

For All Your Prep-Ahead Needs…

If I could bestow a title on myself (and it wouldn’t be icky and self-indulgent) I’d go for “The Queen of Prep.”

It’s absolutely what I love to do best, it’s what turned my initial 6-week nutritarian “diet” into my forever lifestyle (even when my family doesn’t eat this way) and I made a whole 6-week prepping program for goodness’ sake!

Suffice it to say I love a good make-ahead, preppable recipe.  And this Nutritarian Apple Pie Filling completely fits the bill!

So, how long will it last in the fridge?

This was by-far the hardest part of finalizing this recipe because my kids would just inhale each batch.  I had to wait till they were at school make a few batches and then hide them in the top shelf of the fridge in the waaaay back.

I’m so excited to report that this recipe can lest up to 14 days properly stored in a glass food storage container!  As always with your preps, you want to down-size the glass storage container you use as you eat through your batch.

One batch fits nicely in a quart-sized wide-mouth Mason jar, with some wiggle room for preview tasting–trust me, you’ll be doing a whole lot of preview-tasting with this recipe!

Ways to Use This Apple Pie Filling:

  • to make this Apple Pie Oatmeal Bake (recipe coming soon!)
  • as a topper for warm oatmeal
  • as a cranberry sauce replacement on your nutritarian holiday plate

5 from 5 votes


Nutritarian Apple Pie Filling

A date-sweetened apple pie filling with a secret whole food ingredient that adds the perfect richness to this American holiday classic!


Breakfast, Dessert


Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Servings 4 cups
Author Kristen Hong


  • 9
    (Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp recommended)
  • 6
    medajool dates
  • 2
  • 1
  • 2
    pecan meal
    (find link to recipe in instructions below)
  • 1/2


  1. Make a batch of Pecan Meal (blended raw pecans). 

  2. Skin and core apples and chop them down into bite-sized chunks.  Pit the 6 dates and dice them finely. 

  3. In large pot add the chopped apples, pitted and chopped dates, 1 cup water and lemon juice.  Set heat to medium-high and turn on your overhead exhaust fan to high.   Allow apples to cook for 10 to 12 minutes–water will be bubbling.  Stir ever 1 to 2 minutes. 

  4. Turn heat down to low and add the remaining 1 cup of water.  Allow to simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring every 3 to 5 minutes.  The mixture should be cooked down and the water evaporated. 

  5. Remove from heat and add pecan meal and cinnamon.  Stir well to combine. 

Recipe Notes

Makes just over 4 cups.

Store in glass Mason jar (quart-sized wide-mouth jar recommended) in the fridge for up to 14 days. 

Perfect to use in a baked crumble recipe or to top your warm oatmeal! 

I can’t wait to hear what you think of this recipe that’s quickly become one of the best-loved nutritarian recipes for my non-nutritarian family (sounds complicated, right?  You can read up my FAQs here to learn more).  If you give this recipe a try I’d love to know what you think–please leave a rating and comment below!


Let’s live better together!

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