Gluten-Free Apple Crisp without Oats

You are the apple of my self.

Ever since I started using quinoa cereal flakes in crunchy and crumbled toppings, I've always dreamed of making an apple crisp. This is a gluten-free recipe worthy of your attention. Today I'm taking it out of the archives to share with apple lovers everywhere…

Hi, my name is Karina. And I messed up the villi.

But it's not my messed up villi. Just as my post-cataract lens implants are not. Or my broken hip repaired. Or the silver-streaked hair bristling like a squirrel on this migraine-prone head. I'm also not this post-menopausal body that has brilliantly succumbed to a gravitational force superior to lunges and squats (gravity wins in the end, sorry to tell you).

The older I get, I find less and less comfort in defining myself, let alone defining myself by my various bodily quirks (not to mention my southward migrating butt). I don't even take any comfort in my own mental quirks. My beliefs, or assumptions, or my random monkey thoughts. Even my abilities don't quite capture who I really am. I don't identify with how many paintings I've painted or sold, or how many likes I get on Instagram. I don't want recognition like a mirror. The supposed prize of fame and fortune remains less than compelling, my motivation less urgent.

Instead, I wander the hours of my days looking for answers that lead to other questions. Not answers that close the book. How to subscribe to a system that has “got it all figured out.”

AS Anna Lamott he likes to say, certainty is the opposite of faith.
The certainty is over. And the end of growth. Clip the wings of possibility: the greater truth that exists beyond my little understanding. I close the book on the question of Who are they exactly? that would be silly. The Great Mystery is far greater and full of wonder than I could ever attempt to imagine. And whatever micro-adolescent role I play in this infinite universal system called Life, I know one aspect of it intuitively, thanks to more than five decades of life. Whatever it is, it's fluid. Everything changes. Including time. The past, present and future. The Universe (is expanding, you know, faster than they originally calculated). My experiential perception of myself (even expanding). The I that does not exist, because the I is only ego. The flattering, unreliable voice in my head.

So if this me doesn't exist — who wants this crunchy apple?

Perhaps the only sensible answer is this.

Be one with the crisp apple.

Now That I can do.

Karina xox

Karina's Gluten Free Apple Crisp Recipe Without Oats

Recipe originally published in the fall of 2011.

Ever since I started using quinoa cereal flakes in crunchy and crumbled toppings, I've always dreamed of making an apple crisp. In the past I have used pancake mix or a gluten-free flour blend to make a sugary topping. But quinoa flakes take it to a new level of flavor (not to mention they add whole-grain goodness to the feat). The texture is deliciously light. And the organic coconut oil gives it a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness that I haven't liked since I gave up cow's milk.


6 apples (Macintosh, Delicious, Pink Lady, Gala)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons tapioca or arrow starch
1 cup quinoa flakes
3/4 cup sorghum flour (or brown rice flour)
1 cup organic light brown sugar
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup organic coconut oil


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8×11-inch baking dish or pan with vegan spread. Set aside.

Peel and core the apples. Cut them into slices and throw them into a bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice and toss to coat. Add the maple syrup and mix. Sprinkle with tapioca starch and mix again to coat the slices. Pour the slices into the prepared baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the quinoa flakes, brown rice flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and sea salt and whisk to combine. Add the coconut oil in pieces and, using a whisk or pastry cutter, combine the coconut oil with the flour mixture until you obtain a smooth, sandy mixture.

Pour the mixture over the entire surface.

Bake in the center of the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Cover the top with a piece of foil and continue to bake for another 20 minutes or so (depending on the size/type of apples), until the apples are tender and the sides of the crisp are bubbling. (The foil will help keep the cover from darkening too much.)

Allow the brittle to cool before serving: even if slightly warm it is delicious. The next day we had leftover crisp apples, refrigerated, fresh out of the fridge, and honey, even the cold was fabulous. She tasted like apple pie.

Serves 8.

Cooking time: 40 to 45 minutes.

Recipe source:

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GFG Notes:

The quinoa flakes make this crunchy and crumbly topping light and delicate. If you can't find quinoa flakes (check the hot cereal section of your local market) you can order them online. Yes, I suppose you could substitute oatmeal, but I find that even gluten-free oatmeal is quite difficult to digest and makes a gluten-free apple crisp heavier. It's not as nice as using quinoa flakes.

I used brown rice flour and it was perfectly flavorful. You don't need starches or xanthan gum in this topping recipe. If you need to avoid rice I recommend sorghum flour.

To keep it completely starch-free, omit the tapioca starch in the apple filling. I did this and it worked beautifully, although the juices would have been thicker if I added starch.

For further assistance on replacement, please see my cooking guide with substitutions here.

This fabulous recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free and xanthan gum-free. Sacred goddess of tap dancing. It's very free.

Not a fan of quinoa? All right. Here's a fabulous apple and pear crisp recipe without it.

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