{RECIPE} vegan grain free apple cranberry crisp

apple cranberry crisp #vegan #glutenfree #grainfree #holidays // bring-joy.com I’m popping in today–taking a break from project downsize (you guys–it’s so exciting!) & baby chasing*, to share a lovely dessert I actually created last year, & is good enough to grace our holiday tables again this year.

This pie is take on a traditional holiday favorite—the apple pie! 

{For more apple goodies, check out my raw apple crumble, or my apple pie muffins--what can I say, I’m very much an apple lovin’ girl (born in Washington, after all). Or try Leanne’s apple pie popsicles, if you’re craving a frozen treat.}

Tyndale, our now 10 month old, thinks it’s HILARIOUS to climb the stairs as fast as he can. He’s still nursing strong. Sleeping through the night. Crawling/climbing like a maniac. All of this activity makes me want to drop dead on the bed (hey, a rhyme!) at 8 pm every night. Which is why I’m struggling with spending any amount of time on the computer &/or givin much love to this little blog these days. It’s a rough life, I know.


vegan gluten free grain free apple cranberry crisp

apple cranberry pecan crisp #vegan #glutenfree #grainfree #holidays // bring-joy.com

The addition of cranberries & a bit of lemon zest complement the tangy sweetness of the granny smith apple, while the crumble topping adds additional texture and variety to this well-loved dessert.

The crust is reminiscent of pecan shortbread—the pecans add a nutty flavor, & the coconut oil, a natural alternative to vegetable or animal-based shortening, creates a flaky and tender crust.

Unlike most pies that you want to eat just out of the oven, I prefer eating this nice & cold, after the crust gets a chance to firm up (it’s quite fragile just out of the oven). Served with some non-dairy ice cream (need a recipe for one? try my vanilla bean ice cream.), this kind of dessert ranks it up there with a good chocolate chip cookie or some decked out coconut cashew carrot cake.

The perfect finish to your holiday meal with friends & family.

vegan grain-free apple cranberry pecan pie crisp

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 12 servings

Serving Size: 1/12 of pie

Calories per serving: 388

Fat grams per serving: 18.5 g

vegan grain-free apple cranberry pecan pie crisp

a vegan, grain-free, gluten-free festive dessert


  • ¾ c. finely chopped pecans
  • ½ c. coconut oil (solid)
  • ½ c. toasted quinoa flour
  • ¾ c. tapioca starch
  • ¼ c. chickpea flour
  • 1 TBS. ground flax seed (I prefer golden flax with this recipe)
  • 2 TBS. raw cane sugar or sucanat | or 3 TBS. coconut sugar
  • 4 TBS. cold water, & additional water, if needed
  • Filling
  • 8 cups sliced Granny Smith apples
  • 1 ½ c. fresh cranberries
  • ¾ c. raw cane sugar or sucanat | or 1 c. coconut sugar
  • 2 TBS. agave | or honey
  • 6 TBS. tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • ¼ tsp. ginger
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • pinch of cardamom (optional)
  • 1 tsp. zest of lemon (zest of about 1 lemon)
  • Topping
  • ½ c. toasted quinoa flour
  • 1 TBS. ground flax seed
  • ½ c. raw cane sugar
  • 3 TBS. coconut oil (solid)


