Vegan Baklava

Vegan Baklava Recipe

Baklava is a perfect candidate for veganization. The classic pastry is usually made with butter and a copious amount of syrup made with white sugar and honey. This version is lighter and less syrupy sweet, creating a more healthful, nutty dessert that everyone can feel good about enjoying.–Robin Asbell

LC Confession Note

Okay. We have a confession. This baklava recipe is not traditional. Not at all. Also, as stated above, it’s vegan. And it’s super swell with three nuts instead of one and agave syrup in place of honey. Although you can make amendments as you see fit, using sugar in place of Sucanat, swapping butter for olive oil, and relying on honey and not agave syrup. Any way you make it, we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Vegan Baklava Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • Makes 36 pieces


  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar or Sucanat
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds
  • 12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil or melted coconut oil, plus more for the pan
  • 1 cup agave syrup (or, for a non-vegan version, honey)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • Zest from 1 large lemon, preferably organic, removed in 1 long strip


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Oil a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.
  • 2. In a blender, blitz the brown sugar or Sucanat and cinnamon until powdery. Transfer to a small bowl.
  • 3. In the blender or a food processor, pulse the walnuts until mostly finely chopped but still a bit chunky. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1/3 of the sugar mixture. Do the same for the pistachios and the almonds, dumping each mixture into a separate bowl.
  • 4. Cover the phyllo sheets with a large piece plastic wrap, then cover that with a towel that’s just barely damp. Remove 1 sheet and place it on a clean work surface. Brush half the surface with olive or coconut oil. Fold the sheet in half and place it in the prepared pan, then brush the top with oil. Repeat with 2 more sheets. Scatter the walnuts over the phyllo in an even layer. Repeat the layering with 3 more sheets phyllo, the pistachios, 3 more sheets phyllo, and the almonds. Layer the last 3 sheets phyllo on top.
  • 5. Using a sharp paring knife, score the top layer of phyllo sheets across the short side of the pan to form 6 strips. Next, score the phyllo diagonally from corner to corner, and then score parallel to that line 2 times on each side. (Or if that just completely confused you, just cut it into squares or triangles however you wish.) Bake for 40 minutes, until the phyllo is lightly golden and crisp.
  • 6. In a small saucepan, combine the agave syrup, water, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then remove and discard the zest.
  • 7. Pour the syrup over the pastry. Cover the baklava and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, the baklava will keep for about 2 weeks.
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Testers Choice

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Testers Choice
Shannon Parrish

Dec 11, 2013

This baklava is delicious! While traditional baklava uses solely walnuts, the addition of pistachios and almonds adds tremendous flavor. I used regular phyllo dough and light olive oil and loved the results. I found that I needed about 1/4 cup additional olive oil to complete the layers. I was tempted to use agave syrup as the recipe indicated, but in the end I couldn’t skirt tradition and I had to use honey. Honey provides such a gooey texture that agave syrup doesn’t seem to offer. The baklava was simple to prepare, but admittedly the phyllo dough requires quite a bit of patience. When I purchased the box of phyllo, I was concerned that there were 20 sheets, almost double what the recipe calls for, as I didn’t want to be wasteful. What I later realized, however, was that I needed almost all 20 sheets in order to get the hang of handling and assembling it without massively tearing each sheet. It ended up being a good thing having the extra! I’m still not completely sure that I followed the cutting instructions correctly. The truth is, however, that it’s so good, nobody is going to even notice how it’s cut. So delicious!

Testers Choice
Anna Scott

Dec 11, 2013

I love baklava but I'd never had the opportunity to make it myself. It wasn't as complicated to make as I had always assumed, it just takes a bit of time and quality ingredients. I liked that this recipe was lightened up. I used half agave and half honey for the syrup, because that's what my pantry dictated, and it was a nice balance of flavors and sweetness. And how clever to use three different variety of nuts here! I liked the variation and the flavors of these three nuts in the dessert. To tell you the truth, I didn't think there would be enough of the gooey, honey-flavored sauce when I was pouring it over the top of the baklava, but after it sat in the fridge for a while, the sauce soaked into the different layers and oh my, it was crisp on top and each layer of nuts was perfectly flavored. I truly enjoyed making this classic confection and will keep this recipe tucked away in my recipe folder to make again soon!

Testers Choice
Lori Widmeyer

Dec 11, 2013

I make baklava a few times each year, but as with any recipe, I always enjoy finding a better-tasting version or a simpler process. This is definitely simpler than my current recipe and was equally well received. The final product was also not at thick as my usual recipe, which made it a little easier to eat. The flavor combination of the three nuts was great, but next time I think I'll just mix the nuts together in order to have fewer dirty dishes and steps. I’ll also toast the nuts first, and I may even add a tiny amount of butter to the nuts to help them bind together more.

Testers Choice
Gene C.

Dec 11, 2013

In today's health-conscious world, I find this recipe to be the perfect fit. This is, simply put, OMG delicious. Although not an authentic baklava, this can very well replace the classic and it comes guilt-free. The use of the three varieties of nuts as opposed to all walnuts gives an added dimension and flavor. I used shelled, salted pistachios and found the savoriness a great complement to the sweetness. I found all the ingredients in the local supermarket. I used agave, brown sugar, and phyllo made with wheat flour. My friends and family loved it. Comments included, “Soooo good,” “OMG,” and “Can I get the recipe?” Cut it up and put a frilly tooth pick in and you have the best dessert at any potluck or family gathering. Be warned, you'll be making this again and again, so look into getting the nuts in bulk. It's that good!

  1. Andreina says:

    I have a question, would the phyllo dough be gluten-free? (I dont think so, but I rather ask.)

    • David Leite says:

      Hello, Andreina. No it wouldn’t be. You’d need to purchase that product specifically, if it’s sold, or make it. There are many recipes on the Internet for gluten-free phyllo, but I can’t recommend any because we haven’t made them ourselves.

  2. sara says:

    Would you be able to use maple syrup in this recipe?

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Sara, we didn’t test the baklava with maple syrup though I’ve seen many recipes that use it in place of the agave or honey. Give it a try and let us know how it turns out.

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