Filo Pastry is often overlooked by pastry lovers, but with some good olive oil or vegan butter to crisp up all the lovely layers, you can make some spectacular Vegan Filo Pastry Recipes.
All these delicious Vegan Filo Pastry Recipes are easy to make, with an array of tasty fillings. From tasty little appetizers and canapes, through to fancier pies and main dishes, and of course sweet treats including everyone's favourite baklava. You'll be amazed at how versatile this thin pastry is to work with, and how many delicious dishes it can make.
What is Filo Pastry?
Filo Pastry, also known as Phyllo Pastry, is a very thin pastry made with flour, water and a little vegetable oil. It's rolled extremely thinly, then commonly used in layers with some kind of oil or melted butter between the layers to form a crust or casing for both savory and sweet fillings.
Making filo pastry from scratch takes skill and patience with the dough needing to be rolled out very thinly to be used. Nowadays however, we can pick up pre-made dough in packets from the supermarket and grocery stores, ready to be used in all kinds of ways.
Because of the way it is made, filo pastry is usually suited to vegans and vegetarians as it typically contains no animal products such as butter or egg. Be sure to check the package when purchasing to be sure.
No one really knows the exact origins of filo pastry, however it is commonly found in desserts such as baklava, common throughout the Middle East, as well as in savory dishes such as Börek, a pie common in the Balkans and Middle East, as well as Pastiz (Malta) and many many other dishes throughout the Balkans, Middle East, Greece and Turkey.
I love using filo pastry in all kinds of vegan dishes. From appetizers and mains, through to desserts. Here are some of my favourite vegan ways to use filo dough!
Appetizers, Canapes and Snacks
Filo pastry is delicious when the sheets of dough are given a gloss of olive oil, then folded into parcels. Here you can find everything from a vegan spanakopita recipe, made with tofu, nutritional yeast and a spinach mixture, or spicy samosa style parcels stuffed with potatoes and chickpeas.
Main Dishes and Pies
Here you'll find some innovative uses of filo pastry made into pies and tarts. There is a vegan version of Borek, which has it's origins in Balkan Cuisine, Spanakopita , a Greek Pie and even a festive Christmas pie that has been layered with butternut squash and mushrooms.
Sweet Treats and Baklava
Probably one of the most famous sweet treats made with filo sheets is baklava. Here you'll find several different vegan baklava recipes, as well as strudel, rich with cherries and vegan cream cheese, plus a sweet Greek pie made with squash and cute little mini apple pies.
Tips and Hints for working with filo pastry:
- Choose pastry that is fresh. Filo pastry dries out very quickly, so don't expect pastry that has been left in the freezer for months to work as well as fresh bought pastry.
- When working with filo dough, work quickly and cover the dough you are not using with a damp cloth to prevent it drying out.
- Use a pastry brush to evenly distribute the olive oil or melted vegan butter over the filo sheets. Be sure to put an even thin layer of oil or butter between each sheet of dough for the best, flaky golden crust.
- If you are using frozen filo pastry, make sure to thoroughly thaw before using. It tends to shatter when frozen, making it difficult to shape.
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