This healthful vegan version of the traditional Mediterranean dessert offers plenty of sweetness without bee-exploiting honey, or dairy. Packed with three different kinds of heart-healthy nuts, shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and thought to add to longevity, Nutty Vegan Baklava is a favorite with dessert-lovers who want good health and freedom from animal cruelty without sacrificing pleasure.
Here’s how to make this stellar dessert:
1 1/2 cups finely chopped raw almonds
1 1/2 cups finely chopped raw cashews
1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup non-dairy, no-trans-fats margarine
1/4 cup sunflower or safflower oil
1 pound box filo dough
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons orange zest
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Mix chopped nuts with cinnamon. In a separate bowl, melt margarine and combine with oil.
2. Remove filo dough sheets and unroll, dividing into three stacks. Dip a pastry brush into the margarine-oil mixture and lightly brush it onto a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.
3. Place the first stack in the baking dish, and lift the sheets to brush with the margarine-oil mixture on every second sheet. Sprinkle with a third of the nut mixture. Take half of the second stack of filo and repeat the procedure until you end up with the last stack of filo. Brush remaining margarine-oil mixture over top.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 300F and bake for another 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat maple syrup, orange juice, lemon juice, and lemon and orange zest, and simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Let baklava cool just enough to cut into 24 pieces. Pour the warm maple syrup mixture over the sliced baklava while still warm. You may serve it slightly warm or at room temperature.
Serves 15 to 20.