Cynthia Sass, Registered Dietitian and Plant-Based Diet Specialist, shares one of her favorite healthy apple recipes. Vegan, gluten-free, and low-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 those fresh apple varieties that will never taste better than they do now. It’s also the best time to start making healthy apple recipes. And luckily for apple lovers, getting your fill of this fall fruit can offer some pretty impressive health benefits.
A medium-sized 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. An apple also provides at least four grams of fiber. According to a 2016 study, 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 Current atherosclerosis reports.
An April 2020 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that apples can also be powerful protectors of brain health. In a 20-year follow-up of more than 2,800 older adults, those who ate large amounts of foods high in flavonoids, including apples, were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and related dementia compared to those who ate low levels intake of foods rich in flavonoids.
What to do with lots of apples
If you have a lot of apples, there are many healthy apple recipes to help you incorporate them into your daily eating routine. Snacking aside, apples make a great addition to savory recipes, from garden salads and coleslaws to cooked dishes like braised cabbage and stir-fries.
If you want to use a lot of 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 out of the oven, but can also be stored in the fridge for three days or frozen for a variety of future dishes. They will flood your kitchen with the sweet scent of fall and satisfy a sweet craving in a healthy way. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Baked apple slices spiced with cinnamon
In this easy recipe, I opted for virgin coconut oil instead of butter. In a 2018 BMJ open In one study, researchers found that using virgin coconut oil, as opposed to butter, resulted in beneficial effects on blood cholesterol levels, including increasing “good” heart-protective high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol without reducing the “bad.” “ Increase LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Virgin coconut oil that hasn’t been refined, bleached, or deodorized is also rich in antioxidants known to ward off cell damage and aging.
Courtesy of Cynthia Sass
In addition to its signature fall flavor, maple syrup provides at least 24 different types of antioxidants as well as important nutrients. About a third cup of maple syrup provides about 30 percent of the Adequate Intake (AI) for manganese, a mineral that supports healthy bones and collagen production. Cinnamon, another antioxidant-rich food, has been shown to help regulate blood sugar and increase feelings of satiety.
4 whole medium apples, cut into 8 wedges (use any variety)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
½ teaspoon apple pie spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
In a large bowl, stir together the maple syrup, coconut oil, apple pie spice, and cinnamon. Cut the apples into slices, place in the bowl and brush well with the spice 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 another 15 minutes.
Serve immediately or top with a crumble topping made with a combination of almond butter, maple syrup and oatmeal.
To freeze what you’re not using, simply place the cooled apple slices on a baking sheet so they don’t touch each other and place in the freezer for four hours to overnight. Place frozen slices in freezer bags, remove as much air as possible, seal and store in the freezer for up to six months.
Add the frozen wedges to smoothies, thaw and add to plant-based yogurt, or reheat on the stovetop to serve with oatmeal or plant-based ice cream.