Almond ‘Apple’ Crumble (i.e. Chayote Squash) ๐Ÿ gluten free, paleo & keto

Missing apples this fall?! Chayote squash might just be the answer! Its crisp and juicy textureย lends itself as the perfect sub in this keto apple crumble!

Low carb & keto apple crumble with vanilla ice cream
Low Carb & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble)

Keto Apple Crumble ๐Ÿ

i.e. Chayote Squash Crumble

Crisp, sweet, and quite apple-like, chayote is a great low carb apple substitute (with the help of a little bit of extract)! So if you’re missing all things apple this fall, you gotta give this keto apple crumble a go.

If you’ve been doing keto for a while, odds are you’ve heard of chayote squash subbing in for all things apple. From a classic apple pie, to keto apple crumble, and even English minced pies. So we decided to take this traditionally Mexican veggie for a ride.

So how well can chayote squash impersonate an apple?ย ๐Ÿ”

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The Chayote Squash

Chayote, crisp and mostly taste-less, is an interesting veggie. Related to melons, cucumber and squash, it’s traditionally used in savory dishes in Mexican cuisine.

And aside from being low carb (think just 2.8g net carbs/100g serving), chayote is rich in dietary fiber, iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, copper, vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C. Not to mention a bunch of antioxidants.

And living in Mexico and all, we couldn’t wait to give it a shot given that we adore all things apple come fall.

Freshly baked individual keto mock apple crumbles
Low Carb & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble)

The Extractย ๐Ÿ

This apple extract is a real wonder. It helps to up the apple factor up quite a notch. So if whipping anything apple/chayote this fall, make sure to get hold of this extract.

The Acidityย ๐Ÿ‹

Apples, unlike chayote, are rather acidic. So you really need to up your acid factor via lemon juice here. I suggest starting with 1 tablespoon, and adding more as needed to taste.

The Results

We were oddly divided by this keto mock apple crumble at chez gnom-gnom (as in me, friends and my mom who regularly judge ‘how close to the original I got’). It’s super yummy don’t get me wrong (I wouldn’t be posting it if it weren’t!).

But during tasting, it seemed that the apple-ness factor varied from taste bud to taste bud.

It seems that for some peeps it tastes almost like apples, and to others it simply doesn’t quite do it (yet still confirm it’s a yummy dessert). So I suggest you give it a go, in case you’re one of the lucky few to whom chayote tastes like apples.

Plus, the filling is also super yum as a yogurt or chia seed pudding! Oh, and I’m fairly certain that our (no-churn!) vanilla ice cream is non-negotiable!!

No-Churn Paleo, Low Carb & Keto Vanilla Ice Cream ๐Ÿฆ #keto #lowcarb #dairyfree #paleo #healthyrecipes #icecream
No-Churn Paleo, Low Carb & Keto Vanilla Ice Cream ๐Ÿฆ #keto #lowcarb #dairyfree #paleo #healthyrecipes #icecream

The Thickener

In all my tests with chayote, I found that a thickener (i.e. arrowroot etc) is not really needed. You see, chayote has a funny quality in that it releases some water at the beginning of cooking and after 15 minutes or so it soaks it all back in.

So when I added arrowroot (or even tapioca), the crumble came out all dry and clumpy. But when we let it do it’s own thing, the texture came out just right after 30 minutes of baking. Slightly crunchy, yet nice and tender.

If you’re planning on making a mock apple pie with chayote, this poses a slight problem. Unless you’re doing a skillet pie with just a crust on top, the chayote will make your bottom crust all soggy.

Alternatively, you can cook your chayote filling on the stove-top first to release the initial moisture, let it cool and then use it as your keto apple pie filling!

The Sweetenerย ๐Ÿฏ

Apples are clearly much sweeter than chayote. As in, chayote is not sweet at all. So you’ll have to do some tasting here, to cater to your sweet tooth.

You can pretty much use whatever sweetener floats your boat.ย Xylitolย (non-corn though to avoid tummy troubles!) is my top choice (no aftertaste!),ย Lakantoย (barely any aftertaste, andย the Golden versionย would be particularly good here!), and Swerveย (some cooling sensation, but still great).

