Deliciously Simple Paleo Applesauce

applesI used to love my mother’s homemade apple pie. Her mother made it, and she continued the tradition.

I didn’t! The only pie I’ve ever made regularly is pumpkin pie. It easy to make, and is one of my son’s favorite desserts. I used to love it too.

When I went gluten and then grain free, I had to give up traditional pies, and a lot of other sugar, and dairy laden desserts. I don’t miss them anymore because I’ve found replacements. When someone brings pastries to my house for dessert, someone always asks me how I can resist. That’s when I tell them that once you eat more real food, and fewer sweets, you really don’t crave desserts anymore.  It takes time, but it really is true. You have to experience it to believe it!

Anyway, you know how everyone has comfort foods, based upon not only how they taste, but how they make them feel? Well, even though I no longer crave apple pie, I’m so glad I found a substitute for something that warms me up inside, and takes me right to my mother’s Thanksgiving table every time.

It’s homemade applesauce. Fresh right out of the crock pot, it really does taste like a slice of warm apple pie to me, without all the sugar, wheat, and – yikes – Crisco! Do they still sell that stuff? I hope

Being that it’s apple season, and that some of you probably have digestive concerns that will make the upcoming holidays not so easy to get through, I thought it would be a good time to share this recipe. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes peeling and coring apples, then you’re golden (ha, ha, get it? golden apples…).  I based it off of this recipe for baked applesauce, which I’ve been holding for a while, but never actually tried. I prefer to use the slow cooker because it saves a  lot of energy and cooks them through so well that you don’t have to mash them! Not that that takes a lot of effort, but I find that the more slowly you cook something, the better the flavors blend, the more moist a dish is, and the more easily digestible it will be for your gut.

So, if you, or your child, can’t (or won’t) eat whole, raw apples, you might want to give this a try. Sometimes, when you prepare fruit and veggies in a new way, it becomes more appealing. Not just to your mind, but to your gut, too!

Here’s the recipe:

Deliciously Simple, Slow Cooker Paleo Apple Sauce

An easy to prepare, "dessert" option for anyone who can't eat raw fruit, refined sugar, food additives and/or common allergens. Paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) compliant.


  • 12 medium apples (I used 6 red delicious, 2 honeycrisp, & 4 granny smith)
  • 3 T virgin coconut oil (melted)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (or 1 stick)
  • 1/8 tsp Celtic Sea Salt


  1. Place melted coconut oil into slow cooker. I use a 6 quart size, but you may be able to fit the apples into a smaller one. If not, just halve the recipe. Take a small piece of parchment paper and use it to spread the oil all along the inside of the cooker. Then, discard the paper.
  2. Peel, core, and cut the apples, and cut the lemon in half. Place the apples in the slow cooker, and squeeze lemon juice over them (you might want to do this halfway through cutting apples, to avoid having them get brown).
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon over apples, along with salt. Stir to coat evenly. If using a cinnamon stick, place it in the middle of the apples, after you've stirred in the lemon and the salt.
  4. Cover and turn slow cooker to HIGH heat for 2 hours. Stir with wooden spoon once an hour, to blend flavors. Reduce to LOW heat for 1 more hour, and then remove cooker from base. Let cool for an hour before serving or storing in refrigerator.
  5. Enjoy as a substitute for candy, apple pie, or other desserts.

Food for thought:

I highly recommend using organic apples, 2 to 4 of which should be granny smith (not as sweet as most other apples) to even out flavor.

I know, I know. When you’re really busy, why would you make applesauce, when you can buy it? Honestly, sometimes I do. Eden brand is delicious, and the company is one of the only truly organic ones around. Most have been bought out by really big brands that have only no real interest in preserving the integrity of the organic movement, but have figured out how to use it to their monetary advantage. Not Eden.

Anyway, as usual, the best choice is to make your own; but mixing a little cinnamon into a bowl of Eden’s is a very close second. So, if you don’t have time, you can still enjoy some, without any added sugar or guilt.

Holidays pose much temptation to anyone who’s following any kind of special diet. That’s why the time to seek out and experiment with substitutions is now.  I can honestly say that the healthier the food in our cabinets, and on our holiday table, has gotten over the years, the yummier it’s become! Real food tastes great, if you’re willing to give it a chance and have some fun with it.

Do you have an old family favorite that you’ve transformed into a delicious, healthy alternative? Please do share!

Please note that this post has been shared with the Gluten Free Wednesday,  Gluten Free TuesdayNatural Living MondaySlightly Indulgent Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday,   Real Food Wednesday and Party Wave Wednesday blog carnivals.

Update, 11/6/13: This recipe was featured in the Gluten Free Wednesday blog hop! I’d like to thank Linda Etherton, the Gluten-Free Homemaker, for selecting it.

About Dawn

As a Certified Health Coach, I provide motivated individuals with the resources, tools, support and encouragement they need to make the gradual changes in food and lifestyle that could completely transform their lives. Contact me.

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