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(Secret Ingredient) Apple Coconut Crumble


With the holiday season upon us (and Christmas fast approaching!), now is the time I start to think about how I’ll create that warm, cozy, homey vibe if guests decide to drop in last minute. Tried-and-true, I find that there is really no better way then getting a simple, fragrant fall eat in the oven. And while fresh baked butter tarts or shortbread cookies would certainly do the trick, these finicky recipes require time, and generally quite a bit of effort in the kitchen… during the hustle and bustle of this glorious season, understandably, most of us don’t have time for this.

As I love to keep it simple and delicious when I’m in the kitchen, I created this quick-to-prep, high fibre spin on apple crisp to meet those holiday baking needs. And while this delicious recipe was contrived with this rapid assembly and minimal clean-up in mind, I have to admit, homemade apple crisp is one of my all-time favourite treats this time of year… loaded with fresh apples & cinnamon and covered in that crispy oat topping. Delicious and nutritious by design, this treat offers so much nutrition per serving, I’m not even certain if it should be classified as an indulgence.

To improve the nutrition profile of this typically wholesome recipe even further, I chose to use coconut oil and unsweetened applesauce in place of butter. Coconut oil substitutes very well for butter and shortening in recipes, and works well as a plant-based replacement for vegan recipes; to keep the fat and calories moderate, applesauce contributes the additional liquid required. And as a wholefood substitute for refined sugar, I also decided to use chopped dates in this eat. Don’t worry – these nutrient dense subs don’t skimp on flavour!

As I put this ingredient to use in this recipe, let’s dig into the ongoing debate on coconut oil a little bit, shall we?

While it is true that coconut oil has a saturated fat content of 90 percent, and oils high in saturated fats have been found to increase the risk of cardiovascular and other diseases, coconut oil has grown in popularity in recent years due to reputable health benefits. Of note, many of the benefits claimed for coconut oil are due to the high medium chain triglyceride (MCT) content, but most coconut oils are only 13-14 percent MCT (to put this in perspective, a person would have to eat ~10 tablespoons of coconut oil each day to get the benefits – consuming this much oil would not be healthful). Overall, research does not currently appear to support increasing consumption of saturated fats, including coconut oil. BUT it can be a tasty addition to a number of recipes, when used with care; like all fats, coconut oil is the most beneficial if consumed in moderation. Coconut meat’s health benefits, on the other hand, are less debatable. Offering protein, fibre, folate, iron, vitamins A and E, and polyphenols & phytosterols, this delicious ingredient packs a powerful nutrition punch (not to mention an incredible  aroma and craving-worthy flavour).

Now for the secret ingredient I decided to sneak into this recipe: Parsnip.

Before you turn up your nose, let me explain! I chose to use this particular root veggie, not only because it is in abundant supply this time of year, but because the flavour profile lends itself super well to seamlessly sneaking into baked goods. With a nutty-sweet-earthy taste and ample nutrients, adding parsnip to this dish was a no brainer.

Highlights of making this recipe:

  • A nutrient dense twist on a tried-and-true classic, this is a great recipe to sneak extra fibrous fall veggies into your diet – a priceless tactic for children and adults alike.
  • With only 7 straight-forward steps, this breakfast/snack/dessert can be whipped up amongst the busy holiday festivities, without causing you to break a sweat.
  • While this recipe bakes, a mouth watering holiday-esk aroma will fill your home… coconut, apple, nutmeg, and cinnamon… what a combo!
  • Best if eaten fresh, this recipe does store well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Created with a view to helping you maintain your health goals this season and keep you feeling fantastic, this straight forward fall-inspired recipe will make your house feel like home, and is perfect to celebrate that fall harvest. Let the holiday season party planning begin!

    Macros per 1/9 Recipe

    Calories: 206
    Protein: 3 g
    Fat: 10 g
    Carbohydrates: 26 g
    Sugar: 12 g
    Fibre: 6 g

    Orange Juice

    (Secret Ingredient) Apple Coconut Crumble

    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 45 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
    Course Breakfast, Dessert, Sweet Snack
    Servings 9 people


    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Mound apples and parsnip in oiled 9×9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with OJ and set aside.
    • In a medium bowl, combine dates, stevia, flour, psyllium, oats, coconut, spices, and salt; mix to fully combine.
    • Add vanilla, oil, and apple sauce to dry ingredients and combine using hands until mixture is crumbly.
    • Sprinkle mixture over apples.
    • Bake for 45 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is crisp.
    • Let cool for ~5 minutes before portioning 3×3*.


    *Best if served warm from the oven with a scoop of Greek yogurt.
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!