Pyureย also works, just note that itโ€™s not my top choice here. It seems that it leaves behind a slight stevia trace when the crumbles are warm, though it might just be me.

Fun fact: it might also be my taste buds here, but Iโ€™ve noticed that stevia-based sweeteners (such as Pyure) work best when allowed to cool completely. Or even after a thorough chilling. i.e. when I made test batches with Pyure (stevia & erythitrol) and Sweetleaf (stevia), the stevia taste was very prevalent when warm (particularly with Sweetleaf). But after allowing them to cool completely, the stevia taste was barely discernible. If at all.

Keto apple crumble with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
Low Carb & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble)
Low carb & keto apple crumble with vanilla ice cream

Low Carb & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Squash)

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American, European
Keyword: dairy free, gluten free, keto, low carb, paleo
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 321 kcal

Crisp, sweet, and quite apple-like, chayote makes for a great substitute if missing apples come fall! But before whipping up an entire pie, we suggest giving these keto apple crumble a try. 

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Ingredients

For the almond crumble

For the chayote filling:

Serving suggestion:

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ยฐF/180ยฐC. Lightly toast almond flour in a skillet or pan over medium heat, until fully golden and fragrant (2-4 minutes). This is very important taste-wise, so don't skip!

  2. Whisk thoroughly together in a small bowl the toasted almond flour, coconut flour, sweetener, cinnamon and salt. Add in butter and rub the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Incorporate pecans and set aside.

  3. Mix together, in a rimmed baking tray or dish, chayote, sweetener, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and lemon juice (starting with 1 tablespoon, tasting and adding more as needed). Add in apple extract, starting with just 1/2 teaspoon, adding more to taste. You can alternatively cook the filling a bit on the stove-top to nail the flavors (my suggestion if doing a mock apple pie!). 

  4. Top with crumble mixture and bake for 25 to 27 minutes, covering the crumble with foil after 10 minutes to avoid excessive browning.

  5. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle, or store refrigerated for up to 3 days. 

Recipe Notes

Please see post for deets on sweeteners and possible subs!

Nutrition Facts
Low Carb & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Squash)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 321 Calories from Fat 315
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 54%
Saturated Fat 14g 70%
Cholesterol 55mg 18%
Sodium 196mg 8%
Potassium 218mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 13g 4%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 3g
Protein 6g 12%
Vitamin A 13%
Vitamin C 14%
Calcium 6.4%
Iron 7.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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35 comments

  1. Denise says:

    I’ve seen recipes using JICAMA instead of chayote. Great reviews too. Has anyone tried this substitute for apples?

  2. Pea Green says:

    Hi Paola, I scratched my head for a while until I remembered that in Australia we call them Chokos. In the 50s and 60s nearly every home had a choko vine! As a child coming from the UK I hated them but as an adult, I have learned they are very versatile. Thank you for an interesting idea. x x x

  3. Shari says:

    I read that Xylitol is your sweetener of choice. I recently watched this small study and was wondering what your thoughts are about it.
    I adore your recipes and cheery disposition!

    • Paola says:

      Hi Shari! Yeah I’ve seen their opinion on it, but I don’t get the same effect at all! I also measure my blood sugar and ketone levels constantly and xylitol barely spikes it (if at all). I did have a reader comment once that it spiked her blood sugar (not enough to kick her out of ketosis though)… having said that, she did report back after that she had 5 pieces of brownie (and thats A LOT of xylitol!). So it is higher GI than erythritol, but still nowhere near maliltol and of course sugar. xo!

  4. Catherine shelton says:

    Can you increase the coconut flour to eliminate the almond flour? I’m nut free. Also what about using Jicama in place of the squash?

    • Paola says:

      Hi Catherine! You can switch for coconut, but note the the flavor profile will change drastically. I would still go ahead and toast the coconut flour, as you get a nicer flavor that way too! And yes, jicama can replace chayote, but tbh I think chayote naturally has a closer texture to apples so it works best xo!

      • Gloria Moore says:

        Paola, I just discovered Chayote squash last week and it was wonderful used in a spice cake. I’ll have to try this recipe also.

