Horchata is a cold, creamy, usually dairy-free drink often made with rice, cinnamon, sweetener, and water. Some recipes add almonds or other nuts and even cows’ milk for a richer, creamier beverage. I can’t believe how easy it is to make at home using leftover rice! By using cooked rice instead of raw rice, you can skip the planning ahead, soaking, waiting, and straining of traditional horchata recipes. This is my new favorite something-for-nothing recipe, a real bargain at only 34 cents a glass using organic ingredients.
My Taster and I used to stop for fajitas and horchata on the way back from visiting his parents in Florida. Now I can have this cinnamon-scented creamy drink any time, in a glass with ice or just poured over cereal. It’s a perfect non-alcoholic drink to serve with Spanish or South American meals.
Recipe for Organic Horchata Made with Brown Rice
Active time: 5 minutes. Total time: 5 minutes. Makes one quart, serves 4. Vegan and gluten free.
Cost: 34 cents a glass using organic ingredients.
2 cups water
1 cup cooked organic brown rice (I use California basmati)
1/4 cup agave syrup or 1 quarter cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for topping if desired
2 cups ice cubes
- Put all ingredients except ice into a blender, cover, and process on high until smooth, about one minute for a high-speed blender like a Vitamix and about 3 minutes for a regular blender.
- Add ice and process until nearly smooth again, with just small ice fragments remaining, about 30 seconds for the Vitamix and a minute or two for a regular blender. Taste and add spices or sweetener until the horchata rocks your world.
- Serve over ice, topped with a little extra cinnamon if desired. If not serving immediately, pour horchata into a pitcher, refrigerate, and stir before serving.
- Agave syrup is a low glycemic sweetener made from the leaves of agaves, the spiky dessert plants used to make tequila. I like the smoky flavor it adds to the horchata, but if you find the horchata bitter, try using sugar instead.
- For creamier horchata, add 1/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews and a pinch of cardamom in step 1. If you have time, wait for 30 minutes to 4 hours before the final blend in step 2 so cashews can soften. (Waiting matters more with a regular blender.) Double the blending time in step 2.
- Because rice can have high levels of arsenic, soak it before cooking, cook in a lot of water, and limit your intake (learn more here). Adults can have about 3 glasses of horchata a week and children 1 glass. Drink less if you are having rice in other ways too or eat industrially raised chickens or turkeys.
- If you are using a regular blender and the cashew option, your horchata may be a bit grainy. If so, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer, cheese cloth, or even a clean nylon stocking into another container to filter out any unblended bits. Add the bits to your Stoup container.
Nutritional information (1 serving or 1/4 recipe):
Protein 2 grams (4% daily value), total fat: 1 gram (1%), cholesterol 0 grams, total carbohydrates 29 grams (10%), dietary fiber 1 grams (4%)
Calcium 15 mg (2%), iron trace (3%), potassium 54 mg (2%), zinc 1 mg (4%), Vitamin C trace (0%), Vitamin A 23 IU (0%), Vitamin B6 0.1 mg (6%), Thiamin B1 0.1 mg (6%), Riboflavin B2 trace (1%), Folacin 5 mcg (1%)
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