close up of apple crumble bar with bite missing

These healthy apple crumble bars are gluten-free, vegan and naturally-sweetened with maple syrup. They’re perfect for a quick breakfast, snack, or dessert.

Fall means apple season! I think we all can agree there is nothing better than biting into a fresh, crisp apple. But if you’re looking for the next best thing, baked apples are a close second, especially when nested in between oatmeal crumble. These healthy apple crumble bars are a fall-inspired version of my strawberry rhubarb crumble bars and mixed berry crumble bars. They’re like a portable apple crisp. The fresh apples turn into a thick layer of gooey filling nestled between lightly sweetened oatmeal crumble. Grab yourself some apples and make these apple crumble bars. I think you’ll love it!

Healthy Apple Crumble Bars

These apple crumble bars are the perfect way to take advantage of the abundance of seasonal apples in the fall. I used Honeycrisp apples in this recipe because they’re my favorite, but any variety will do. You don’t have to worry about picking apples that will soften while baking because the apples get a quick blitz in the food processor. This helps the apple breakdown while baking, making for a soft gooey filling. When choosing your apples, I recommend going solely by taste. Braeburn, Jazz, Pink Lady, Gala, Johnathan are a few of my top picks. But know whatever variety you choose, your bars will be delicious.

These bars are naturally low in sugar. They get most of there sweetness from the sugars naturally found in the apples and just a touch of maple syrup. Since they’re low in sugar, they’re perfect for enjoying in the morning for breakfast, snack or as a healthy dessert. They’re also gluten-free and vegan, which makes them fit for everyone to enjoy!

Slice of an Apple Crumble Bar
close up of apple crumble bar with bite missing

NOURISHED BY NUTRITION FACTS:

Apples – these have a low glycemic index even thought they’re a carbohydrate and contain simple sugars. This means that apples won’t raise blood sugar levels as high as other simple carbohydrates. This is due to their high fiber content. Since a lot of the fiber in apples is found in the skin, I recommend keeping the skin on when making this apple crisp. Fiber is so important for digestion, blood sugar stabilization and detoxification. Apples are also a good source of vitamin C potassium and the antioxidants quercetin and catechin. Quercetin has an anti-inflammatory effect, whereas catechin has been shown to improve brain and muscle function. (1) (2) (3)

Oats – hopefully, by now you know my love for oats. I love baking with oats and oat flour and having oatmeal as a post-workout snack. Oats are a complex carbohydrate that’s a good source of fiber. One ½ cup serving provides 4g of fiber and contains both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber draws water into your intestinal tract. This helps support regular digestion, helps us feel fuller, and can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. (2)

Low-sugar – these bars are sweetened with a touch of maple syrup. I’m a huge advocate for reducing sugar in order to keep blood sugar stable. This is important for managing your hunger hormones, managing cravings and preventing the unwanted sugar crash that leaves you feeling shaky and hangry later.

When choosing sweeteners, I recommend opting for natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey or dates, if possible. Coconut sugar, date sugar, and maple sugar are other good options. However, it’s best to try and reduce the amount of sugar you consume in general. This will help re-sensitize your taste buds and slightly sweet treats will taste very sweet!

apple crumble bar with bite missing

IF YOU LOVE THESE apple CRUMBLE BARS, YOU’LL ALSO ENJOY THESE RECIPES:

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Apple Crumble Bars

These apple crumble bars are gluten-free, vegan and naturally-sweetened with maple syrup. They’re perfect for a quick breakfast, snack, or healthy dessert.

Scale

Ingredients

For the crumble:

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats (divided)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 3 medium apples, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 34 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Add two cups of rolled oats to an upright blender, or food processor fitted with a metal “s” blade, pulse the oats until ground down into a flour. Transfer to a large bowl, add the remaining 1/2 cup rolled oats and the rest of the crumble ingredients. Using a spatula or your hand combine the ingredients until the dough begins to stick together.

Measure a heaping 1/2 cup of the dough for the topping and set aside. Spread the remaining dough evenly into the prepared pan. Press firmly and flatten into the bottom, sides, and corners. It may help to slightly oil or wet your fingers or spatula.

Wipe out the food processor and add the apples. Pulse until the apples are broken down into small pieces. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the arrowroot powder, lemon juice and cinnamon.

Spread the filling evenly over the crumble crust. Take the remaining crumble dough and use your fingers to break it up evenly over the fruit filling. Gently push the crumble dough into the filling to set. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Let the bars cool completely before slicing.

Notes

These crumble bars are naturally sweetened with just a touch of maple syrup. If your berries aren’t super sweet, you can add 3-4 tablespoons of maple syrup to the filling. If you plan on serving these as a dessert with ice cream, having the bars a little less sweet makes for a nice balance.

It’s best to cut these bars after they’ve cooled completely. This ensures that the filling firms and you can pick them up with ease. If you just can’t wait, know you’ll need a fork.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I’d love to hear how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #nourishedbynutriton.