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 recipe was originally posted on 10/07/2015 and updated 21/12/2019.