I’m Jackie, a stay at home vegan mommy of one amazing little girl. My daughter, Zoey, is three years old, a huge Disney aficionado and Minnie Mouse super fan. She’s also the most amazing little helper in the kitchen that a mother could ask for, and so she is… my Minnie Chef.

Apple Pecan Pie Balls

Apple Pecan Pie Balls

Who doesn’t want to dive into a warm slice of apple pie on Thanksgiving?  Sorry, if that sounds like a raunchy reference to American Pie—that was totally not my intention. 😜  But seriously, isn’t apple pie a staple at Thanksgiving?  It is at ours, anyway.  This Thanksgiving will actually be my first Thanksgiving since giving up meat and dairy, so this time around I’ll be saying “no thank you” to a slice of apple pie baked into a rich, buttery crust.  So instead of coming up with an alternative baked dessert for me to enjoy on the big day, I decided to try something a little bit healthier.  Since my Carrot Cake Balls were such a huge hit, I decided to reinvent those a little bit into an equally delicious apple pie treat.  Like the Carrot Cake Balls, these Apple Pecan Pie Balls are raw, vegan, gluten-free, and refined-sugar free, but the flavors are just like the real thing!  I hope you enjoy this guiltless way to indulge in a classic holiday dessert!    

Servings Prep Time Cook Time Total Time
1 dozen 1 inch balls 15 mins. 0 mins. 15 mins.


  • ½ heaping cup pecans
  • ½ heaping cup walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup
  • 8 pitted medjool dates
  • 1 large Granny Smith Apple (or whatever kind you prefer), peeled
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries (optional)
  • ¼ cup ground pecans + ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (stirred together)
  • ¼ cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut (optional)


  1. Pulse pecans, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cocoa powder in a blender or food processor until ground into fine crumbs.  Set aside.
  2. Using the same blender or food processer, blend together the medjool dates and maple syrup, until a smooth consistency is achieved.  (It should be like a soft fudge or very thick caramel sauce.) 
  3. Add the dry mixture back into the blender with the date mixture and process until everything is combined. 
  4. Transfer this “dough” to a mixing bowl and set aside.
  5. Peel apple and cut into four rough pieces.  Put the apple pieces in the blender and pulse until minced (3 to 5 short pulses should do the trick; it’s okay if there are some larger pieces remaining).  Pour the apples onto a sheet of paper towels or cheesecloth.  Wrap the apples into the paper towel or cloth and give them a few tight squeezes to drain the juice.  (A significant amount of juice should come pouring out rather quickly and the remaining apple should be the consistency of shredded carrots—still slightly moist, but not soaked in its juice.)
  6. Add the minced apples, chopped pecans, and cranberries to the “dough” in the mixing bowl.  Stir together until everything is combined, using your hands if necessary (it might be messy, but it’s the best method). 
  7. Spoon the mixture into your hands one tablespoonful at a time and roll between the palms of your hands until a ball is formed.  Roll the balls into the remaining ground nuts and cinnamon and/or coconut. 
  8. For best results, refrigerate the balls for one hour before serving. 

Toddler Tip:

Let your toddler roll the balls and coat them in ground nuts and coconut! This is a fun dessert to make with toddlers because they can help with the mixing and the rolling. It's a great way to introduce them to a healthy dessert alternative and they may be even more eager to try them if they helped make them!

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