This low sugar chutney recipe is less sweet than a conventional chutney, yet still retains that lovely tanginess which complements so many foods. This recipe is very quick and easy, so you could even make a jar whilst the rest of your dinner is cooking.
What is chutney?
Chutney is a savoury condiment made from fruit or vegetables. It has a distinctive sweet and sour taste, and is generally flavoured with a mix of spices or herbs. In India, chutneys are often served with curry, but this low sugar apple chutney is perfect paired with roast meat, cheese, or vegetarian dishes such as lentil burgers. The chutney adds a fruity, tasty tang to other foods.
What makes this apple chutney recipe healthy?
Looking at the nutritional information on a number of jars of supermarket chutney, many chutneys can contain up to half of their weight in sugar. That's nearly as much as a jar of jam! Some sweetness is part of a traditional chutney flavour, but it's possible to make a good low sugar chutney. This healthy recipe has just one tablespoon of honey for the whole jar, along with the natural sweetness of apples and onions.
Onions add a lovely savoury sweetness to the this recipe. You can use either white or red onions. Chop the onions fairly finely so that you don't have huge chunks in your homemade chutney. You want the onions to be browned in the recipe, as they'll add more flavour when they are a little caramelized.
Apples: I've used two types of apple in this recipe. The cooking apple will break down to a softer texture, making the sauce-like part of the chutney. Dessert apples keep their texture more when cooked, to provide some chunkiness. If you don't have a cooking apple, just use dessert apples, and cook for slightly longer. You don't need to peel the apples, as the peel will soften and provide a little texture. I cut the apples into cubes approximately 1 cm square. If you want your apple chutney to be a little chunkier, use bigger chunks, and cook for 5 or 10 minutes longer.
Olive oil, for frying, or you could use coconut oil if you prefer.
Flavour and seasonings
Apple cider vinegar and honey. These two ingredients add the classic sweet and sour flavour in this low sugar chutney. If you prefer, you could replace the honey with maple syrup. If you don't have apple cider vinegar, you could use another vinegar such as red or white wine vinegar.
Spices. Cinnamon, ground ginger and allspice all complement the sweet and sour flavour. You could also use fresh ginger and a cinnamon stick instead of powdered cinnamon if you prefer. As well as preserving food, spices such as ginger have health benefits. Ginger is great in the winter, as it is warming, and can help to boost circulation. It can also be used to help treat colds and flu. Read more about the health benefits of ginger.
Soy sauce is a great way to season apple chutney, and also darkens the colour slightly. If you don't want to use soy sauce, then replace it with another seasoning. You could use half a teaspoon of yeast extract, or even just salt and pepper.
If you like, you could add a handful of dried fruits such as sultanas. Or if you want to turn this into a Christmas chutney recipe, then use dried cranberries, or chopped dates.
Recipe tips for low sugar chutney
This is a very quick and easy chutney recipe. The first step is to brown the onions in the olive oil until they are slightly caramelized. Add the spices to the pan and fry for a couple more minutes to help bring out the flavour of the spices. Then simply add all the other ingredients, along with a tablespoon of water and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Just keep an eye on the pan, and give it an occasional stir to make sure that nothing sticks to the bottom. Leave to cool, and either store in a jar, or serve immediately.
Serving and storage
This low sugar chutney will store in a jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks. The low levels of sugar mean that it won't keep for months however, so if you want to store it for any longer, then freeze it in an airtight container.
Serve it alongside cold meats, cheese, or eat it with your burgers (see here for a delicious lentil burger recipe, or try it with turkey burgers). Low sugar apple chutney also makes a lovely Christmas gift if you store it in a pretty jar.
Low Sugar Chutney
- 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large cooking apple cored and cut into cubes
- 3 dessert apples cored and cut into 1 cm cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- Place a large lidded frying pan on a medium high heat. Add the olive oil and chopped onion, and fry for around 8 minutes until golden. Add the spices and fry for a couple of minutes more.
- Add the vinegar, honey, soy sauce, apples and tablespoon of water, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes until the apple is soft. Give it an occasional stir so that it doesn't stick to the pan.
- If you want to store the chutney, leave to cool and place in a jar in the fridge.
- If you don't have a cooking apple, use an extra dessert apple.
- For a vegan chutney, use maple syrup instead of honey.