        • Paola says:

          Oooh that’s a wonderful idea Gloria! I would def be up for that (and I’ll quote you on it! ๐Ÿ˜!)

  5. Angele says:

    Hi,

    I would like to try this recipe for my kids (who eat moderate low-carbs). Do you think if I substitue the squash for apples it will still taste good?

    Thanks!!

    • Paola says:

      It will likely taste better ๐Ÿ˜! in all honesty apples > mock apples for ever and ever, you just wonโ€™t need to add as much lemon (only a squeeeรฑze as apples have their own lovely acidity!)

  6. Lori Dee says:

    Why can’t I change to US Measurements? Nothing I do switches off metric! Help please! Thanks!

  7. Chrissie says:

    Love love love your recipes, gal! Keep โ€˜em coming! ^_^

    Just a couple of things – when do you add the butter for the filling (is it melted?), and how do you taste whether thereโ€™s enough lemon juice etc. do you suck on a piece of chayote? ;P

    • Paola says:

      That’s awesome to hear Chrissie! You can just add the butter diced, it’ll melt in the oven. And yup on the tasting (tasting as you go is the best way to yield best results!). A reader above you gave her method about cooking the chayote before, and that would give you the easiest taste-as-you-go results xo!

  8. Diana says:

    I have been following you for awhile and I love your recipes! Every one I’ve tried has turned out well and I have a list I want to go through and try.

    I have a suggestion for this recipe, though. I’ve been using chayotes to replace apples in pies, crumbles, and muffins for awhile now, and I have found that it is necessary to simmer them for at least 30-40 minutes (depending on how thickly they are sliced) to soften them and develop the texture of cooked apples before using them in a pie or muffin recipe. I do like you do, add lemon juice, sweetener, cinnamon, and apple flavoring.

    I’ve even taste-tested these with several people, simmering separate batches of apples, chayotes, and zucchini, all sliced the same way and sweetened and lemon juiced to match the sweet-tartness of the apples. Then I cooked all three to the same degree of softness, which took 5-10 minutes for the apples and zucchini and about 40 minutes for the chayotes. Then I had people taste and pick which they thought were squash and which were apples. Every single person has identified the prepared chayotes, along with the apples, as the โ€œapplesโ€, and the zucchini as the โ€œsquashโ€. I’m thinking that if you do the precooking of the chayotes, they might taste more โ€œapple-yโ€ in your pie or crisp.

    • Paola says:

      Hi Diana! So happy to hear you’re enjoying the recipes so much. And THANK YOU for your thorough tip, I’ll definitely be trying it when I next bake with chayote ๐Ÿ™‚ xo and thanks again for sharing!

    • Jenny says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing….precook the chayotes to get rid of the excess moisture and “let it do it’s thing” and blind bake the bottom crust and do a “french/dutch” crumble on top.

  9. Cindy says:

    Even when I make regular apple pie, I sometimes bake the crust first, baking a pie shell, and then either a circular piece of pie crust, prepared, or little pieces of baked crust, then I cook the filling on top of the stove, cool a bit, then put the filling in the baked shell and put the cooked pastry pieces on top. That will solve the soggy crust problem. I have ordered sugar free apple spiced cider drink mix to season the chayote “apple” pie, too.

    • Paola says:

      Hi Monika, it’s after peeling… but feel free to play around with the chayote to crumble ratio to your liking!

  10. Courtney says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I miss living in the US, where getting my hands on something like chayote squash would’ve been really easy. Here in the UK, it’s a bit more complicated. Boo. However, I’m going to steal your recipe for the crumble topping and use it over blackberries and maybe softened jicama to make a good crisp!

    • Paola says:

      HA! I actually lived in the UK for 7 years… remember exactly what you can get! I remember I did see jicama a couple times, and it’s also a fairly good sub for apple (and even French fries!).

  11. soraya miller says:

    this is true, i’ve tried using chayote as apples and surprisingly my kids absolutely loved it… me not so much!

    • Paola says:

      Exactly! It’s definitely a taste thing, and also worth trying in case you’re one of the lucky few!

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