Breakfast · Desserts

Nutritarian Apple Pie Filling Feature Image Vegan Oil Free Refined Sugar Free Dr Fuhrman Eat to Live recipe Dr Greger SOS free vegan Date Sweetened

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).

Nutritarian Apple Pie Filling Ingredients Dr Fuhrman Eat to Live Plan easy nutritarian recipes SOS Free Vegan The Pleasure Trap Dr Goldhammer Chef AJ

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).

Nutritarian Apple Pie Filling Process Collage How to Make Natural Homemade Apple Pie Filling without sugar Vegan Oil Free

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!

Nutritarian Apple Pie Filling application Apple Pie Oatmeal Vegan Oil Free Date Sweetened SOS free Prep Ahead Eat to Live meal PrepFor 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
Nutritarian Apple Pie Filling Feature Image Vegan Oil Free Refined Sugar Free Dr Fuhrman Eat to Live recipe Dr Greger SOS free vegan Date Sweetened
5 from 8 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!

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 1/2 cups
Calories 197.35 kcal
Author Kristen Hong


  • 9 apples (Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp recommended)
  • 6 medajool dates
  • 2 cups water divided
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 2 tbsp pecan meal (find link to recipe in instructions below)
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon


  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! 

Nutrition Facts
Nutritarian Apple Pie Filling
Serving Size
0.5 cup
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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!

xo, Kristen
Kristen Hong of Hello Nutritarian

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  • Kate says:

    Simply amazing! I had so much fun making this recipe and my boys LOVE it! So comforting and I can put a dollop on my oats which I love! Another win for my recipe arsenal thabks!

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Kate!

      Oh I’m SO happy to hear you and your boys enjoyed this recipe–my kiddos absolutely adore this dish as well! And I agree, it’s perfect on oats!!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

      xo, Kristen

  • Cindy Mansfield says:

    I just made this and used it in the Apple Pie Oatmeal Bake. I’m just wondering why you bothered peeling the apples? The fiber and vitamins of the apple peel are exactly what I see nutritarian diet is all about. And skipping the step of peeling the apples made it faster for me to prepare.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Cindy,

      I tried to capture the magic of my grandmother’s apple pie filling, which I absolutely loved as a kid. She always peeled each apple’s skin into a long ribbon and I remember watching her and being absolutely mesmerized. So this recipe was all about nostalgia for me but taking out the butter and sugar.

      In my book this recipe is a “treat,” a fruit-sweetened dessert to have now and then. Fresh fruit should be our dessert of choice 99% of the time on the nutritarian plan!

      I love that you made it with skins on and I’m so happy to hear it works just as well!

      xo, Kristen

  • Caroline W says:

    Fabulous recipe; our new favorite way to eat apples, especially those past their best by date!. Thank you Kristen.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Oh I’m SO happy to hear that, Caroline!

      And thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!

      xo, Kristen

  • Deb M says:

    I just made the Apple Pie Filling to have it ready to make into the Apple Pie Oatmeal Bake for Christmas morning. The filling is delicious and all of the directions worked well. I made it with Golden Delicious and it made 5 1/2 cups of filling. I was glad to have extra to eat now vs. then! It all fit into a 3 qt. saucepan but I’d suggest everyone use a 4 qt. pan just to have a little extra room when stirring. I didn’t have the medjool dates but had deglet. I know they are more fibrous so I just cut them into small pieces and put them into the 1 cup water a little before adding the apples and turned the pan on low as I prepped the apples. It took a while to peel 9 apples but it was worth the effort! Thanks for a great recipe.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Deb,

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe and thank you so much for sharing the substitutions and techniques you used to make this recipe a success!

      xo, Kristen

  • Beverly says:

    This was delicious and even my picky non-nutritarian kids were eating it! I wonder if it could be done in the slow cooker or IP to save some time.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Thanks so much for letting us know that it works in the Instant Pot, Beverly!

      xo, Kristen

    • Kristen Hong says:

      I’m so happy to hear that everyone enjoyed it! if you give it a try in the instant pot or slow cooker please let us know how it went!


  • Becca says:

    Absolutely fantastic. The whole family liked it. Tasted like real apple pie filling. Many thanks!

    • Kristen Hong says:

      SO happy to hear that it was a hit, Becca!

  • Sarah says:

    Hi there! Such a great recipe. I made this for my family, & they gave it a HUGE thumbs up! 👍🏻
    Just one quick question: The step where the apples are the pot on the stove, with dates & cinnamon, would that be considered pre-baking?

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Sarah, so happy to hear you and your family enjoyed this recipe! Yes, I consider that step pre-baking. I usually make the filling on one day then do the baking on another day.

  • Cheryl says:

    Hi, I see a typo. Apple pie recipient, step 3, last line…S/B stir EVERY 2-3 minutes…not “ever”

    Love your recooked. Thank you.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Cheryl! Thanks so much for letting me know–always helpful to find those edits!

  • Tavey says:

    Can ground chia seeds be used instead of pecan meal?

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Tavey,

      I’m not sure about that substitution but I think it would work to help tighten up the sauce.

      Please let me know how it goes if you give that substitution a try!

      xo, Kristen

    • Kristen Hong says:

      I think that would be a good substitution!

  • Elisa says:

    Looks great! Excited to try. I’m wondering if you could use date paste instead of dates and how much you’d need?

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Elisa,

      I haven’t tried that substitution but I’m sure it would work! Do a Google search for the typical conversion of date paste to dates for guidance on how much to use!

      xo, Kristen