A Healthier Twist on Apple Crisp

Just over a week before my son Silas was born, I ventured to my Aunt Martha’s farm in Katonah, New York to go apple picking with Wei and her daughter Rose.  It was one of the last balmy days of summer and we found ourselves dreaming of the crisp autumn days that have since arrived.  Healthy Apple Crisp RecipeWe gratefully filled our bags with the first apples of the season, munching on a few as we went along. Rose scaled the low hanging branches of the heirloom trees, contently plucking as many apples she could.  I lovingly imagined the little one in my belly doing the same in a matter of years, just as I had as a girl.  It was truly a quintessential September day.


The next wonderful thing about apple picking is figuring out what to do with the bounty. As a lover of apple crisp, I decided to spend the next few days creating this satisfying yet nutritious recipe. It uses wholesome barley flour in place of wheat and significantly less sugar than your average crisp. I hope you enjoy it as a dessert, breakfast, or snack as much as my family and friends have!

p.s. If you are gluten-free, please note a couple of easy substitutions

 A Healthier Twist on Apple Crisp


For the Filling:

  • 6-8 Apples (preferably a tart variety, such as Granny Smith, Gala, Honeycrisp, or Golden Delicious), to yield about 7 cups sliced
  • 3 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon ZestHealthy Apple Crisp Recipe
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Generous dash of Nutmeg
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup

For the Topping:

  • 5-6 tablespoons Butter or Ghee, chilled (use Coconut Oil for a vegan crisp)
  • ½ cup packed Coconut, Turbinado, or Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Barley Flour (for gluten free crisp, use coconut or brown rice flour)
  • ½ cup Rolled Oats
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Optional: ½ cup Pecans or Walnuts
  • Pinch of Sea Salt



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash, peel, and core the apples. Next, cut them into 1/3” slices.
  2. Toss the apple slices with the lemon zest and juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup and transfer into a 9” baking dish or pie plate.
  3. Add the flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon, salt, and nuts (if using) to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until just combined.
  4. Add the chilled butter and pulse briefly to incorporate.
  5. Sprinkle the flour and butter mixture over the apple slices. Bake for at least 1 hour, until topping is golden brown. You might want to raise the temperature to 375 for final 15 minutes to further crisp up the topping.
  6. Enjoy!