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Allergy-Friendly Savory Baked Apples for a Gluten-Free Holiday

Gluten Free Savory Baked Apples

Wow. Week 4 of the Gluten-Free Holiday Event, hosted by Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free, is already here. How can that be? 

Gluten Free Holiday

In case you missed the first 3 Weeks of this event, here is a little recap:

Week 1 – Amy shared her tips for Healthy Holiday Baking

Week 2 – I shared my Thanksgiving Prep Series and a Candied Apple Cranberry Upside Down Cake in honor of Thanksgiving Favorites.

Week 3 – Alta shared her Edible Gifts of Good Taste with her Gluten-Free Chipotle Maple Mixed Nuts.

And now for Week 4…

Hallie, over at Daily Bitesis focusing on Holiday Entrees and Sides with her beautiful Butternut Squash and Cabbage Salad. Make sure to go and link up a favorite savory holiday dish, either in the linky or in the comments. This will enter you to win a copy of Hallie’s amazing cookbook, The Pure Kitchen. It is one of my favorites and it soon could earn a spot on your counter.

The Pure Kitchen

Now, is it just me or do you too feel like time is passing by so quickly these days? I am really focusing on staying in the moment and enjoying each memory we are creating this season.

We have already decked the halls…

Savory Baked Apples

and hung the stockings by the chimney with care…

Savory Baked Apples

My husband and the boys have already donned the outside of our home in so many lights that Clark Griswold would be jealous (after all, ours are set to music 😉 ).

We are taking part in all of our favorite family holiday traditions: hot cocoa and cider by the fire, a different Christmas story book each night, Christmas music playing all afternoon, and the mad dash each morning to find where our special little Elf (on the Shelf) is hiding.

Gluten Free Holiday

We named our Elf Canyon years ago and he never disappoints in reappearing each year. He is certainly a mischievous and antics-filled little fellow. And last night he made a dashing debut into our home… and  then somehow got stuck in the air vent uptake.

Allergy Friendly savory baked apples

Hopefully he will manage to get himself out of this pickle tonight as he has an important job to do.

He has to get back to the North Pole to report to Santa on who has been naughty or nice in our home.

I know one thing for sure. Mom has been nothing but nice this year.

It is great that December marks the month that my boys are sweet little angels, not wanting to upset Santa in any way. It is just too bad they do not have elves for every other month of the year. How about a Valentine Elf? Or a St. Patty’s Day Elf? Perhaps a Patriotic Elf for the 4th of July? Ooh. And what about a Birthday Elf, for the month before their birthday?

Okay, enough dreaming. I want to share a recipe that I love making during this time of year. The boys in this house, old and young alike, love them. These Savory Baked Apples are Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Corn-free, and easily Vegan. They are a huge hit around here and are packed with healthy ingredients that no one even notices.

You can play around with the ingredients in the stuffing. Omit the Italian sausage for a Vegan version. Play with the herbs. Kick it up with some spice. Anything goes really. But below is our favorite combination of goodies.

Allergy Friendly Savory Baked Apples

Allergy-Friendly Savory Baked Apples

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Corn-free, Easily Vegan


  • 1 Acorn Squash, halved (save one half for another use), seeded, peeled, and finely diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 Yellow Onion, finely diced
  • 4 Large Apples, preferably organic (such as Fuji)
  • 1 Lemon, halved
  • 1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage, crumbled (omit for a Vegan Version and instead double or triple your vegetables and seasonings)
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Herbs (such as Thyme, Basil, Oregano, or Sweet Marjoram), finely diced
  • 1 cup Chopped Leafy Greens (such as Swiss Chard, Collards, or Kale )
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cracked Fresh Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Juice, preferably organic


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut apples in half. Then, using a spoon, carefully scoop out center core and discard. Then scoop flesh from inside of apple skin leaving a 1/4 inch shell around the edge to keep the shape. Reserve the apple flesh. Rub edges of apple with the halved lemon to prevent too much browning.

2.  Finely dice reserved apple flesh. Toss apple pieces with about 2 tsp of lemon juice to prevent too much browning.

3.  Sautee sausage over medium heat until it begins to brown, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add in diced onion and squash pieces and cook for 3 – 5 minutes more. Add in apples and herbs and cook for 1 minute more.

4.  Remove pan from heat and add in greens, salt, and pepper.

5.  Place prepared apple halves in 8 x 8 baking dish. Fill each apple half with about 1/4 cup of the sausage mixture.  Add apple juice to the bottom of the pan, around the apples.  Place pan in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Garnish with additional fresh herbs if desired.

Do You Have An Elf? What is his or her name? Canyon would love to get to know some of his friends! 😉

  1. On December 1, 2011 Sarena said

    Your tree is beautiful! I can’t wait to start mine on Friday after work. I’m really looking forward to this holiday season! The apples are such a great idea! My boys would definitely love them! Love the mix of flavors you have going on. I bet they are delicious!

