An Apple a Day

An Apple a Day

appledayby Cathe Olson

You’ve heard the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, although that’s not entirely true, they sure do help. Apples are excellent for the digestive system. Not only are they easily digested, but the fiber acts as an intestinal broom. They also help reactivate the beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Studies have even shown that eating a daily apple will reduce skin diseases, arthritis, and various lung and asthma problems. Eaten raw, they help clean the teeth and exercise the gums. Nutritionally, although apples are not high in iron, they contain an element that improves the assimilation of iron in companion foods, which is an excellent bonus for vegans as iron from plant sources can be harder for the body to absorb. 

Apples are the most popular of all the temperate-zone fruits—and it’s no wonder why. Not only are they delicious on their own and keep well, they are also very versatile for cooking as they are excellent in both sweet and savory dishes. If you’re wondering which apples are best for eating and which are better for cooking, check out this web page that will give you information on the most popular varieties: http://homecooking.about.com/od/fruit/a/applevarieties.htm


Following are some recipes for meals, snacks, and desserts made with apples. 

Apple-Walnut Oatmeal 

My daughters call this “Oatmeal with Apple Cheese” because we use a cheese grater to shred the apples. It’s one of their favorite breakfasts. 

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch ground cinnamon, cardamom, or pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • 1 apple, cored and shredded
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts 

Mix the oats, water, salt and spice (if using) together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered 15 minutes, or until desired consistency. Divide the oatmeal between the serving bowls. Place a couple spoonfuls of shredded apples over each bowl. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. 

Makes 3 to 4 servings 

Variation: Use steel cut oats instead of rolled oats. Increase cooking time to 30 minutes. 

Apple-Oat Pancakes 

These pancakes are very hearty and flavorful. Try them topped with homemade apple sauce. 

  • 1 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Ener-G Egg Replace for 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups nondairy milk
  • 1 apple, grated


Grind the oats and nuts to powder in a blender or food processor. Pour the oat mixture into a large mixing bowl and stir in the baking powder and cinnamon. Beat the egg replacer and milk together. Grate the apple in a food processor or with a cheese grater. Add the milk mixture and apple to the oats. Stir until just mixed. Let the batter sit 5 minutes while griddle heats. 

Bake the pancakes on a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over medium heat. Use approximately 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn when top is bubbly and edges are starting to dry. Cook for 3 to 5 more minutes. 

Makes 12 pancakes 

Note: Leftover pancakes can be refrigerated or frozen. They can be eaten warm or cold for a quick snack or meal. My kids love to take them to school for lunch. 

Veggie-Apple Melt 

This is a delicious crunchy and hearty fall lunch. 

  • 2 slices whole grain bread
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons vegan mayonnaise
  • 4 apple slices
  • 2 tablespoons shredded carrots
  • 2 to 4 cucumber slices
  • 2 tablespoons alfalfa sprouts
  • 2 thin slices vegan cheddar cheese


Preheat a toaster oven or conventional oven to 375 F. Spread one slice of bread with mustard, the other with mayonnaise. On the mustard side, place apple slices and carrots. On the mayonnaise slice, place the cucumber slices and sprouts. Cover each with a slice of cheese. Place on baking sheet and bake 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Put the two haves together and serve. 

Makes 1 serving 

Applesauce 

There’s nothing like the taste of homemade applesauce and it really doesn’t take long to make. We love this with a fall dinner of roasted potatoes and baked beans. 

  • 6 to 8 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • Apple juice, apple cider, or water
  • Raw cane sugar, agave nectar, or maple syrup, to taste


Place the apples in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Pour apple juice, cider, or water to about 1-inch high in pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes, or until apples are tender. Keep checking the liquid and add more if you need it. Mash the apples with a fork or spoon and taste the mixture. Add sweetener if necessary. 

Makes about 4 cups 

Applesauce Cake 

This moist, spiced cake is perfect to take to a potluck or school bake sale. Nobody will guess it is vegan. 

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger 

Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a 10-inch round cake pan or 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. Beat the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla together until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift the remaining ingredients together. Add the oil mixture along with the applesauce, raisins, and walnuts. The dough will be stiff. Spread into the prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes, or until cake pulls away from the edges of the pan and a knife inserted in center comes out dry. Cool on a rack. Serve the cake plain or with whipped tofu topping. It’s also delicious frosted. 

Makes 12 servings 

Apple Crisp 

This is quick to whip up but tastes like you spent a lot of time on it. It’s delicious with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream. 

  • 6 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples (6 to 8 apples)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water or apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

Topping: 

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons nonhydrogenated margarine or oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, or honey 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch square baking dish. Toss the apples with the lemon juice, apple juice or water, sweetener, and cinnamon. Spread in the pan. Mix the oats, wheat germ, nuts, spices, and salt in a food processor with a metal blade or by hand. Heat the margarine or oil and mix with the sweetener until smooth. Add to the oat mixture and stir until well combined. Cover the apples with the topping. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. 

Makes 9 servings 

Apple Crumb Pie 

This is the pie I make for special occasions—it’s my family’s favorite. 

Pie Crust: 

  • 6 tablespoons cold nonhydrogenated margarine or coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry or unbleached white flour
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice cold water 

Filling: 

  • 6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup natural granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat or unbleached white flour
  • Juice and grated peel of 1 lemon


Crumb Topping: 

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat or unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup natural granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup cold nonhydrogenated margarine or coconut oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the crust. Cut the margarine or coconut oil into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water a little at a time until the dough holds together when pressed in your hand. Chill 15 minutes. Roll out and place in a 9-inch pie pan. 

Toss the apples with the remaining filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Place the filling in the prepared pie crust. For the topping, place the flour, sugar, and spices in a mixing bowl. Cut in the margarine or coconut oil until the mixture turns to fat crumbs. Spread the crumbs over the pie. Bake 45 to 60 minutes, or until the topping is golden. 

Makes 8 servings 

Cathe Olson

Author: Cathe Olson

Cathe Olson is the author of the new nondairy ice cream cookbook: Lick It! Cream Dreamy Vegan Ice Cream Your Mouth Will Love, as well as Simply Natural Baby Food and The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook. Visit Cathe’s blog at http://catheolson.blogspot.com.

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