I miss oatmeal. I’ve tried every version of gluten-free oatmeal out there, and I’ve unfortunately concluded that oats are not ever going to jive with my microbiome. Fortunately, I missed oatmeal so much that I developed this Cinnamon Apple Bake that is so tasty that I hardly think of oatmeal anymore. This Cinnamon Apple Bake saves the day when you just can’t eat any more eggs for breakfast. This breakfast bake is Whole30, paleo and vegan, and is easily dehydrated so that you can take it into the backcountry with you for a nice warm and cozy breakfast!
This meal is so easy to make, and takes little to no thinking. I know that I always over-buy apples, and then always have a few on hand that look a little, um, well, wizened, we’ll say. Apples are usually in season in the fall and winter, but can be found in the super markets all year long. They’re great to always have on hand, mostly because there are endless varieties that can be used in literally any meal of the day. Today, it’s breakfast.
A little side note: All the ingredients in this recipe are technically Whole30 compliant, but of course, if you have the tendency to binge on items like this, you might want to skip this on the Whole30. If you need to review the SWYPO rule, you can find a reminder here. For me personally, the multiple Whole30 rounds that I’ve completed over the years have made it so that I really don’t binge on things like oatmeal or breakfast sweets anymore. This recipe is more of a variety piece for me rather than a work around. Although, like I mentioned, it was inspired by delicious oatmeal.
After getting all the introductions out of the way means it’s time for a little bit of learning. Of course, it wouldn’t be one of my true blog articles without a little science.
So, does an apple a day keep the doctor away?
Some (of the many) health benefits of apples
The answer is: sort of. Apples are highly nutritious and contain key vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K. Apples also are high in fiber (assuming that you leave the skin on), and are high in polyphenols.
What are polyphenols, you ask? You are already slightly familiar with them (if you’ve been following my blog)! We’ve already covered flavonoids that are found in red onions, as mentioned in my article on Rainbow Bruschetta. As a refresher, a flavonoid is a category of antioxidant. In red onions, the flavonoid quercetin is one of the reasons for a red onion’s anti-diabetic qualities. The skin of apples also contains flavonoids, so if you’re really not a fan of onions, this recipe can help you get some of the same benefits!
One of the reasons why I love this recipe is that you can dehydrate it for backcountry adventures – and given that apples are high in fiber, it’s an awesome addition to your meal kit! Apples can contain insoluble fibers, meaning that they are a great prebiotic that helps keep your gut microbiome healthy. A happy gut is always a good choice!
How to make Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Bake
There are only a few ingredients that you need to make this recipe! It’s simple and tasty, and doesn’t require any fancy cookware (unless you’re dehydrating this recipe- then you’ll need a dehydrator). The ingredient list is short:
- coconut oil
- unsweetened almond milk
- almond flour
- coconut flour
- chopped nuts (I used pecans because that’s what I had)
The process is incredibly simple.
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Chop up your apples so that they are bite sized, somewhere between 1/2 inch and 1 inch long. Heat part of your coconut oil over medium heat in a sauce pan. Once it is fully melted, add in your chopped apples. Stir the apples occasionally so that they don’t burn and start to become tender.
Toss in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Continue to stir the apples over medium heat so that they continue to cook. After about 15 minutes, the apples should start to become softer and more caramelized.
Once the apples begin to caramelize, add in your almond milk. Stir it around and allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes. The almond milk should become thicker and fuller.
In a separate bowl, add your almond flour. Then, with a fork, press in the solid coconut oil so that the mixture becomes more “strudel” like. Once the coconut oil has been mixed in with the almond flour, carefully had in the salt and mix in the chopped nut of your choice. I used pecans for this recipe, but you cold also use walnuts for a delicious outcome.
Once your apples have simmered and are soft, add them to an oven safe dish. Next, add your almond flour mixture on top of the apples, making sure to spread it evenly. Bake your Cinnamon Apple Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve warm as is, or with a side of your favorite paleo or vegan ice cream (if you’re not doing the Whole30).
Dehydrating this Cinnamon Apple Bake is super easy! I recommend using parchment paper underneath because this mixture is soupy. I personally do not add the almond flour topping when I dehydrate this dish, mostly because the texture cannot be recreated once it’s been dehydrated. Feel free to just add in some mixed nuts that you have along with you on the trail, or only adding the nuts as a topping before dehydrating.
Additionally, consider adding a protein powder of your choice to this recipe if you’re going to be using it for breakfast. Whether you’re paleo or vegan, starting a day on the trail with some extra protein is always a great idea to keep a healthy and balanced diet. You can add the protein powder into the apples after adding the almond milk so that it dissolves into the mixture.
After evenly spreading your Apple Bake mixture onto parchment paper, dehydrate it for 12 hours at 120°F, or until completely dehydrated. You’ll know it’s completely dehydrated when the apple mixture is brittle and hard. Store it in a plastic bag or other sealable container until you’re ready to use it! I recommend soaking these in water overnight so that they’re ready to go when you wake up in the morning on your beautiful adventure!
Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Bake
- Dehydrator (optional)
For the main apple dish
- 6 medium apples any variety
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp salt
For the topping
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 cup coconut oil must be solid
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- Preheat your oven to 350°F
- Chop your apples into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Heat coconut oil in a pot over medium heat
- Once the coconut oil has melted, add in your chopped apples. Stir so that they don't burn.
- Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Continue stirring for about 10 minutes until the apples appear tender.
- Once apples appear tender and begin to caramelize, add in the almond milk. All it to simmer with the apples for another 10 minutes.
- While the apples are cooking on the stove top, add the almond flour to a medium bowl.
- Using a fork, press in the solid coconut oil so that it creates chunks in the almond flour. You want to distribute the coconut oil as evenly as possible.
- Add the chopped pecans or nuts, mixing them in.
- Once the apples are cooked, place them in an oven safe dish. Top the apple mixture with the almond flour mixture.
- Bake the mixture for 20 minutes. Serve warm.