Apples are still ripe for the pickin’, so grab them while they’re good. No matter what variety of apple you prefer, there’s a good chance you have a favorite, and it’s the one you can enjoy on its own, with peanut butter, in desserts, or even as part of your dinner. That’s right — although apples are generally associated with snacks and sweet treats, they can also star in savory dishes. Lending a naturally sweet flavor to lunches and suppers, apples can take your dishes from basic to brilliant, and add a new layer of taste and texture. Check out these seven savory recipes that employ apples, and see what we mean. You’ll never throw away overripe apples again, and you’ll see that they pair especially well with protein.
1. Pork, Apple, and Miso Noodle Soup
We’re starting off strong with two soup recipes, as everyone knows that when the temperatures cool down, our cravings for hot soup warm up. First up is an Eating Well recipe for pork, apple, and miso noodle soup. This creative supper recipe combines tart apples and mild miso with whole-wheat udon noodles and salty ground pork. It’s a complex flavor powerhouse and can be made all in one large saucepan. Serve this soup with a watercress salad, and surprise yourself with your savory skills.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 12 ounces lean ground pork
- 2 tart, firm apples, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- 8 ounces udon noodles, preferably whole-wheat
- ¼ cup white miso
Directions: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pork, and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink on the outside, about 2 minutes. Stir in apples, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes more. Add broth and water; bring to a boil. Add noodles, and cook according to the package directions, stirring occasionally.
When the noodles are almost done, carefully scoop out about ½ cup of the cooking liquid from the pan and combine with miso. Stir the miso mixture into the soup, and remove from the heat. Serve immediately.
2. Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Next up is another Fall and Winter soup from Ina Garten, featured on Food Network. Tis the season for both butternut squash and apples, so you best combine them in a comforting meal that tastes great and is good for you, too. Butternut squash and apples are both naturally sweet with a touch of savory, so they pair perfectly together in this lunch or dinner dish that is further on the savory side of the spectrum, thanks to the addition of butter, olive oil, onions, and seasonings. There’s no reason not to try your hand at this soup when you can have the dinner on the table in 40 minutes or less.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 4 cups chopped yellow onions
- 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
- 5 pounds butternut squash
- 1½ pounds sweet apples, such as McIntosh
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups good apple cider or juice
Directions: Warm the butter, olive oil, onions, and curry powder in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.
Peel the squash, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into chunks. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut into chunks.
Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apples are very soft. Process the soup through a food mill fitted with a large blade, or puree it coarsely in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
Pour the soup back into the pot. Add the apple cider or juice and enough water to make the soup the consistency you like; it should be slightly sweet and quite thick. Check the salt and pepper, and serve hot.
3. Quinoa and Apple Salad with Curry Dressing
Moving on to the grains, we come to this Quinoa and Apple Salad recipe from Martha Stewart. This lunch or light dinner is hearty and healthy thanks to the quinoa, nuts, currants, and apples on its ingredients list, and the salad is dressed with a creative curry sauce, giving your already flavorful meal an extra kick. The sweetness of apples and currants complements the savory quinoa and nuts perfectly, and the unexpected kick from the curry dressing ties it all together. Throw your ripe apples on top of some grains, and treat yourself to a fresh and seasonal meal.
- ½ cup raw whole almonds
- 1 cup white quinoa
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dried currants
- 1 small McIntosh apple, cut into ⅛-inch-thick wedges
- ¼ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop nuts.
Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve; drain. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa; return to a boil. Stir quinoa; cover, and reduce heat. Simmer until quinoa is tender but still chewy, about 15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork; let cool.
Whisk together honey, shallot, curry powder, salt, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Season with pepper. Whisking constantly, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream; whisk until dressing is emulsified. Add quinoa, currants, apple, mint, and nuts; toss well. Garnish with mint.
4. Chicken Apple Burgers
Dare to put fruit in your burgers? Check out this recipe from Good Housekeeping, and see if you can come around to the idea. As the name suggests, these burgers combine apples with ground chicken, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning, and these even get dressed with a whole-berry cranberry sauce. It’s a sweet and savory mixture that is surprisingly good, and because the ingredients list is short and the prep time is minimal, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give these burgers a shot.
