Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel

September 21, 2016

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Passed down for generations, Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel is a sweet and comforting side dish the whole family loves, especially with my healthier twists!

Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel is a sweet and comforting side dish traditionally served at Jewish holiday meals. Also known as noodle pudding or noodle casserole, this kugel can also be enjoyed for a sweet weekend breakfast. This version is a dairy-free, nut-free lightened up makeover of the classic. #Dairyfree #nutfree #noodlepudding #noodlekugel #jewishfood #kosher #vegetarian

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed me here that I love to cook, but when asked about my first cooking memories for this month’s Recipe ReDux, I was stumped.

First Cooking Recollections

Stir up some of your earliest culinary recollections. Did you stand at your grandmother’s elbow to learn to cook? Or did you learn by stumbling through a cookbook by yourself? Share a healthy recipe and the accompanying story about one of your first cooking memories.

I don’t really remember when I fell in love with cooking, but I do remember spending a lot of time in the kitchen with my mother when I was growing up. Most of that time was spent setting and clearing the table and helping dry the dishes, but we would sing and chat all the while so it was always fun and never felt like a chore.

I never really helped my mother cook, but I definitely watched and admired her ability to make huge pots of chicken soup, trays of stuffed cabbage, and the biggest roast turkey I’ve ever seen. And no one makes meatballs the way my mom does – they are so soft and tender without any dairy and since we keep kosher they also have no pork.

Needless to say, I always thought my mom was a great cook, and to this day there is nothing like the aroma in my parents’ house when they’re hosting a holiday meal or even just cooking up a traditional Shabbat (Friday night) dinner.

Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel is a sweet and comforting side dish traditionally served at Jewish holiday meals. Also known as noodle pudding or noodle casserole, this kugel can also be enjoyed for a sweet weekend breakfast. This version is a dairy-free, nut-free lightened up makeover of the classic. Get the recipe @jlevinsonrd.

That said, my mother doesn’t veer too much from traditional Jewish food, which isn’t always the healthiest, so it’s not too often that I make the classic recipes she would cook up. And when I do, have no doubt I will make some changes to healthify them just a bit.

With Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, right around the corner, I knew exactly what I would make for this month’s ReDux. The original recipe for this Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel has been in my family for many years – my mother’s mother, who I called Bubby, passed it down to my mother who passed it down to me and actually included it in my bridal shower recipe book in honor of my Bubby (see below).

Original Apple Noodle Kugel passed down from generations of women in my family

I absolutely love the original version of this noodle kugel – I can eat piece after piece of it –  but it’s not the healthiest recipe, and once I saw what actually went in it I knew there was room for improvement. And so, off I went to the kitchen to tweak it and make it just a little more nutritious while making sure it was still delicious.

Ingredients & Preparation

The new and improved version that I feed my family is definitely not as sweet as the original, but it is sweet enough and it’s higher in fiber too. If you look at the nutrition facts for the new recipe and the original (see the recipe below), you can see that my makeover has about 30% fewer calories, 40% less fat, 65% less saturated fat, 45% less sugar, and 50% more fiber than the original.

Here are the changes I made that account for all those nutritional differences:

  • Whole grain noodles instead of egg noodles
  • A combination of whole eggs and egg whites instead of all whole eggs
  • Half the amount of oil
  • Half the amount of sugar
  • Natural, unsweetened applesauce instead of original sweetened applesauce
  • No bread crumbs

Something I kept the same: Letting the top layer of noodles and the corner pieces get crispy! I’ve been known to pick a crunchy noodle off the top of my mom’s kugel if I’m there when it comes out of the oven piping hot. I may or may not also eat a whole corner piece before it’s served. I’m telling you, this is a recipe that memories are made of!

Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel is a sweet and comforting side dish traditionally served at Jewish holiday meals. Also known as noodle pudding or noodle casserole, this kugel can also be enjoyed for a sweet weekend breakfast. This version is a dairy-free, nut-free lightened up makeover of the classic. #Dairyfree #nutfree #noodlepudding #noodlekugel #jewishfood #kosher #vegetarian

If you’re not familiar with noodle kugel you may have heard of noodle pudding or noodle casserole. They’re pretty much the same thing, but Kugel is the Eastern European word for this Jewish dish.

