The Naturalist

Mia Rigden's Skillet Apple Crisp is Nutritionist-Approved

December 27, 2023
Photos by: Bliss Braoudakis

In chef, author, and board-certified nutritionist Mia Rigden's world, there's no reason you can't have your cake (or Skillet Apple Crisp) and eat it too. With wholesome ingredients and a few simple swaps, her go-to winter treat is everything you'd want in a classic dessert—with all the added benefits you need. Read on for the full recipe and more from Mia.

The Ethos

Known for her mindful and realistic approach to nutrition, Mia's philosophy on eating views food freedom as the goal. In other words, add what your body needs rather than restrict what it wants-and in a season of seemingly endless indulgences, intentionality is everything. Are you eating what you love? Are you looking for an opportunity to add nourishment? Are you allowing yourself the freedom to enjoy the season?

The Recipe

Substituting almond flour, ground flaxseeds, coconut sugar, and extra-virgin olive oil in place of standard ingredients like all-purpose, eggs, cane sugar, and vegetable oil, Mia's Skillet Apple Crisp offers a welcome nutritive boost without sacrificing any of the flavor-in fact, we'd argue her swaps add a depth and nuttiness typical crisps don't achieve. Meanwhile, the stars of the dish are present and comforting as ever-seasonal fruit, warming spices, and rolled oats. It's not too sweet-but if you want a touch more, it's the perfect vessel for a decadent scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The Afternoon

Though this recipe's perfect for truly any and every day, we-and Mia—love an excuse to turn a simple dish into an occasion. We opted to share the Skillet Apple Crisp outside, taking the opportuinty to enjoy the sights and flavors of the season all at once. If the weather doesn't permit, a scented candle does wonders to set a festive tone.



4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into ½-inch wedges
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
¼ cup raisins
5 tablespoons water, divided
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
1 ½ cups rolled oats
1 cup almond flour
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup chopped pecans
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup


-Preheat the oven to 350°F.
-In a medium mixing bowl, add the apples, ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon, the cardamom, ginger, lemon juice, coconut sugar, and raisins. Mix to combine.
-In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, arrange the apples. Pour 2 tablespoons of the water over the apples.
-In a small bowl, mix the flaxseeds and remaining 3 tablespoons of the water. Stir to combine and set aside.
-In the same mixing bowl you had the apples in, add the oats, almond flour, nutmeg, sea salt, remaining ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon, and chopped pecans. Mix to combine.
-Add the flaxseed mixture into the oat mixture, followed by the olive oil and brown rice syrup, and stir until fully incorporated. Spread the oat mixture evenly over the apples and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden.
-Serve warm. Goes great with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!