    A few notes:
  1. I really prefer the texture of raw cane sugar in this pie (large granules than say, evaporated cane juice or plain sugar). It’s an unrefined version of white sugar and tastes more similar to brown than white sugar. You can use coconut sugar (about 1 1/4 cup per 1 cup of other sugar) as a replacement or sucanat, both unrefined sweeteners. You can use brown or white sugar—if you do, I suggest using brown sugar in the crust & topping, & white sugar for the filling, but of course, I recommend trying it with an unrefined sugar as the flavor is a bit different (I think better) & less processed than white or brown sugar.
  2. You can use other apples instead of the Granny Smith, but I think the Granny Smith is always no-fail with pies, & goes really well with the cranberries. Since both fruits are really tart, it's important to not skimp on the sugar, which will help neutralize the tartness.
  3. The filling is “juicy.” Many apple pies add thickeners such as wheat flour that absorb a lot of the liquid from the cooked apples & create a thick filling. I add tapioca starch to help absorb some of the liquid, but it is still a juicier liquid than most pies—which I actually like (especially if pie is served with some icecream, it serves as a flavor rich sauce). If you want a thicker filling (ie. less juicy), omit agave, & add 1 TBS. cornstarch (which will make this dish no longer “grain-free’--to tapioca flour for the filling.
  4. I don’t prebake this pie crust, so the bottom is not super firm (but is cooked) because it absorbs some of the liquid from the filling. I don’t mind it this way, but if you want a bit firmer pie bottom, you can bake the covered crust (cover with aluminum foil) at 425F for 10 minutes before adding the filling. Make sure to lower the heat to 375 once the filling is added & keep the pie covered until the last 20 minutes of cooking. I prefer eating this pie cold--this gives the coconut oil a chance to firm up. If you eat it just out of the oven, the crust will be very crumbly (not a bad thing, but if you're looking for a firm crust, allow it to cool completely, even better, put it in the fridge overnight.)
  5. For the filling:
  6. Peel, halve, & core your apples. The amount of apples you’ll need depends on the sizes of your apples, which vary widely. I used 5 apples to make 8 cups, but they were bigger apples. Slice each apple half thinly (should look like a half moon)—about 1/8-1/4 inch.
  7. Place apples in a large bowl. Add cranberries, sugar & agave. Toss lightly. Sift tapioca starch, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, & cardamom and sprinkle over apple/cranberry mixture. Add lemon zest, & using a wooden spoon (or your hands), mix gently until all the fruit is covered & has an even distribution of the spices & starch. Set aside.
  8. For the crust:
  9. Toast pecans at 350F for 4 minutes. Let cool completely (about 5-10 minutes). While pecans are cooling, gather & measure flours. Combine quinoa flour, chickpea flour, tapioca starch, & ground flax seed.
  10. When pecans are cool, place in a food processor (not a blender). Using the sharp S-blade, run on high until pecans are uniformly coarse & crumblike (not quite flour, but getting there).
  11. Add pecans to flours & using a wire whisk, mix to combine.
  12. Cut in coconut oil using a pastry cutter until flour is evenly crumb-like.
  13. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time. Using a wooden spatula mix, & use hands as needed. The crust should come together & not be sticky or crumbly. Set aside.
  14. For the topping:
  15. Combine flour, flax seed, & sugar. Mix. Cut in coconut oil as you did with the crust—until the flour is crumbly & no pieces of flour/sugar mixture are small & uniform. Preheat oven to 375.
  16. Assembly:
  17. Using two large sheets of waxed paper, form dough into a circular ball & press between two sheets. Use a pastry roller or rolling pin, gently roll dough out to about ¼ - ½ inch, trying to keep a circular shape. Remove top wax paper (gently, it may stick a little) and place pie tin face down on crust. Using both hands, flip pie tin over so crust is now on top of tin. Peel the wax paper off of crust & using your fingers, gently press to form into pan. Using your fingers, mold excess crust into the top part of pie (the edge of the pie).
  18. Place filling in crust. Top with crumble topping.
  19. Cover with aluminum foil & bake at 375 F for 40 minutes. Remove foil & bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  20. Remove from oven & allow to cool on a cookie rack for 30-45 minutes. You can eat it before this, but it’s better if the pie has a time to cool & solidify. I HIGHLY recommend you serve with some vanilla non-dairy ice cream or coconut whipped cream.
  21. Enjoy!

Additional nutrition info per serving: 3 g protein, 44 g carbs, 26 g sugar, 4.1 mg sodium, 4 g fiber; 10 Weight Watcher Plus points

Looking for more inspiration in the kitchen?

→ Check out my 28 day meal plan!


Other bring joy posts you might want to check out:


  1. Kelly L.
    on December 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm said:

    This is my new go-to apple pie recipe! It’s the best filling EVER! The cranberries and spice mixture really make it special. I made it for Thanksgiving and my omnivore in-laws and my kids loved it; it was gone too quickly! 🙁

    I had to switch out your crust because my son can’t eat pecans, so I used the flaky pie crust recipe from veganbaking.net. I’d love to try it with your crust, though, someday.

    Next time, I’m making two!

  2. Jenny
    on November 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm said:

    Yummo! This looks sooooo good! I don’t think my regular grocery has quinoa flour, I’ve never seen it. Darn, might have to trek to Whole Foods. 😉

    I have a non-food related question, maybe a blog post someday? I know you are busy. Anyway, I remember when you first talked about downsizing you were trying to convince the hubs to sell your dryer since you line dry your laundry. I also line dry a lot of our stuff. I figured out I currently line dry about a third of our laundry. Not a lot, but definitely better than none at all, right? I was wondering what you do about your clothes being stiff after they are dry. I know, such a lame question. I sometimes will put the stiff stuff in the dryer for five minutes to soften things up. We don’t use fabric softener, is that the key? My hubs is allergic to just about everything and anything with a “scent” about kills him, so that’s why I don’t use it. Just wondering what you thought. Oh and I am so excited to hear more about the downsizing. Good luck!

  3. Alanna
    on November 19, 2014 at 6:03 pm said:

    Yum! I’m totally making this for Thanksgiving. Thank you! 🙂