What’s different about most noodle kugels compared to most noodle casseroles and puddings is that the kugel tends to be dairy-free, so you won’t find cottage cheese, ricotta, butter, or milk in my recipe, whereas you may in some others (for example, my friend Robin’s Noodle Kugel/Noodle Pudding). It actually irks me that my husband calls it noodle pudding, because this is not pudding!

Ok, enough about semantics, let’s get to the recipe!

Pin the Recipe

Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel is a sweet and comforting side dish traditionally served at Jewish holiday meals. Also known as noodle pudding or noodle casserole, this kugel can also be enjoyed for a sweet weekend breakfast. This version is a dairy-free, nut-free lightened up makeover of the classic. #Dairyfree #nutfree #noodlepudding #noodlekugel #jewishfood #kosher #vegetarian
5 from 9 votes
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Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel

Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel is a sweet and comforting side dish traditionally served at Jewish holiday meals. Also known as noodle pudding or noodle casserole, this kugel can be enjoyed for a sweet weekend breakfast. This version is a dairy-free, nut-free lightened up makeover of the classic.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Dairy-Free, Jewish, Nut-Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 -15
Calories 180 kcal
Author Jessica

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 pound whole grain wide noodles
  • 4 large eggs, whisked
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and more to sprinkle on top
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • 3 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to bake at 350° F. Spray a 9 X 13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook noodles for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse noodles with cold water to stop cooking.
  3. While noodles are cooking, whisk together eggs, egg whites, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, sugar, salt, and applesauce.
  4. Coat empty pot with oil, return noodles to pot and fold with oil and egg/applesauce mixture. Transfer noodles to prepared baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  5. Bake 45 to 50 minutes until the kugel is completely set and the noodles on top are slightly crispy and browned.

Recipe Notes

Current Recipe Nutrition Facts (per 1/15th of casserole):
180 calories, 4 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 34 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 7 g protein, 40 mg sodium, 50 mg Cholesterol

Original Recipe Nutrition Facts (per 1/15th of casserole):
260 calories, 7 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 43 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 22 g sugar, 7 g protein, 40 mg sodium, 110 mg cholesterol,

Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel is a sweet and comforting side dish traditionally served at Jewish holiday meals. Also known as noodle pudding or noodle casserole, this kugel can also be enjoyed for a sweet weekend breakfast. This version is a dairy-free, nut-free lightened up makeover of the classic. #Dairyfree #nutfree #noodlepudding #noodlekugel #jewishfood #kosher #vegetarian

Have you ever had cinnamon apple noodle kugel before?

What are some of your first cooking recollections?

Share with me in the comments below!
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    1. I love introducing people to new foods, especially ones that come from my traditions! Hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as my family does!

  1. Loved hearing the backstory behind this! I have a feeling this would get called “noodle pudding” at my house too lol! Will have to give this a try 🙂

  2. Your mom sounds like a wonderful cook! I remember growing up with kugel made out of potatoes, I can’t say I ever ate it lol! My aunts used quite a bit of butter and it always turned me off. I would definitely get on board with this recipe though- I have a sweet tooth and this looks right up my ally!

    1. Thanks Liz! She really is and I have her to thank for inspiring me to get in the kitchen – even if I do things differently! Potato kugel is the other popular kugel type in my family, but it was never my thing. No butter in ours, I just don’t really like potatoes unless they’re crispy! My mom’s noodle kugel is super sweet, but I think you’ll find my version sweet enough! Hope you try it!

  3. This post made me smile – for many reasons. My kids call my mom Bubbe…and I am known to pick all of the crunchy bits from our food before serving it to anyone. I love to pick off the plate constantly, lol. This version sounds delicious – I am a huge kugel fan.
    Quick kugel story – we are in the home town for a now-famous organic ice cream company and one year, he tried beta-testing “noodle kugel” flavored ice cream. Needless to say, the frozen noodle bits weren’t a big hit… lol.

    1. Haha…sounds like we’re 2 peas in a pod! So glad to hear you love kugel – hope give this recipe a try! And that story is hilarious! The cinnamon and apple would certainly be great in ice cream, but noodle bits?! I don’t know about that! Thanks for sharing and stopping by!

  4. Frankly, I’d be happy if this were not a sweet dish at all. Every noodle kugel I’ve ever tasted was way sweeter than I care for. I guess with the apples in it, there’s no getting around some sweetness. And I really do much prefer a pudding-y texture over those dense, heavy layers of pasta. I’ll have to consider making your version and see if it works for me. I’m just not into sweets so much as most people.

