One of Mike’s very favorite Christmas treats is a mincemeat pie. I like them, too, but having completely given up gluten, wheat, and most other grains about 18 months ago, I figured it was a holiday pleasure I would no longer get to enjoy. Not only from just the gluten avoidance standpoint, but the stone ton of sugary carbs in traditional mincemeat pie.


I decided to surprise him with a gluten-free, somewhat lower carb version of which we could both enjoy a sliver. Take careful note of the lower carb moniker. Granted this recipe is lower in carb than the traditional, but it is definitely NOT LOW carb pie. What with all the hazmat reconstruction going on at Casa Eades, I didn’t have the time to make a homemade gluten free, low carb crust. The crust of this pie was a commercially-prepared, refrigerated, pre-formed, gluten free–but not low carb–product and there are about 24 grams in just the crust of one slice! Consequently, I wound up tasting the filling and not eating the crust. First, here’s is the recipe as pictured. And after, I’ll riff a bit about how it could become lower!

Gluten Free, Somewhat Lower Carb Mincemeat Pie
Serves 8

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered
8 ounces raisins
4 ounced dried figs, coarsely chopped
2 ounces dried cranberries, sugar-free
2 ounces beef suet, coarsely chopped
2 inches fresh ginger, grated
1/3 cup Swerve granular
1/3 cup xylitol
2 tablespoons Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
½ cup brandy
1 orange, for juice and zest
1 lemon, for juice and zest
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground clove
2 gluten-free pie crusts (store-bought or homemade)

1. Put all ingredients (except the crust) into the work bowl of a food processor and pulse about 10 to 12 times to chop coarsely (or more if you’d like less chunky.)
2. Put the mixture into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 days before using. (There isn’t much sugar in this one to preserve it like there is in traditional mincemeat filling.)
3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400F
4. If using store-bought crust:
a. slightly warm one crust to make it malleable enough to roll out
b. line the pie pan with the other crust
c. fill with the prepared mincemeat mixture
d. top with the second rolled-out crust, flute edges, trim and use trimmings to make holiday holly decoration
5. If making your own crust, you might consider my Simple Nut Crust or take a look here at a great recipe on a very helpful website called All Day I Dream About Food that if you don’t know about already, I think you’ll find a great resource for recipes both low carb and gluten free. It’s filled with yumminess!

So How Much Lower Is This Pie?
The carb content, even in this somewhat reduced version, is a splurge of mammoth proportions for a person truly cutting carbs. Each slice (8 slices of a 9 inch pie) tips the carb scale slightly north of 50 grams. And that’s far far too much for someone who is struggling at keeping control of blood sugar (diabetics and pre-diabetics) and will absolutely cause a metabolic stir in anyone with Syndrome X. Why, you can almost feel the insulin output, the fluid retention, the fuzzy thinking, the heart racing, the whoosh of calories flying into fat cells under insulin’s influence!

Not for me, thanks! So portion control is the still name of the game for this lower carb pie; even a sliver (about 1/3 of a slice) has 17 grams as prepared here. But at least they are 17 grams free of wheat flour and gluten. And refined sugars — this recipe eliminates the slug of sugar (about 100 more effective carb grams) found in the 6 ounces of dark brown sugar in the traditional recipe, which works out to a savings of about 12 grams per slice.

So it is decidedly NOT low carb.

How could you make it lower in carb and still seem like a mincemeat pie?

You could by flip the quantities of sugar-free cranberries and raisins — using 8 ounces of cranberries and only 2 ounces of raisins. The latter being the major remaining budget breaker, after eliminating the sugar, in this version — contributing 171 grams of effective carb to the total all by their lonesome. Recognize that this will no doubt make it a somewhat tarter pie and you may want to oonch up to amount of xylitol or Swerve you use to your own preference. The bottom line, though, is if you were to swap the proportions of the raisins and cranberries, you could save another 96 grams in the total pie, which would be another 12 g saved per slice. And with a low carb crust, such as the Simple Nut Crust or the almond flour pastry one on All Day I Dream About Food, you could save at least another 18 to 20. That would turn it into just 18 or 20 grams per slice, not over 50. Still a splurge, but a more manageable one for most folks.

However you low carb you wish to make it, here’s hoping you enjoy this (and all) holiday treats…as the beer commercials say…responsibly! And have a very happy and healthy New Year!


  1. Good Morning. I am so glad you posted this recipe. Not only will it help people enjoy more mincemeat, but it will allow me to ask a few questions I have had for a while… some one mincemeat and some on low-carb.

    Mincemeat: Where’s the meat? Traditional mincemeat has MEAT. It’s not like you’re avoiding animal products or animal fat, you got suet. So why no meat? Lamb, or my preference, Elk goes great in this kind of a recipe and would certainly up the volume and thereby lower the carbs. Further, more fat would be traditional, which would do the same. And most recipes call for vinegar. You can add a vinegar left from a pickle product, like “bread and butter” pickles or some such thing which helps the spices blend.

    Low Carb: I always wonder why people add so much artificial sweeteners? If you just do without much, or any, sweeteners for a while, it’s amazing what tastes sweet and how sweet it tastes. Further, don’t you think that tasting sweet on the tongue makes a difference in how the body metabolizes whatever you are eating? So how much good does it do for it to be carb/calorie free if you are priming your body to deal with sugars, even if you then do not provide a sugar? I am not an MD or chemist so I can’t answer that question from that standpoint, but I can say from a Chinese Medicine standpoint, you gain very little, if anything, by substituting a calorie/carb free sweet for a real sweet.

    In this particular recipe, of course you’re high sweet and carb if you add no additional sweeteners at all, even if you were to sub 1/4 volume for meat which would be a traditional amount. Oh, btw, you could use mostly currants with a little raisins, which would be more traditional yet and lower carb… not a lot, but some at least. And if you like your blend of cranberries with raisins, using currants instead of raisins would make it even lower carb. But what I am wondering is why do you have any sweetener in your pie crust? Many traditional wheat pie crusts do not have sugar. My pre-low-carb favorite Pate Brizee does not.

    I myself have been low-carb, very low carb most of the time, for over five years. I am an excellent cook, and I never have used an artificial sweetener in anything I have cooked in all that time. I cannot stand the taste of any artificial sweeteners and I don’t believe they have no affect on the body. I don’t like the effects of Stevia either. My sensitive patients report GI distress using Stevia also, do I do not recommend it either. I report this so you know it can be done… no artificial sweeteners and life continues… I think health is benefited.

    Thanks loads for all your hard work! May your New Year be Joyous!

  2. delicious and healthy – what a great combination! this pie can be an ideal food for all fitness enthusiasts out there.

  3. I like the low-carb option. I’m going to give this a try. Seems like an excellent post-workout meal.

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