As you may have understood I am a big fan of phyllo. It is easy to use, even if you do not roll or fold it perfectly, after baking, no one can tell. It is a great vessel for various healthy fillings such as spinach, or pumpkin or even onion. And the real phyllo contains no fats, it is just flour and a bit of cornstarch. And because it is so thin, it is an ideal “crust” for those watching their carb intake. This version of baklava in the form of a walnut roll is another easy healthy Mediterranean dessert that is vegan, contains no milk or eggs or butter.
The filling in these walnut phyllo rolls, is mostly walnuts and a bit of bread crumbs and the addition of the syrup adds a bit of sweetness to them. I have reduced the amount of syrup to just enough to provide sweetness (but not too much) and also crunchiness. And since there is no butter, but olive oil you get some more of those good fats both from the olive oil and the walnuts.
If you prefer to omit the syrup, you can add a bit of powdered sugar just before serving. These are great as is with a cold glass of water, but I specially like it as a topping over some good, thick Greek yogurt.
Syrupy Walnut Phyllo Rolls – Baklava Rolls
- 5 ounces walnuts (without the shell)
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for brushing
- 6 sheets of phyllo
For the syrup:
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat oven at 350 degrees F (180 C).
- Make the syrup by stirring ½ cup of sugar in ¼ cup of water in a sauce pan. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and stir. Set aside and let it cool.
- In a food processor pulse the walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, breadcrumbs and olive oil, until grainy (should not be chunky).
- Start folding the rolls. Spread a phyllo sheet and brush with a bit of olive oil, place a second sheet on top of the first one and brush with olive oil. Repeat with the third sheet until you have 3 sheets stacked on top of each other.
- Cut the sheets crosswise in half. Then cut each piece in 3 rectangles.
- Place about 1 heaping tablesppon of the filling on the top of each piece (on the short side).
- Now fold the sides in (like a burrito), and then roll tightly into thin logs, they will be about 4 inches long.
- Place in a pan tightly one next to the other.
- Repeat this with the other 3 phyllo sheets.
- Brush lightly with olive oil and bake until phyllo turn golden about 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and immediately pour the cold syrup over them.
- Let the rolls sit for at least an hour before serving, so that the syrup will soak in.
- Store at remove temperature, covered.
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Photos by Elena Paravantes© All Rights Reserved
I never made baklava as it appeared to be incredibly labor intensive. Made these yesterday for a Mediterranean inspired birthday/Fathers Day dessert. The only difficult thing was trying to work quickly with the phyllo, to avoid breakage. Everything else was a breeze! This dessert was the hands down favorite item! I had to send the leftovers home with family as they all requested, and I have remaining phyllo, so I can make more when we want. Thank you so much for a great and easy recipe!!
Thank you Andrea! Yes, you want yo make sure to keep the phyllo covered, but generally phyllo is quite forgiving.
What size phyllo sheets are you using?
So!! This has got to be one of the easiest recipes that looks super difficult!!! I made these on the weekend…gone in one afternoon!!! Soooo delicious and easy to make!! My first batch was with pecans as my daughter has an allergy to walnuts. Yummy!!! I just made a double batch last night with walnuts to hand out to my co-workers….big hit!!! “Also, made a few w/o the syrup and dusted with confectioners sugar…also delicious. Can’t say enough good things about these…going to add them to my go to list of awesome desserts. Thank you for sharing this!!
Love the individual roll idea. Question about the filo – are you using the 9×14 sheets found in traditional grocery stores or the larger size filo found in Greek specialty stores? Thanks!
Can you use butter in place of olive oil
Have you tried making this with honey in the syrup instead of sugar? Sweets are a real treat for us and I try to use either honey or maple syrup instead of refined sugar.
This version is already lightened quite a bit. Yes, it can be made with honey interchangeably.
This Baklava recipe looks amazing, wondering if you have a video of it, step by step?
Hi, they look really yummy! Could they be made then frozen? Just thinking about making some in advance, for Christmas.
Thanks! These have a long shelf life, so you could make it a week ahead of time. Or you can prepare the filling earlier. If you do freeze, prepare, and . let it cool completely before freezing, defrost overnight.However the texture is much better if you make and store at room temperature.
Would they store okay at room temperature if you made them the day before devouring?
Can pistachios be substituted for walnuts?
A quick note for correction, and a question, if I may! I believe the marks for Fahrenheit and Celsius are reversed for the oven temperatures given (350F and 180C). For clarification, are the phyllo sheets stacked before cutting? I’m thinking so, but I just wanted to be sure. In step 3-4, the sheets are spoken of individually, but the recipe only makes 16 rolls, so I’m guessing each ‘sheet’ that is cut in half and then quartered is actually 3 stacked sheets being treated as one? I make traditional baklava (with a not-so-traditional twist of maple syrup!) and I’ve also ‘cheated’ and used the frozen phyllo cups to make quick baklava bites. I’m intrigued by the addition of breadcrumbs and the use of olive oil — and the shape. Going to give this recipe a go for our candlelight service on Sunday. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for catching that Valerie! Regarding the sheets, yes they are stacked.
The walnut phyllo rolls look delicious, I will try to make them soon!
There is a great deal of promotion about coconut oil being very healthy.
I don’t know if it’s a food “fad” or if there’s sound nutrition behind it.
What is your opinion about the widespread use of coconut oil these days?
Hi Helen, Coconut oil is rising in popularity. It does have a high percentage of saturated fat (90%), higher than butter. A few studies have shown that it may raise the “good” cholesterol levels. However, there are still very few studies on this oil, so it an occasional use is what is recommended at this point. In relation to olive oil, apart from its fat content -mostly monounsaturated fats-, it is the antioxidants that it contains that really makes it one of the healthiest fats, if not the healthiest fat, as other oils do not have those antioxidants.