When I think of the Fall, many images come to mind: leaves changing colors, crisp sunny afternoons, pumpkins, and noodle kugel. My fondest memories of the Jewish High Holidays are due to the foods that I associate with these holidays – apples & honey, apple cake, and noodle kugel. All are sweet, which is symbolic of the joy and sweetness of the New Year. All are delicious, and all can be prepared in a healthful way to suit anyone’s dietary preferences!
I recently pulled-out the file of my late grandmother’s recipes to find her noodle kugel recipe. I remember its flavors, textures, and the addictive aroma that filled her home whenever she baked this decadent casserole. As I looked at the list of ingredients, I knew that it was due for a major upgrade, in order to make it as a dish that I felt comfortable serving to my Rosh Hashanah guests, as well as eating, myself.
One simple substitution was to swap out the egg noodles for gluten-free egg noodles. I used Jovial Foods Egg Tagliatelle, in place of the egg noodles that my grandma used in her kugel. These gluten-free noodles taste exactly like the kosher egg noodles that I remember eating as a child, but they’re made with brown rice flour in place of white flour. The brown rice flour gives them a subtle sweetness and adds a bit of fiber to their nutritional profile.
The rest of my grandma’s recipe included melted margarine, eggs, apricot jelly, brown sugar, and other seasoning ingredients. Surely, I wasn’t going to use margarine, jelly, or sugar in my version. In place of the margarine, and in a much smaller quantity, I used coconut oil. Don’t worry, the taste of the coconut will not be apparent in the overall dish! Instead of apricot jelly, I chose an apricot fruit preserve without any added sugar. To add a little bit of sweetness, I poured in a small amount of maple syrup – the perfect ingredient for Fall recipes. The remaining ingredients are the same as my grandma’s: eggs, vanilla extract, salt, ground cinnamon, raisins and apples.
Preparing this Harvest Apple Noodle Kugel was very easy, although it required a few pots and pans. To me, there’s no greater joy than cooking for the holidays, so I don’t mind the extra dish washing that I endured! I look forward to sharing my updated noodle kugel with my family later this week, I know they will love it as much as I do, and this recipe will replace my grandma’s cherished recipe for many years to come.
Harvest Apple Noodle Kugel
A delicious gluten-free & dairy-free recipe for the Fall
Ingredients: (note – use organic whenever possible)
16oz gluten-free egg noodles (I use Jovial Foods Egg Tagliatelle)
1 (8oz) jar apricot preserves (fruit only – no sugar added)
1/4 C coconut oil + additional for greasing pan
1/4 C maple syrup
6 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2 t cinnamon
1 t sea salt
1 C raisins
4 apples, peeled & cut into large chunks
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add some sea salt and the noodles. Cook the noodles according to package directions, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse with cold water. Shake to remove all excess water and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13” glass or ceramic baking pan with coconut oil and set aside.
In a small pan, heat apricot preserves, coconut oil and maple syrup. Stir to combine. Let cool to room temperature.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon and sea salt – whisk to combine until light and fluffy. Once the apricot preserve mixture has cooled to room temperature, add that mixture to the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the raisins and apple chunks, as well as the cooled noodles. Carefully toss the ingredients to fully coat the noodles with the liquid and disperse the raisins and apples.
Pour the noodle mixture into the prepared pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe yields 10-12 generous servings
Can be made in-advance. Bake for 50 minutes, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until the day of serving. Bring kugel back to room temperature and bake for 30-40 minutes, uncovered, before serving
Leftovers keep well, chilled, for 3-4 days in a covered container