Treat Yourself To This Insanely Easy Vegan Baklava Recipe
If you've had occasion to enjoy delicious Mediterranean cuisine, you've likely come across (and subsequently devoured) baklava. This Greek and Middle Eastern dessert is comprised of countless thin layers of soft butter piled in between crisp Phyllo dough (kind of like croissant layers), then infused with honey, cinnamon, and nuts to make every single bite feel like heaven. This baklava recipe takes that classic dessert and puts a vegan twist on it, with minimal prepping and baking to make every step super easy. That way you can enjoy baklava no matter where you are, and it still tastes amazing! Once your bake is finished, pair it with some hot tea, coffee, or vanilla ice cream. Let's dig in!
What Is Baklava?
Baklava is a mouthwatering dessert of layered golden Phyllo sheets, with a drizzle of sugar syrup and a filling of cinnamon-scented crushed nuts. After the baklava is baked, the syrup is drizzled over it for the phyllo to absorb. This dessert can be too sweet for some people, but if you make a syrup with high-quality ingredients, then you will experience the brilliant crunchiness of this delicious dessert.
The iconic Arabic baklava recipe uses a pistachio filling, but there are many variations. Other fillings include hazelnuts, walnuts, or a combination of nuts.
The best thing about this easy vegan baklava recipe is how long it can be stored at room temperature or in the freezer. At room temperature, a batch of baklava can be stored for a week. In the fridge, baklava Desserts don’t go bad for at least 2 weeks. However, for people who love the crunchy texture, preparing fresh baklava is a good option. Storing it will deteriorate its texture and the dough will be dry.
How Do I Make Baklava Vegan?
With more and more people going vegan, it is only natural to design a recipe using vegan ingredients that is as delicious as the original one. Traditionally, the recipe for baklava uses honey and butter.
The phyllo dough is already vegan because it does not include any eggs or dairy. For a vegan Baklava, there are only two changes needed:
- Use plant-based butter instead of dairy-based butter.
- Use agave syrup or maple syrup instead of honey.
Vegan Baklava Recipe Ingredients
For the filling:
- 1 pound (455g) walnuts
- ¼ cup (50g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (60g) ground cinnamon
For the pastry:
- ½ cup (161g) maple syrup
- ½ cup (100g) sugar
- 1 cup (236g) water
- 16 ounces Phyllo dough, thawed
- 16 tablespoons (224g) plant-based butter, melted, 2 sticks
How To Prepare Your Vegan Baklava
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear. Add maple syrup. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Place the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse 10 - 12 times until the walnuts break into smaller pieces.
- Brush the bottom and sides of your baking dish with melted plant-based butter. Place your baking dish on top of the phyllo dough and cut the pastry to fit neatly into the dish. Stack roughly 15 sheets of dough in the baking dish and spread with ⅓ of the nut mixture. Place 10 more sheets and another ⅓. Repeat one last time to create three layers. Top with the remaining sheets of phyllo dough.
- Using a sharp knife pointed straight down, cut 5 straight rows. Turn the dish ¼ and cut 9 diagonal rows to create the diamond shape. Pour the melted plant-based butter over the top. Move the baking dish around to evenly distribute the butter. Let stand for five minutes. Then place into the oven for 40 - 45 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately pour the cooled maple syrup mixture over the top. The baklava will sizzle. This is desired. Cover and cool to room temperature before serving. I let mine sit out overnight.
Notes For Making This Vegan Baklava Recipe
Make-Ahead Instructions:After preparing baklava, you will need to cool it down till it reaches room temperature. Cut it into individual pieces and place them in a container. Store ahead on the counter for one week or in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
Freezer Instructions: That’s the grace of this delicious recipe. You can make it ahead of time and freeze this Lebanese Baklava for a maximum of 3 months. However, you will need to place the baklava in a freezer-safe ziplock bag or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Once wrapped, I recommend placing it in a freezer-safe storage container. This will prevent anything from bumping into it and cracking the delicate sheets. Before serving, make sure you thaw it at room temperature.
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Recipe and images used with permission, via Sinful Kitchen.