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Middle Eastern Dessert Gets Healthy Breakfast Makeover- Baklava Granola

posted on: Sep 26, 2018

By: Blanche Shaheen/Arab America Contributing Writer

When my mother would make baklava for us as children, she knew we could scarf down a batch of the sticky sweet filo confection within a week. Unfortunately, my metabolism has slowed over the years, and now as an adult, I just can’t get away with that anymore. Since then I  have been on a mission to transform some of my favorite Middle Eastern desserts, like baklava, into more healthful snacks. Hence this recipe for Baklava Granola was born.

Granola often gets a bad rap, as many store-bought varieties contain too much-saturated fat, sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup. Instead of saturated fat from butter or hydrogenated oils, this Baklava Granola features a nutritious dose of good fats from nuts and coconut oil. Coconut oil contains approximately 50 percent lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that boasts antiviral and antimicrobial properties, not to mention a fragrant smell and tropical flavor. You can substitute any kind of nut or seed butter for the almond butter, which creates a rich binding agent for the oats.

This granola gives sustained energy while satisfying cravings for sweets without the sugar rush of traditional baklava. Instead of adding a cup of sugar like many traditional recipes, I use a much smaller amount of antioxidant and mineral rich honey or maple syrup. Baklava is traditionally sweetened with honey, but you can substitute part or all of the honey with maple syrup if you prefer. Pistachios, cinnamon, and cloves round out the baklava flavor. I usually sprinkle Baklava Granola over a mixture of Greek yogurt and berries. However, you can eat the granola with milk like you would a traditional breakfast cereal.

For a tutorial on making Baklava Granola, click on the video below:


  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 250 F. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the first six ingredients and set aside. In a small saucepan, stir together almond butter, maple syrup or honey and coconut oil over low heat. Once the mixture is smooth, pour over dry ingredients in mixing bowl and stir until well incorporated.

Spoon the granola mixture evenly on large cookie sheet and bake 45 minutes. Remove the granola from the oven and stir carefully to ensure even browning. Return to oven for another 45 minutes. Cool before serving. Store granola in a container for up to two weeks.


Blanche Shaheen is a journalist, food writer, and host of the cooking show called Feast in the Middle East. She specializes in Arab cuisine of the Levant and beyond  You can check out her cooking video tutorials and cultural commentary on growing up Arab American at    Her recipes can also be found at

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