Baklava, the classic Greek pastry, is made of layers of phyllo pastry drenched in butter and honey. Dreena Burton has created a vegan baklava recipe that’s just as delectable as the original with a few clever tweaks. Here’s what Dreena says about this heavenly dessert:
“One of my all-time favorite treats, baklava is crunchy, sweet, and sticky phyllo layered with a cinnamon-infused nut mixture that always hit the sweet spot! This version is big on flavor without the need for added oil or margarine. While commercial phyllo dough does contain oil, it’s a very small amount. This dessert can be a special occasion treat to impress guests, especially at parties and holidays.”
And yes, if you’re wondering, commercial phyllo (aka filo) dough is generally vegan; always read labels of the brand you find just to be sure.
This vegan baklava recipe is from Dreena’s Kind Kitchen: 100 Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes to Enjoy Every Day ©2021 by Dreena Burton, BenBella Books. Reprinted by permission. Photo: Angela MacNeil Photography. See also Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta from this book.
Dreena’s Kind Kitchen is available wherever books are sold
- ¾ cup almonds (see Note)
- ¾ cup pecans (see Note)
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 to 6 tablespoons refrigerated canned coconut cream (see Note)
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1/2 (1-pound) package frozen phyllo
- pastry dough, thawed
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons agave nectar or coconut nectar
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have an 8- by 11-inch baking dish ready.
- Put the almonds in a food processor and process until crumbly. Add the pecans and process until you have a fine nut meal. Add the remaining ingredients for the nut mixture and pulse.
- Wipe the inside of the baking dish with some of the coconut cream. Cut the phyllo dough to roughly fit the bottom of the dish (the sheets should fit into the bottom of the dish and not drape up the sides).
- In a small bowl, combine the almond meal and sugar (to sprinkle between the phyllo layers).
- Layer your phyllo sheets: Very lightly brush each of the first 2 sheets with coconut cream and sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of the almond meal mix. Layer on the third sheet and add 1/4–1/3 cup of the pureed nut mixture. Layer with another 3 sheets phyllo, again brushing the first 2 sheets with a touch of coconut cream and sprinkling with the almond meal mix, then adding the nut mixture after the third sheet. Continue this layering until all the nut mixture is used. (You’ll get 5 or 6 layers total.) For the top layer, use 3 to 4 sheets of phyllo and brush and sprinkle each layer. For the top layer, use a more generous amount of the coconut cream and a dusting of the almond meal mixture.
- Before baking, score the baklava in a diamond pattern or squares with a sharp knife, cutting into the baklava almost through to the bottom. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- When the baklava is mostly cooled, combine the nectar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Allow the syrup to come to a slow bubble over medium-low heat. Once bubbling, remove the syrup from the heat and slowly drizzle it over the cooled baklava. Try to distribute it fairly evenly rather than pour it all in one area.
- Allow the baklava to cool enough to cut into pieces along the score lines.
Nuts: For this recipe, the exact amount of each nut doesn’t really matter; you want a total of 1 1/2 cups of almonds and pecans, kept separate for processing; almonds are much harder than pecans, so it’s helpful to process them first, and then add the pecans once the almonds have become mealy.
Coconut Cream: Use regular (not light) coconut milk in this recipe. Before using, refrigerate the can overnight or for a few days. The thick cream will rise to the top and be easy to scoop and measure. Use only the thick cream (reserve the thin coconut milk for another use).
More about Dreena’s Kind Kitchen
From veteran cookbook author Dreena Burton comes a collection of 100 dependable and delicious plant-based recipes that everyone will love.
For more than twenty years, Dreena Burton has been creating plant-based whole-food recipes. Home cooks know they can trust her recipes to work—and to be delicious! No more scouring social media, sifting through food blogs, or flipping through every book on the shelf; this is a one-stop resource for recipes that are reliable, flavorful, and wholesome. Whether you need weekly staple meals or want a dish to wow for a special occasion, Dreena’s Kind Kitchen has you covered.
You’ll find a variety of breakfasts, salads and dressings, small bites, soups, entrées, and sweets, including:
- Potato-Cauliflower Scramble
- Truffle-Salted Nut Cheese
- Zucchini Fritters
- Seasoned Potato Squashers
- Smoky Caesar Salad & Potato Croutons
- A-Game Chili
- White Bean Corn Chowder
- ‘Quicken’ Noodle Soup
- Holiday Dinner Torte
- Fiesta Taco Filling
- Italian Ratatouille
- 1-Minute Alfredo
- Lentil Sweet Potato Meatloaf
- Charming Apple Crisp
Dreena also shares a cooking troubleshooting section so you can boost your kitchen skills. With helpful guidance on techniques, time-saving tips, and suggestions for repurposing leftovers into delicious new dishes, this dependable resource will boost your cooking confidence and help you find success in your own plant-powered kitchen.
Dreena Burton is one of the pioneering vegan cookbook authors. Vegan for 25 years, Dreena is also a mom to three “weegans.” She has charted her journey as a plant-based cook and mother of three through five bestselling cookbooks. Dreena has also collaborated with renowned plant-based physician Dr. Barnard on The Cheese Trap and coauthored their most recent Cookbook for Reversing Diabetes.
Dreena’s recipes have been featured with groups including PCRM, Forks Over Knives, Blue Zones, and The Food Network. Dreena was also the Culinary Coordinator with The Food Revolution Network’s Whole Life Club. Connect with Dreena’s online kitchen and community at dreenaburton.com.