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Low Carb “Apple” Crisp

Low Carb Apple Crisp


This recipe reminds us of a low carb apple crisp, with less fructose.

The only organ in your body that can take up fructose is your liver. The first thing that eating fructose does is causing an increase in uric acid. Fructose inhibits nitric oxide, which would otherwise reduce our blood pressure.

This is why fructose is famous for causing hypertension (high blood pressure).

Fructose also initiates what’s known as lipogenesis, excess fat production. And the third thing that fructose does in the liver is it initiates an enzyme that inhibits our insulin receptors. That means your insulin levels all over your body have to rise…causing a whole slew of problems, including weight gain. Between 1970 and 2003 our average consumption of fructose increased from less than half a pound per year to 56 pounds per year. We were never designed to take in so much fructose. Even some natural sweeteners have lots of fructose. From 90 to 97 percent of the sugar in agave nectar is fructose. Up to half of the sugar in some varieties of honey is fructose.

To read more, check out the book KETO: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet

So is an “apple” the devil…no, but here is a way to lower the fructose overall.

Nutritional Comparison per cup:
Apple = 95 calories, 21 carbs, 4 fiber
Zucchini = 20 calories, 4 carbs, 1 fiber

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Low Carb "Apple" Crisp

Maria Emmerich
Course Dessert, Egg Free, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 324


  • 8 cups zucchini peeled and cubed
  • 4 apple tea bags click HERE
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Natural Sweetener or 1/4 cup erythritol and 1 tsp stevia glycerite
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon apple extract optional


  • 1 cup Natural Sweetener or 3/4 cup erythritol and 1 tsp stevia glycerite
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or other nuts
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup vanilla egg white protein or vanilla whey powder
  • 2/3 cup butter cold


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Heat a pot with 2 cups of boiling water. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes or until the water is very concentrated with apple tea. Remove the tea bags.
  • Place the zucchini slices in the apple tea and boil for 10 minutes. The zucchini soaks up the apple flavor and you would never notice the difference!
  • Remove the zucchini from the apple tea.
  • In a bowl, combine the zucchini, lemon juice, sweetener, cinnamon, nutmeg, and extract; mix well. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish or 10 inch pie pan.
  • For the topping, combine sweetener, pecans almond flour and protein powder in a bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over the zucchini mixture.
  • Bake at 325 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly and the zucchini is tender.


Calories: 324 | Fat: 28g | Protein: 10g | Carbohydrates: 9g | Fiber: 4g | P:E Ratio: 0.3



Low Carb "Apple" Crisp

Serve with Apple Ice Cream



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Maria Emmerich

Maria is a wellness expert who has helped clients follow a Ketogenic lifestyle to heal and lose weight for over 20 years. She has helped thousands of clients get healthy, get off medications and heal their bodies; losing weight is just a bonus. She is the international best selling author of several books including "Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet.".


  • april says:

    Thank you so much for this! A lot of my readers give me a hard time about not eating a lot of fruit. I think I will direct them to this post 🙂

  • Thanks girl! You have a HUGE following!

    • Heidi says:

      Does April still have a blog? I tried to go to it, and was redirected…LOVE your blog, Maria! My kids are excited about trying the goldfish crackers and Oreos, and I’m excited about trying…everything! Working on building my stock of kitchen tools, your cookbooks, and pantry staples.

    • It looks like she shut her site down.

      Thanks for the kind words! 🙂

  • Mindy says:

    Maria, does this taste like apples? Or Zucchini? I see a lot of zucchini recipes, yours and others, and don’t dare try them because I think I won’t like it! Is it worth a try??

    • Gail says:

      Mindy, I bet you would never know it isn’t an apple crisp. I have a recipe for a mock apple crisp (not keto) that I used to make when my garden produced tons of zucchini and it does taste like apples.

  • It tastes a lot like an apple crisp. You would be suprised! I suggest make a half batch to see if you like it. Let me know if you try it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Maria I was wondering if I can use sweetleaf liquid stevia as I do not have the Now brand? If so will it be the same measurement? Thanks

  • I would try half the amount first and taste the dough, then add sweetness to taste;) keep in mind that some of the sweetness bakes off. So the dough should be a little sweeter.

