This vegan baklava may not be the classic ideal extolled in Greece, but it’s spectacularly close. It relies on a modest amount of agave syrup rather than copious quantities of honey for sweetness. What ensues is less cloying yet still altogether worthy of the gods. We daresay you won’t be disappointed. We certainly weren’t.–Renee Schettler

Three pieces of vegan baklava stacked on top of each other.

Vegan Baklava

5 / 3 votes
This vegan baklava recipe makes the sweet and nutty Greek classic with agave instead of honey, and uses pistachios, almonds, and walnuts for extra crunch.
David Leite
Servings36 servings
Calories133 kcal
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Chilling time1 hour
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes


  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 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


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Oil a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.
  • In a blender, blitz the brown sugar and cinnamon until finely ground and powdery. Transfer to a small bowl.
  • 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. Repeat with the pistachios and the almonds, combining each type of nut and 1/3 of the sugar mixture in a separate bowl.
  • Cover the phyllo sheets with a large piece plastic wrap, then cover that with a towel that’s barely damp.
  • Remove 1 phyllo sheet and place it on a clean work surface. Brush half the phyllo sheet 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 phyllo sheets, and the almonds. Layer the last 3 phyllo sheets on top.
  • Using a sharp paring knife, score the top layer of phyllo 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.
  • While the baklava bakes, in a small saucepan over high heat, combine the agave syrup, water, and lemon zest and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Remove and discard the zest.
  • Pour the syrup over the warm bakvlava when it comes out of the oven. Cover the baklava with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. (You can refrigerate the baklava, tightly covered, for about 2 weeks.)
Sweet & Easy Vegan Cookbook

Adapted From

Sweet & Easy Vegan

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Serving: 1 pieceCalories: 133 kcalCarbohydrates: 13 gProtein: 2 gFat: 9 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gTrans Fat: 1 gSodium: 32 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 8 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Robin Asbell. Photo © 2012 Joseph De Leo. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is, simply put, OMG delicious. My friends and family loved it. Comments included, “Soooo good,” “OMG,” and “Can I get the recipe?”

Although not an authentic baklava, this can very well replace the classic. In today’s health-conscious world, I find this vegan baklava recipe to be the perfect fit. 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.

Cut it up, put a frilly toothpick in, and you’ll have the best dessert at any potluck or family gathering. Be warned, you’ll be making this again and again, so look into getting nuts in bulk. It’s that good!

This recipe is what baklava dreams are made of. I love baklava, and even without the butter, this reads authentic all of the way. I had so much fun making this recipe

and eating it! This was a dessert splurge I won’t soon forget!

I used honey instead of agave, and the syrup was quite lovely and not overbearingly sweet! I also loved the scoring technique, it worked perfectly!

My family nibbled on this all week. I store this in the covered 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish which I baked it in and it kept nice and

crisp and stayed fresh tasting all week long.

Another excellent recipe which I plan to make again!

This vegan 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 had to use honey. Honey provides a gooey texture that agave syrup doesn’t seem to offer.

The baklava was simple to prepare, but the phyllo dough required 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 without massively tearing each sheet. Having extra sheets ended up being a good thing! 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!

I love baklava but never had the opportunity to make it myself. It wasn’t as complicated to make as I’d always assumed, it just took 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!

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.

We followed this recipe closely, using olive oil to brush whole wheat filo and honey instead of the agave syrup. The final dessert is deliciousness with lemon and toasty nuts and honey. Fun and easy to make with a child.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I rarely leave reviews but have to for this one. This is the most delicious treat I have ever cooked. I made it for a vegan Thanksgiving dinner not knowing how it would turn out but it was a massive hit!! All the guests loved it!!!! Thank you so much for sharing! And it was not that difficult to make—a little time-consuming, especially because my blender is not exactly suitable for grinding nuts, but it tastes heavenly. I should share the recipe with all my friends and this will go into my permanent recipe collection. Will try to upload a picture of the almost empty pan if I can. 🙂

    1. Neha, so lovely to hear that you love this vegan baklava as much as we do! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know. If you’d like to email your photo to me at I can have it uploaded with your comment. Again, thank you! Looking forward to hearing which other vegan recipes from our site you try!

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

      1. I’m a bit confused. Isn’t phyllo dough made similarly to puff pastry–with loads of butter? How is this vegan?

        1. dontctallmechef, no, classic phyllo dough is made with flour, water, a bit of oil, and sometimes vinegar.