I know that I’m biased to say this, but my mum makes the best baklava. Honestly, I’ve never had one that’s better than hers! Other’s are either super dry, flakey, the wrong flavours, have no flavour or are too sweet. I know that I’m onto a winner here with this 5 ingredient vegan baklava. Minimal ingredients, maximum flavour.
You can make it with different nuts, but the one that I have grown up eating was only with walnuts. This is the traditional Greek way of making it.
Baklava typically uses butter and honey/raw sugar as the sweetener. I decided to give it a go with macadamia oil and coconut sugar instead, and it was perfect.
A healthier version of the traditional baklava
I also chose to reduce the amount of sugar that is used in most recipes, as I find it to be too sickly sweet. You want the sweetener to accompany and enhance the flavours, not overpower them. I’ve heard they use up to 1 kilo for one tray of baklava. Now that’s a bit of a sugar overdose!
Using macadamia oil and coconut sugar helps to make this treat that little bit healthier and vegan-friendly. It’s loaded with calories but nowhere near as much. I’ll have to admit that I can easily eat a little more then I care to admit. It’s SO easy to lose count!
My mum was by my side when I was making this, so I made sure that I got every step right. It was a nice bonding experience for us.
I’ve been enjoying taking recipes from my childhood that have been vegetarian and transitioning them to a tastier, healthier and vegan version of the same dish and not compromising flavour.
How to make vegan baklava?
Here are the steps through photos so you can see what it should look like.
The images below are of what the layering of the walnuts should look like as you are building the pastry and walnut layers, and then what it should look like once it’s finished baking straight out of the oven.
The following demonstrate how the phyllo should be cut while it’s still hot and how it looks when you have poured the syrup over it and placed the cut lemon slices.
A few tips
- Make sure when you’re cutting the phyllo that you gently hold down the top layer as it may start to lift a little. Just press firmly with a sharp knife and keep cutting.
- Don’t use too much oil to coat each layer as it will become too soggy. On that note, also make sure to make the exact amount of the syrup as it will be too dry if there isn’t enough, or swimming in syrup if you use too much.
- If you don’t have enough walnuts, you can use almonds as well. I wouldn’t substitute completely as you won’t get the same amazing flavours.
- You can use melted vegan butter instead of the macadamia oil if you don’t have that oil on hand. The results will still be great. After all, the traditional baklava recipes all use butter.
This vegan baklava is nutty, light but dense, and full of flavour. Super simple to make and with only 5 ingredients, you'll be wondering why you haven't made it sooner!
- 4 cups walnuts
- 1 cup macadamia oil
- 375gr phyllo (filo) pastry (I used store bought or you can make your own)
- 2 cups coconut sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 lemon, cut into thin slices
- Preheat oven to 180C (360F).
- Oil the bottom of a baking dish around 23x33cm.
- Start off with blending half the walnuts in your food processor using an S blade and blend until it almost turns into a walnut meal. Add in the other half of the walnuts and pulse until you have some smaller chunks of walnuts left. I like to have some chunkier bits in here to have a more textured baklava.
- Place 2 sheets of the phyllo on the bottom of the baking dish, leaving the sides to hang out of the dish a little.
- Using an oil brush, oil the phyllo pastry and sprinkle evenly with 1 1/2 tbsps of walnuts. Make sure to also get some in the corners.
- Fold one sheet of the phyllo in half and place on top. Coat this layer with macadamia oil.
- Continue this process of layering until you have run out of walnuts. You may have one sheet of phyllo left over at the end.
- To finish it off, top with 2 phyllo sheets and tuck and overlap the phyllo on the sides. Coat with macadamia oil and place in the oven.
- Bake for 50 minutes until the top of the phyllo becomes golden brown (as pictured in image above).
- While the baklava is baking, place the coconut sugar and water in a saucepan and stir over a low-medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a gentle simmer for 7-10 minutes. You can cook it for longer if you want a thicker sauce. Make sure you don't reduce it too much as you will need it to seep into the pastry.
- Once the pastry is done, cut it into diamond shapes (as demonstrated in image above) while it's still hot. Pour 3/4 of the syrup over the baklava aiming to get it in between the cut sections.
- Place the slices of lemon on top and pour the rest of the syrup over.
- Set aside to cool completely before serving.
- You can eat the lemon if you wish but it's more there for that extra flavour whilst it cools and it looks pretty!
This recipe was originally posted on 10/07/2015 and updated 21/12/2019.
Other sweets you’ll love:
- Vegan Semolina Cake with Lemon Syrup
- Vegan Chocolate Crepe Cake
- Nut and Date Stuffed Apples
- Easy Vegan Tiramisu (Gluten-Free)
Interested in more recipes?
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