    1. Thanks for your comment and thoughts on this Naomi! I agree most noodle kugels are really sweet – I cut the sugar way down in my makeover and you could reduce it even more by not adding any sugar or reducing it again. I actually find this style lighter and less dense than other noodle puddings that are made with a custardy base filled with dairy. I’d be curious for you to try it and give me feedback!

    2. Naomi, I wanted to add that I just included the nutrition facts for the original kugel and my updated one so you can see the difference!

  5. Love hearing the background of this recipe! Food and cooking sure can conjure up memories can’t they? I’d never heard of a kugel before, but this sounds delicious and perfect for fall!

    1. Thanks so much Marie! It sure can! And I love learning about foods and food traditions that are unique and new to me! Hope you give this kugel recipe a try and see what the love of it is all about!

    1. Thanks so much Mona! That was the first change I made – I mean really no reason not to! And you and me both! My mother doesn’t have a set recipe so I haven’t been able to nail it yet. I honestly don’t know how she does it!

  6. Mama made a fleishic noodle kugle every Shabbat but I never wrote down the recipe and have not been able to reproduce the flavor I remember. My daugher-in-law makes a dairy kugel which half the family loves and the other half won’t eat. Can’t wait to make your cinnamon apple kugel for the “other half” of the family.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Linda. My husband grew up with dairy noodle kugel too, but it’s never felt traditional to me. Can’t wait to hear how you like my version!

  7. Is this a side dish or a dessert….i would love to try it..but not sure about the sweet side as a side
    Thank you and your memories are wonderful

    1. Thank you! I serve it as a side dish. It’s sweet, but has half the amount of sugar that my mother’s original recipe has. I’d love to know if you try it!

  8. […] row: Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel from Nutritioulicious, Shrimp Scampi Zoodle Pasta from Andie Mitchell, and Breakfast Pasta Bake […]

  9. Jessica- this looks so good! I also health-ify traditional recipes because otherwise oy vey ;)- some of the recipes are basically dessert. And because we have challah at the beginning of the meal, I usually prefer very few starchy sides. I love that the traditional recipe is used here with a healthy twist- hope to try it soon and maybe I’ll replace some applesauce with shredded apple. Shana tova!

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more Zahava! So many carbs at these meals, and most are refined – low in fiber and high in sugar. It’s great to hear that you enjoy making more traditional recipes in a healthier way. I hope you enjoy this kugel if you give it a try. Would love to know how it comes out with some fresh shredded apple. Shana tova to you as well!

  10. i have not heard of this dish but i do love cinnamon apple flavor here…maybe i will have to do this for brunch sometime.

  11. I need and have to make a variation of this. It sounds absolutely delicious and um, I am pretty sure your house smelt DELICIOUSSSSSSSSSSS while it was baking!

  12. Since Passover is on my mind and saw this recipe I was wondering if you have ever tried this recipe with the Kosher for Passover noodles. Also have you ever frozen this with good results or would it be better o make few days ahead and then reheated. Looking forward to your response

    1. Hi marsha, I’ve never actually made this cinnamon apple noodle kugel with passover noodles, although I imagine it would be fine to do so. As far as freezing it, I have frozen the kugel, and it defrosts just fine, but I do think it’s best when made fresh. You can even make it a day or two in advance and keep in the fridge and reheat. Good luck and please let me know if you try it!

  13. Id love to try and add either raisins or cornflakes to this

    Has anyone made both recipes and preferred 1 over the other more.
    I love traditional recipes but also dont want a dessert

    1. The original recipe from my mom is much sweeter than my made over version. I don’t consider it dessert, but it’s definitely more of a comfort-food side dish. Would love to know if you try it.

  14. Would it be okay to use your recipe, but do it with egg noodles. Also, reheat at what temperature and for how long? I have my eye on this for Break Fast at the end of Yom Kippur. Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Hi Paula, you can absolutely make it with egg noodles. The original recipe was made like that, I changed it to whole wheat egg noodles to boost the fiber and nutritional value. I would reheat it covered at 250 degrees. If it’s straight from the fridge you may need about 30 minutes to reheat, but if room temperature it will take less time. Personally I love it even at room temp! Have an easy fast and I hope you enjoy the recipe!