Healthy Cranberry Pear Crisp
This Healthy Cranberry Pear Crisp is vegan and gluten-free and it has all of the warmth, spice and sweet flavor of traditional crisp versions. Also, it’s ridiculously simple to throw together and will make the perfect addition to your holiday dessert spread!
I’m sharing this healthy holiday-inspired dessert just in time for your Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving feasts. No, it’s not pie, but it’s fresh, simple and so yummy. The recipe is based off of one of my favorites – healthy apple crisp.
I filled it with fall-appropriate pears (apples would also be great) and tart cranberries, which sweeten up as they bake. Armed with coconut oil, it’s totally dairy free, but you could totally use vegan melted butter instead. And thanks to almond meal/flour and gluten-free oats, it’s also void of the glutens. Good riddance, food allergies. Good riddance.
Have you ever used almond meal? I love the rich, nuttiness that comes from using almond meal or flour – either one will work. I typically use Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal or Trader Joe’s Almond Meal. Not only does almond meal have a lovely flavor, it also boosts some pretty great nutritional stats.
Almonds provide a good amount of manganese and vitamin E, as well as a healthy serving of monounsaturated fats in each 1/4 cup serving. Almonds are also packed with protein and very low in carbohydrates. Want to learn more? Check out 9 evidence-based health benefits of almonds.
I love that this dessert recipe requires no baking skills! It’s such a cinch to put together: just chop up a couple of pears, mix with cranberries, maple syrup, cornstarch and spice, then top with an irresistible mixture of oats and almond meal.
There’s just enough coconut oil and sugar in there to make sure this crisp tastes like a treat, but it’s pretty light and healthy compared to most holiday desserts. (Don’t worry, pumpkin dessert squares, I still love you.)
The pears and cranberries transform into gooey goodness during a 40-minute bake in the oven, during which time you’re free to do whatever you’d like. If you’re like me, this is probably when you scramble to make yourself look presentable before the holiday party and don’t hear the timer going off while you’re busy blow-drying your hair in the other room. Crisps are so forgiving, though, which makes them perfect for forgetful bakers like me.
It’s 100% up to you! I’ve made this recipe both ways, and I like them both equally. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to baking, so I typically don’t peel the pears. I’m sure this goes without saying, but if you choose to leave the skins on, be sure to wash the pears thoroughly.
Wondering what it tastes like? Warm, sweet pears balanced with slightly tart cranberries, plenty of warm spice from the cinnamon, and the crispy, crumbly oat topping is just the icing on the cake. Top it with some non-dairy whipped topping (make your own!) or ice cream (or dairy, if that’s your thang) and dig in. Fall has never been so darn delicious (or healthy), I’m convinced.
Cranberry Pear Crisp
For the filling
- 2 pears, cored and diced*
- 2 cups (heaping) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the topping
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, use gluten-free, if needed
- ½ cup almond meal/flour
- ¼ cup coconut sugar or brown sugar**
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (other oils or butter will work)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.
- Combine all filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Then, pour into pie plate.
- Rinse out bowl and in the same bowl, combine all crisp ingredients. Then, sprinkle the crisp mixture over the top of the filling.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow crisp to cool slightly before spooning out.
- Serve warm and with vanilla ice cream, Greek yogurt, Cool Whip or coconut cream, if desired.
**I used 2 tablespoons Splenda brown sugar blend for my recipe and for the calculation of nutritional information.