- 2 Granny Smith apples
- ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground chicken
- ¼ cup finely chopped celery
- 4 hamburger buns
- ½ cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
Directions: From each apple, cut 6 thin slices crosswise from center. From remainder, coarsely shred ¾ cup apples. Spray ridged grill pan with nonstick cooking spray; heat pan over medium-high heat until hot.
In medium bowl, stir shredded apple with poultry seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper until blended. Mix in chicken and celery just until combined, but do not overmix. Shape chicken mixture into four ½-inch-thick burgers, handling mixture as little as possible.
Place burgers in grill pan; cook 10 to 12 minutes or just until chicken loses its pink color throughout, turning over once. Serve burgers on buns with apple rings and cranberry sauce.
5. Chicken Sautéed with Apples
Apples also work well to flavor chicken breasts, especially when they’re combined with onion, garlic, and thyme. Real Simple has a recipe for Chicken Sautéed with Apples that yields 4 servings and takes 25 minutes of total cooking time. The food formula has you sauteeing your chicken in apple slices, apple juice, onion, garlic, and thyme, and you end up with a sauce that you can then pour over your poultry. This hearty chicken dish is one you’ll revisit time and time again, especially because it looks and tastes much more difficult than it is.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 firm apple, such as Braeburn, cored, halved, and cut into ½-inch slices
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Directions: Place each chicken-breast half between 2 sheets of wax paper, and pound with a meat mallet until about ¾-inch thick.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken until golden, about 3 minutes per side.
Add the apple slices, apple juice, onion, garlic, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Simmer, covered, 6 to 8 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender.
Remove the chicken, apple slices, and onion to a serving platter and keep warm.
Bring the sauce to a boil for about 5 minutes or until slightly reduced. Whisk in the mustard. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
6. Apple Cinnamon Pork Loin
As we saw with the aforementioned soup on our list, apples do a good job complementing pork, and when you add ground cinnamon to the mix, things really get tasty. Try this recipe from Paleo Leap for spiced pork, and see what we mean. It calls for the use of a slow cooker, but you also have the option of cooking your meat in the oven in a covered roasting pan. Into said pan will go the pork, apples, honey, cinnamon, and stock, and out will come a perfectly flavored supper that is savory but also has a touch of sweet thanks to the cinnamon-honeyed Fall fruit.
- 2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
- 3 medium apples, peeled and sliced
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 red onion, halved and sliced
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Cooking fat
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Season the pork to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Melt some cooking fat in a large skillet placed over a high heat, and brown the roast on all sides. Using a sharp knife, cut 3-inch deep slits into the pork. Insert the apple slices into each pork slit. Place half of the remaining apples in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the roast over the apples. Drizzle the honey on top of the roast, then add the onion and remaining apples. Add the chicken stock, and sprinkle everything with cinnamon. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
7. Apple Beef Stew
Our final recipe from Taste of Home yields another hearty dish that perfectly straddles the seasons. Take your apples from Fall, and make them into a wintry Apple Beef Stew that will serve and satiate 4 hungry eaters. This stew will look good, smell good, and most importantly, taste good, and the star ingredients include beef, butter, apples, cloves, and allspice. This stew is the perfect Sunday supper dish, so set it to simmer for 1½ hours before your dinner guests arrive. You’ll have some happy family and friends on your hands when you serve them this pot of comfort food, and it’ll take you all of 10 minutes of prep time.
- 2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons apple juice
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 whole allspice
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 2 medium apples, peeled and cut into wedges
Directions: In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, brown beef in butter. Add onions; cook until lightly browned. Sprinkle with flour and salt. Gradually add water and apple juice. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes.
Place the bay leaves, allspice, and cloves in a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth, and tie with string to form a bag. Add to pan.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1½ hours or until meat is almost tender. Add carrots and apples; cover and simmer 15 minutes longer or until the meat, carrots, and apples are tender. Discard spice bag. Thicken if desired.