  • For those of you who need more info on the difference between sugars…

    1. After eating fructose, 100 percent of the metabolic burden rests on your liver. But with glucose, your liver has to break down only 20 percent.

    2. Every cell in your body, including your brain, utilizes glucose. Therefore, much of it is “burned up” immediately after you consume it. By contrast, fructose is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which get stored as fat.

    3. The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Insulin resistance progresses to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.

    4. Fructose is the most lipophilic carbohydrate. In other words, fructose converts to activated glycerol (g-3-p), which is directly used to turn FFAs into triglycerides. The more g-3-p you have, the more fat you store. Glucose does not do this.

    5. When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat. Consuming fructose is essentially consuming fat!

    6. The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.

    7. Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin, resulting in overeating.

  • Regular table sugar is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose, and the two are metabolized very differently. Nearly every cell in your body was designed to use glucose for energy—especially your brain cells—but fructose breaks down into a variety of toxins that can have devastating effects on your health.

    Fructose has the following adverse metabolic effects:

    * Fructose does not stimulate a rise in leptin, so your satiety signals are suppressed.
    * Fructose raises your insulin and your triglycerides, which effectively reduces the amount of leptin crossing your blood-brain barrier. This interferes with the communication between leptin and your hypothalamus. Your brain senses starvation and prompts you to eat more.
    * Fructose does not suppress ghrelin like glucose does. Ghrelin is the “hunger hormone,” making you want more food.

    All of this also sets the stage for overindulgence and hence overweight, placing you on the path toward diabetes.

    I strongly advise keeping your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day.

    However, it would be wise for most people to limit fructose to 15 grams or less as it is virtually guaranteed you will be getting “hidden” sources of fructose from just about any processed food you eat.

    This includes fruits, which also need to be carefully measured to make certain that you’re not inadvertently going over the fructose limit.

  • Kellie says:

    I am a mom to 9 and am using your recipes.. I am IN LOVE with your site!! I have been eating like you do for the last 18 months I lost 30 lbs in 3 months. You have so many recipes I never even thought of. Thank you!
    My question on this fructose/ glucose issue is how do we know how much fructose we are getting? Is there a chart? And which foods have the preferable glucose? Thank you!

  • Thanks Kelly!
    Sugar is 50/50 glucose-fructose
    Honey is 45-55 glucose – fructose
    HFCS is 35-65
    Agave is 90 percent fructose!!!
    I stick with low starch veggies to get glucose. I stay away from potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets…

    I hope that helps;)

  • Anonymous says:

    after eating this a million times, I came to terms with it NOT being 20 calories per serving….with that said…. how many calories per serving, how big is a serving and how many servings does this make. I am trying to track on my daily plate. O and I just downloaded Nutritious and Delicious on my NookColor…LOVE IT and YOU 🙂

  • Makes 8 servings.

    Traditional Apple Crisp = 525 calories, 67 carbs, 2.3 fiber
    “Healthified” Crisp = 363 calories, 15 carbs, 7.2 fiber!

  • Just made this tonight. Very, very tasty!!

  • Rose1957 says:

    Yum I am wanting something sweet so I think I will try this one to. I have lots of zucchini I put into our freezer from the garden this summer. YEA!

  • Anonymous says:

    At the end of the recipe, you give the carb and fiber count as 5 and 3 per serving. Within the comments, you say the counts are 15 and 7.2 per serving. Which is accurate? Thanks! 🙂

  • Gloria Milas says:

    We had an over abundance of Zucchini this year. I came across this recipe. It was amazing. We all loved it. Can’t wait to make it again.

  • Unknown says:

    Will be trying this over the extended Labor Day weekend . Thanks so much !

  • Mary says:

    This was so awesome – I could not believe it! My husband loves apple pie so I think I will try putting this into your pie crust recipe – like a French apple pie. Thank you Maria!