    • On December 4, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks, Sarena! By this time, I bet your tree is up and just beautiful! And these savory apples are such an easy meal and the kids usually love them. 😉

  2. On December 1, 2011 Hallie @ Daily Bites said

    Beautiful! Such a creative recipe. Love reading about your holiday traditions, too! 🙂

  3. On December 1, 2011 Alta said

    Your tree IS gorgeous. And the rest of your decorations – so festive. 🙂 I’ve never heard of this “elf” thing until a friend of mine started posting stuff on Facebook about their elf – and now I find that you have one too! What a fun tradition. I love the stuffed apples too. I could really see these being made soon at our house!

    • On December 4, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Alta, the elf has turned out to be a really fun tradition and a great way to get the kids to be good all December long! 😉 It has definitely become quite popular – seems like most people we know have one now!

  4. On December 1, 2011 Gigi said

    This is a gorgeous presentation!! I LOVE this recipe! And we have an “elf” friend too, right in the kitchen moving around nightly for a few more weeks 🙂

    Oddly, mom did the elf trick w/ us when we were growing up, so I am using those same elves, which look just like the “new” version from Elf on a Shelf. We had 2, one for me, one for my brother. I have both now, used them for both my girls all these years.

    Gigi 😉

    • On December 4, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Gigi, I just love that your Mom was so on the ball to have elves too! And even cooler that you are using the same ones with your girls! I love traditions like that.

  5. On December 1, 2011 Heidi said

    The air vent uptake…..BRILLIANT!!!!!!

    Our elf on a shelf is named “Nicky” and he showed up yesterday too, LOL! I love this idea and I’m all for a Valentine’s Elf, a 4th of July elf…how about a Mother’s Day elf???

    I really wish I lived near Kurt (and you!) this time of year, we would definitely blow the city’s electrical grid, LOL!

    And the apples look beautiful, those babies are going on my menu plan next week for sure!


    • On December 4, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Tell “Nicky” that “Canyon” says Hi, Heidi!

      I am loving the idea of a Mother’s Day Elf. And I can only imagine the trouble that you and Kurt would get into if you two were working on Christmas light ideas together. Oye! You guys would have people lined up for miles to come see what you conjured up!

      Enjoy the apples!! 😉

  6. On December 1, 2011 Ricki said

    I can’t believe your house is already decorated! I am soooo behind. . . . Well, love the idea of those apples, anyway! I am going to try them with my homemade soy-free veggie “meat” crumbles (bet my hubby won’t know the difference). 😉 Mmmm!

    • On December 4, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Ricki, I would not be nearly as on top of decorating if it were not for my two little munchkins begging on a hourly basis to get things out// LOL

      And I bet with your veggie “meat” these would be amazing! Your hubby would never know.

  7. On December 1, 2011 Cara said

    Kim, these sound delicious – wish I had one for lunch right about now!

  8. On December 1, 2011 Maggie said

    You are too funny Kim! I need to get my hands on an elf, I’ve sent my sister on a mission tomorrow! These baked apples sound so awesome. I can’t wait to try a vegan version, you’ve got my mind working so I can try this!

    • On December 4, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Maggie, I hope your sister found one for you. It really is a neat tradition and a fun way to get the kids to behave!! 😉

      And the vegan version of this is just as yummy as well! I just load it up with the squash and greens!

  9. On December 2, 2011 Jeanette said

    Hmmm, I can just smell how good these stuffed apples must be. I’ve seen that Elf on the Shelf around – cute idea!

    • On December 4, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      These really do smell good when they are baking, Jeanette! And I know your kids are a bit older, but that elf sure is handy this month! LOL

  10. On December 2, 2011 Carol, SGF said

    OK, so did you upholster those chairs for Christmas too? Looking at all that you have going on for the Holidays I would not be surprised 🙂 Your house looks lovely, the traditions sound fabulous and those apples are very unexpected – I had never though of savory stuffed apples before – kind of genius!

    • On December 4, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Carol, you crack me up! The chairs just happen to match my holiday decor – trust me, I am not that organized. LOL And these apples are an easy way for my kids to eat all of the goodies in it. When I put the same stuff in an acorn squash they were not nearly as enamored with them. LOL The apple medium made a big difference!

  11. On December 2, 2011 Alisa said

    OMG, your house looks amazing! Will you adopt me so I can spend Christmas at your house? (nevermind that we’re the same age). Thanksgiving at Carol’s, Christmas at your house, ah, I would be in heaven 🙂

    • On December 4, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Alisa, forget the fact that we are the same age. I would adopt you and Tony in a heartbeat. Seriously. How much fun would we have together. baking like crazy?!? One of these years, you need to come at this time of year!

  12. On December 4, 2011 InTolerantChef said

    We put up one tree 3 weeks ago, then the 2nd 2 weeks ago, and decorated t he last today. The kiddies have had carols on since the 31st of October! What a lovely traddition, and a lovely recipe too! 🙂

    • On December 6, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Oh my, IntolerantChef! You are ambitious! 3 trees! I love it. I can only imagine how festive it must look in your home!

  13. On December 5, 2011 Karen said

    Love the elf! Cute and a sweet tradition.

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