Healthy Apple Pie Filling with Dates
Published Sep 20, 2020, Updated Aug 20, 2023
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This healthy apple pie filling is naturally sweetened with dates, completely raw (so it doesn’t need to be cooked) and perfectly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Apples are one of my favorite fruits. They’re portable, versatile, healthy and they come in so many different varieties. Pink Lady and Honey Crisp are the best varieties (in my opinion) but I also like Fuji and any other variety that’s super sweet and crisp. I can do Granny Smith from time to time as well, but I find others like Red Delicious and Gala too soft or mealy. And if there’s one thing I despise, it’s mealy apples. I just can’t do it.
This fall I’ve been playing around with a bunch of apple recipes. One apple recipe I came up with while experimenting was an apple pie filling of sorts… without any thickeners or processed sugar — just raw chopped apples, date puree and spices.
It turned out to be absolutely delicious! The date puree gives the filling a lovely sweet, caramel flavor and the apples stay nice and crunchy (just the way I like them)! I hadn’t ever used date puree as a sweetener before, but after this recipe I realized that I really like the flavor and I’ve already started experimenting with a couple different ideas (like these almond flour muffins).
- apples – I used Honey Crisp + Granny Smith
- medjool dates – You can buy medjool dates that are already pitted or pit them yourself (it’s super easy). Two brands that I like are Natural Delights and Joolies. You can find Natural Delights in the produce section of most grocery stores (near the bananas) and Joolies are offered on Amazon and Thrive Market.
- sea salt
- fresh grated nutmeg
Apple Pie Filling Upgrade
This recipe is a real food version of traditional apple pie filling that you’d typically find in a can. No butter, flour or white sugar needed! Ready to see the ingredient list comparison?
Traditional apple pie filling ingredients: apples, (a lot of) sugar, lemon, butter, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, spices and more sugar.
Healthy apple pie filling ingredients: apples, dates, a little water and spices!
How to Make Healthy Apple Pie Filling
Start by soaking the pitted dates by placing them in a small bowl and covering with water. Allow them to sit for 10-15 minutes.
While the dates are soaking, prep your apples by cutting them and chopping into tiny chunks. If you want your filling to have a smoother texture, I recommend peeling your apples.
When the dates are finished soaking, drain and discard the water. Add the dates, fresh water, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg into a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Add more water to thin out the filling if needed. It should be thick but pourable – similar to syrup.
Pour the date puree over the prepped apples and stir to combine.
What to Do with Apple Filling
While I haven’t used this healthy apple pie filling for a proper apple pie, I have used it for a variety of other things! Here’s a little list to get you started. The options are endless!
- Vegan mini apple pie bites
- A topping for ice cream
- Stuffed into crepes
- As a base for apple crumble
- Served in a bowl topped with coconut milk whipped cream
- A topping for oatmeal
- Stirred into chia pudding
- Served over pancakes
- Blending into an apple pie smoothie or milkshake
- Served over yogurt with granola
- Eat it by the spoonful (my fave way to enjoy it)
As I mentioned above, I haven’t used this apple pie filling for an actual apple pie just yet. I need to test it because I’m thinking I might need to add additional ingredients (some sort of thickener for it to work, but I’ll keep you posted when I try it.
More Apple Recipes to Try
- Apple Pie Overnight Oats
- Healthy Apple Crisp
- Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
- Healthy Apple Pancakes
- Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- Vegan Apple Bread
- Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
- Healthy Dutch Apple Pie
Vegan Apple Pie Filling
- 3 medium apples, (I used Honey Crisp + Granny Smith), cored and chopped into small chunks*
- 1 cup mejdool dates, pitted
- 3/4-1 cup water, plus additional water for soaking the dates
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Soak dates: Soak the dates by placing in a small bowl with just enough water to cover them. Allow them to sit for about 10-15 minutes.
- Prepare apples: while the dates are soaking core and chop the apples into tiny chunks, about 1/4 inch thick. Place in a bowl and set aside.
- Make date puree: When the dates are finished soaking, drain and discard the water. Add the dates, fresh water (start with 3/4 cup), cinnamon, salt and nutmeg into a high powered blender and blend until smooth.
- Add more water to thin the date puree if needed. The consistency should be thick but pourable like syrup.
- Pour the date puree over the bowl of apples and stir to combine. At this point your apple pie filling is ready to enjoy! See ideas for how to use it above.
- For storing: keep apple pie filling in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days.
- If you want a smoother pie filling, you should peel the apples. I don’t mind the texture of apple skin so I didn’t take the time to peel mine.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.