  • Penne says:

    Maria, I am a little confused. I have made the apple crisp according to your recipe and LOVE it. But now I see where you boil your zucchini in apple tea…is that for the crisp? If so do you drain the water?

  • Anonymous says:

    I finally made this, and it is excellent! I pressed the topping down rather than just sprinkle it on top. I used half zucchini and half yellow squash, because that’s what I had. After steeping in the tea, they both taste the same. Wish I had some ice cream to go with it. Thanks, Maria!

  • Kat says:

    Hi Maria,

    Firstly, thank you for providing such wonderful recipes and information both on your blog and in your ebooks – I have 6 out of 7 of them so far and am enjoying them very much.

    I wondered though, with this particular recipe, how much fructose I may be ingesting by using apple tea? I have a type of turkish apple tea which is basically made of diced, dried apple and it occurred to me that if the tea tastes quite sweet then it must have sugar. The internet hasn’t proved much help with locating nutritional guides or carbohydrate or sugar content and the tea package itself doesn’t even have a list of ingredients – any ideas?

    Many thanks in advance,

    • cemmerich says:

      Thanks! Yeah, if it tastes sweet I would look for a different one. They must be adding some type of sweetener. It stinks that it isn’t easier to find that out with some teas. 🙁

  • Marissa says:

    Hey! I made this and loved it! I’m going to take it to a party and thought about adding rhubarb! Are we allowed to eat rhubarb and do you think I should just add it to the recipe or do half zucchini and half rhubarb?

    Thanks! Love all of your desserts!

    • Kat says:

      Hi Marissa,

      In the end, I combined 3 of Maria’s recipes (this one, the “bread” Pudding and one that had rhubarb) and made a crumble with jicama, eggplant and rhubarb and it’s delicious!

      I’m glad I had gone to the effort of purchasing the Jay Robb whey protein powder and Just Like Brown Sugar (neither of which seem to be available in Australia so I ordered them through Vitacost), they really do make a fantastic flavour.

      The jicama is tasty, too. It’s called a yam bean in Australia and is surprisingly juicy with a mild flavour, but it’s the texture that makes it great for this dish. We’re coming into summer here now so I’m keen to grate some jicama and make a coleslaw out of it.. Yum!

    • cemmerich says:

      Yes, I love rhubarb. Thanks! 🙂

  • What a great idea! I use zucchini a lot in baking but never thought of flavouring it in place of apples! Making a candida friendly version with stevia! Thanks again!

  • Cynthia says:

    I am going to try this, only without the seeds. This may save my butt to take as a dessert to family/friend dinners….and we go to a LOT of them!

  • Sara says:

    This looks amazing! I have some Celestial Seasonings herbal tea that would be PERFECT for this!

    Question, have you ever used chayote squash as an apple alternative? I hear it has a really similar texture and is also low in carbs/high in fiber!

  • Judy says:

    I had some leftover jicama I had used to make fried “apples”, so I used equal parts jicama and zucchini. My husband and I both loved this. It would be great with healthified vanilla ice cream. 🙂

    I just added a little more cinnamon in the zucchini mixture and I added some to the crisp “topping”. I also boiled the mixture in some apple tea I bought, just for this recipe.

    This is a true keeper, along with so many other of your recipes.

  • Just wanted to say this recipe is awesome! I fooled my kids even. They had no idea it was zucchini and not apples. I also infused some tea with the zucchini first. Such a huge hit in our house that I think it will be a regular treat when the kids want something. Thanks Maria 😀

  • Kristin says:

    I just made this today, and it is soooooo yummy! Having a hard time controlling myself!

  • Kristin says:

    Sorry to obsess, but I just heated up a dish with a slice of cheese melted on it. Heaven!!

  • Libby says:

    Hi Maria, I was just wondering if you could also use choko instead of the zucchini? Choko has a similar texture as apple.

  • cindy says:

    Where can I find apple tea?

  • Menaka says:

    Okay some people have been commenting on boiling the zucchinis in apple tea but I do not see that in the instructions.

    It says to mix ’em all up.

    I am confused:(

  • Susan Yearber says:

    A silly question but when you cube the zucchini do you cut out the seeds too?

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