Vegan Baklava with Rosewater Syrup and Pistachios

by Adam Sobel

This divine baklava recipe features layers upon layers of crispy, golden-brown phyllo pastry that is generously stuffed with a delicious pistachio filling, scented with aromatic cardamom. After baking, this exquisite treat is then soaked in a sweet syrup flavored with rosewater that perfectly balances out the nuttiness of the pistachios. Sprinkled with dried rose petals and bright green ground pistachios, the end result is a mouthwatering and visually stunning dessert that is sure to be a hit with vegans and non-vegans alike. Check out the complete step-by-step guide to making this Vegan Baklava with Rosewater Syrup and Pistachios, along with information about modifying it to suit different dietary needs. This recipe was contributed by Chef Adam Sobel from The Cinnamon Snail, a vegan and kosher caterer located in New Jersey.


1 pound phyllo dough

1 cup sugar (my preference is evaporated cane juice)

⅔ cup water

⅓ cup maple syrup

1 ½ teaspoons rosewater

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup dried rose petals

1 lb. unsalted shelled pistachios (about 3 ¼ cups)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

¾ cup vegan butter, room temperature

  1. Thaw phyllo dough to refrigerator temperature if it is frozen, by keeping it in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).
  3. Place the sugar, water, maple syrup, rosewater, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring it up to a boil over a high flame. Once bubbling, turn off the flame under the pot and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  4. Place the pistachios, cinnamon, and cardamom into a food processor and grid for about 60 seconds to form a coarse meal. Do not process so long that the nuts start turning into nut butter. Take out ¼ cup of the ground pistachios and reserve them to the side to garnish the baklava with later.
  5. Roll out the phyllo dough and cut it down the middle to make two short rectangles.
  6. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a ¼ sheet baking pan or 9X13 baking dish using a brush.
  7. Spread two sheets of phyllo dough out on the bottom of the baking pan, and brush with vegan butter. Repeat adding and buttering phyllo sheets, two at a time until there are 8 sheets on the bottom of the pan.
  8. Spread out ⅓ of the ground pistachios from the food processor evenly over the phyllo base. Add 2 sheets of phyllo on top of the ground nuts, butter them and then add another ⅓ of the ground pistachios. Continue like this until all of the filling is used up. Add the final sheets of phyllo dough to the top, buttering every two layers until all remaining phyllo sheets are used up.
  9. Butter the top sheet of phyllo well. It should look wet and shiny with melted butter.
  10. Cut the baklava into 6X4 rows, either into squares or diamond shapes with a very sharp knife. This should result in 24 servings. Make sure the knife cuts all the way through to the bottom with every cut.
  11. Place the baklava into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
  12. Remove the baklava from the oven, and pour the sugar syrup over it. While the syrup absorbs, use a sharp knife to carefully re-cut everywhere you had cut before it was baked. This step is important so that the syrup penetrates into all of the layers. If any syrup pools up in the corners, spoon it back over the top to evenly saturate the whole tray.
  13. While the baklava is still hot and sticky, sprinkle each piece with a little dash of ground pistachios and a couple of pieces of dried rose petals.
  14. Allow the baklava to cool to room temperature before serving.

  1. Phyllo dough dries out SUPER quickly because it is thinner than most paper. I recommend keeping it rolled out flat under a very slightly damp kitchen towel between using it. Even though you will only be leaving it for a moment here and there, you would be surprised how dried out it gets if you don’t cover it this way.
  2. This Vegan Baklava with Rosewater Syrup and Pistachios recipe was contributed by Chef Adam Sobel from The Cinnamon Snail, a vegan and kosher caterer located in New Jersey. Find more of Adam’s recipes on Facebook and Instagram.

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