These vegan gluten-free Maamoul are one of my favourite things to eat! This is my take on the traditional recipe with no added sugar and naturally sweetened only with whole dates. Packed with aromatic flavours like cardamom and cinnamon – if you’ve never tried Maamoul before, this is your sign to make them! 

Vegan Gluten-free Maamoul

What is Maamoul?

Maamoul is a traditional Middle Eastern dessert that is popular in many countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and other parts of the Middle East. It is typically enjoyed during festive occasions and holidays, especially during religious celebrations like Eid, Christmas and Easter.

They’re small, shortbread-like cookies/pastries that are often filled with sweet fillings, such as dates, nuts (typically walnuts, pistachios, or almonds), or occasionally other ingredients like coconut or chocolate. The dough is traditionally made from a mixture of semolina or fine wheat flour, butter/ghee, sugar, and sometimes rosewater or orange blossom water for flavour. The dough is mixed and shaped into intricate moulds, which give the cookies their distinctive designs and patterns. 

Why you need to try this vegan gluten-free Maamoul:

The traditional way of making Maamoul is perfect, but if you needed it, my version is vegan, egg-free, gluten-free and has no added sugar. All the sweetness comes from the whole dates in the filling. Dates are naturally high in sugars, so I didn’t feel the need to add any extra sweetness. 

The date filling is simply made up of dates, water, sesame seeds as well as cinnamon, cardamom and salt for flavour. The dough is a simple mixture of rice flour (or plain flour for a non gluten-free version), ground almonds, coconut oil (or you can use butter) and milk (dairy or dairy-free milk will work). This mixture creates a shortbread like texture without any added sugar. 

My version of Maamoul is also slightly healthier than the traditional recipe since I don’t add sugar + I replace some of the flour with ground almonds for some healthy fats and fewer carbs.

Vegan Gluten-free Maamoul

What you need to make the filling for these vegan gluten-free Maamoul:

Dates – I like to use Palestinian Medjool dates as they’re soft and fudgy, so don’t take long to cook into a paste. You can use other types of soft dates. If your dates are on the drier side, you may need to add more water while cooking. 

Spices – I love using cardamom particularly when using dates in a dessert as the flavours match perfectly. I also love adding cinnamon. Both spices help bring out the sweetness of the dates (like vanilla does do in baking), as well as adding lots of fragrant aromas. You can of course skip them if you don’t like either/both. 

Sesame seeds – again, sesame seeds just seem to go so well with dates. They add a lovely nutty flavour that complements the dates perfectly. They’re also a great source of healthy fats and fibre, so why not?

Salt – to enhance all the flavours

What you need to make the dough for these vegan gluten-free Maamoul:

Flour – I used rice flour to make them gluten-free, but the recipe will also work with plain flour. I haven’t tried using other types of flour, so I can’t say for sure if other substitutes will work. 

Ground almonds – adds lots of moisture making the dough soft and crumbly, as well as a nutty flavour.

Coconut oil – this is needed to help bind the dough together when baking as well as adding more moisture and richness to it.

Milk – I usually use oat or almond milk, bur any kind will work – dairy or dairy-free. 

How to make these these vegan gluten-free Maamoul:

  • Start by making the filling – add the dates and water to a pan and cook over a low/medium heat whilst mashing the dates with the back of a wooden spoon. You’re looking for a smooth paste that you can roll into balls.
  • Fold in the sesame seeds, spices and salt, then allow to cool down completely.
  • In the meantime make the dough by mixing the flour, ground almonds and salt in a large bowl.
  • Add the coconut oil and milk and mix to form a dough. Divide into 13-14 balls (depending on the side of your Ma’amoul mould).
  • Divide the date mixture into smaller balls compared to the dough balls, so there’s enough of the dough to fold around the date mixture.
  • Take each dough ball, flatten, place a date ball in the middle, then wrap the dough around the filling.
  • Press gently into a Maamoul mould, then invert and tap the front edge of the mould onto a hard surface like a kitchen counter to get the cookie out.
  • If you don’t have a mould, simple press the date filled dough slightly.
  • Arrange on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

These vegan gluten-free Maamoul are:

  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Egg-free
  • Made with no added sugar
  • Only sweetened with whole dates
  • Easy to make
  • Packed with flavour

Vegan Gluten-Free Maamoul

These vegan gluten-free Maamoul are one of my favourite things to eat! They have no added sugar and naturally sweetened only with whole dates. Packed with aromatic flavours like cardamom and cinnamon - if you're never tried Maamoul before, this is your sign to make them!Β 
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine middle eastern
Servings 14
Calories 152 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the date filling

  • 200g Medjool dates*
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

For the dough

  • 100g rice flour** or plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 60g coconut oil, melted or butter
  • 4-5 tbsp milk of choice

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/ 350F.
  • Start by making the filling – add the dates and water to a pan and cook over a low/medium heat whilst mashing the dates with the back of a wooden spoon. You're looking for a smooth paste that you can roll into balls.
  • Fold in the sesame seeds, spices and salt, then allow to cool down completely.
  • In the meantime make the dough by mixing the flour, ground almonds and salt in a large bowl.
  • Add the coconut oil and milk and mix to form a dough. Divide into 13-14 balls (depending on the side of your Ma'amoul mould).
  • Divide the date mixture into smaller balls compared to the dough balls, so there's enough of the dough to fold around the date mixture.
  • Take each dough ball, flatten, place a date ball in the middle, then wrap the dough around the filling.
  • Press gently into a Maamoul mould, then invert and tap the front edge of the mould onto a hard surface like a kitchen counter to get the cookie out.
  • If you don't have a mould, simply press down the date filled dough slightly.
  • Arrange on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Notes

* You can use other types of soft dates. If your dates are on the drier side, you may need to add more water while cooking. 
** You can also use plain flour. I haven't tried any other types of flour to make this recipe, so I can't say for sure if any other substitutions will work. 

Nutrition

Calories: 152kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.001gSodium: 50mgPotassium: 160mgFiber: 2gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 22IUVitamin C: 0.04mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg
Keyword dairy-free dessert, date recipes, dates, egg-free, gluten-free cookies, gluten-free dessert, healthy cookies, middle eastern recipes, no added sugar, vegan cookies
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