Horchata! In recent news, this cinnamony rice-based drink was named the world’s most refreshing beverage… by me. I always used to love cold horchata during these hot summer months, that is, until I switched to a plant-based diet and store-bought versions of this drink (which all contain dairy) went out the window. Thus, I crafted a healthy, plant-based version of this refreshing beverage that is equal parts creamy and delicious. And you can actually feel good about drinking it.
In typical One Ingredient fashion, we’re removing most of the sugar and processed ingredients and making a few unique substitutions. This horchata recipe is endlessly creamy, but there’s no dairy. Instead, we’re using soaked cashews (see How to Make Cashew Milk). Also, that 1/2 cup of white sugar in most horchata recipes will be replaced with a handful of medjool dates, which add a nice caramely sweetness. Oh yes.
Makes about 4 cups
- 1/3 cup uncooked white rice
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 3 cups water
- 1+ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 medjool dates (and/or other sweetener)
Soak the cashews and rice (virtually any kind of white rice will work here) together in several inches of water for 2-6 hours. This will allow both ingredients to soften and become easier to blend. The easier they blend, the more flavor they will impart.
Once the rice & cashews are softened, drain the soaking water and combine them in a blender with all the other ingredients – water, vanilla, cinnamon, and dates (pitted!). With dates alone, this drink won’t be too terribly sweet. If you’d like more sweetness, feel free to add a little natural sugar. More “natural” sweeteners like maple syrup or sucanat are not only healthier but add a nice rustic taste here that works extremely well with the spices. With all the ingredients in the blender, blend on high for 2 minutes to fully puree all the solid ingredients. A Vitamix is super helpful here, but any decent blender should get the job done.
Strain. No matter how good your blender, there will still be grainy particles (mostly rice) in the liquid. Strain this off using a cheesecloth, nut milk bag, or even a paint filter bag that can be found for $2 at a hardware store (for more on these straining options, see my How to Make THICK Almond Milk post).
The beverage is finished at this point, but is best served chilled. To do that, pour the strained liquid into a mason jar, seal, and refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Other Serving Ideas
Your horchata journey is just getting started. I made a giant batch of this last weekend and kept coming up with so many exciting ways to enjoy it. While drinking horchata by itself never gets old, here’s a few other interesting ideas:
Horchata Popsicles – Frozen Horchata is incredible. To make this dead-simple frozen treat, pour the beverage into popsicle molds and allow to freeze.
Horchata Ice Cream – Similarly, freeze the drink in ice cube trays (or break up some of the aforementioned popsicles) and blend with just a little of the unfrozen liquid to create a creamy soft-serve dessert that tastes just like frozen rice pudding.
Horchata Latte – Oh yes, we’re going there. The easiest way to make this is by warming 1 cup of the horchata in a saucepan and adding 1 packet of Starbucks Via instant coffee. Via is actually quite good and by putting a whole packet right into the horchata, it substitutes the espresso in a latte for the perfect balance of coffee flavor. It might not get you into as much trouble as a Cookie Butter Latte, but it is highly addictive – you’ve been warned. 🙂
32 CommentsLeave a Reply
Horchata is pretty popular where I live but I never thought to try it. But this one looks so good I think I’ll have to!
Thanks, Leon! I hope you like it 🙂
Confused… it says to “drain the soaking water and combine them in a blender with all the other ingredients…” do you use the soaking water or other water or??
Hi Deena. So, you drain off the soaking water (and discard that water). Then combine the nuts & rice in the blender with fresh water.
The same 3 cups as is called for in the recipe?
“Once the rice & cashews are softened, drain the soaking water and combine them in a blender with all the other ingredients”
Had this been worded to drain the water and set aside for future use, then you would use the drained off water.
This sounds like a great drink!
Here we have the meethi lassi…a sweet buttermilk which is thick and has a lot of cream. I make a very similar one from cashews ,organic jaggary and cardamom and pure rose water.
Horchata might be similar tasting! Will surely try this as it is raw too !!
I love your recipes!
Meethi lassi?! I’ve never heard of it but it sounds great (especially your version with the cashews). That’s true – I didn’t even realize that this recipe is completely raw. Thanks, Mayavi! 🙂
Oh man I LOVE horchata too! I don’t make it very often because it’s so sugary. I’m intrigued & excited to make this version! Cheers to you!
Right?! Horchata is so good but I always feel terrible drinking so much sugar. The dates make it much more natural. I hope you like it, Erin!
Never would have thought to use a paint filter bag & since my hardware store is closer than the grocery store, this great!
Love that you use medjool dates for the sweetener – they’re the bestest!
Thanks for this recipe – can’t wait to try!
Yes, I was so excited when I realized that paint filter bags work as strainers 🙂 Dates are definitely the bestest 😀 thanks, Amber!
Horchata sounds amazing! I used to love vanilla rice milk & also wanted to try the spiced & sweetened grain based (corn or rice & maybe other grains) drinks that were being made from scratch when I was briefly in Nicaragua twice (but didn’t have an opportunity)! So, this recipe is great – thank you!
Ooh, a sweetened corn-based drink sounds awesome, Abbi! I want to try! 🙂
Love anything creamy, spiced and cold. The recipe has it all!
Oh my goodness! You have no idea how excited I became when I saw this recipe! I absolutely LOVE horchata! So happy to see a healthy version and cannot wait to try it. Thank you so much! Also, I’ve tried many of your recipes and they’re amazing. You are simply awesome! 😀
Yay! Thank you Jennifer 😀 I hope you like it as much as much as I do!
love the touch of cinnamon! Yummy!
Can I use brown rice?
I guess so? I haven’t tried it and it might have a slightly different taste, but why not?!
Hi Andrew, thank you so much, I was just wondering how to make rice milk! Now I know 🙂 I just made it, your recipe taste very good!
Next time I feel like replacing half rice by almonds, which could bring interesting taste 🙂
Awesome! I’m so glad you liked it, Claire. Now Almonds are traditional in Horchata, but I decided to break that rule here partly because I liked the cashews and partly because I didn’t have any almonds on hand, haha. So I’d love to hear how it turns out if you do end up trying it!
Hi Andrew, using cashews is a very good idea, it brings great density on Horchata texture. So, I did it again using cashews AND almonds (instead of rice) 😀 It’s soooo tasty too!
Thanks for reporting back, Claire! I’m so trying that this week 😀
Hi Andrew, I used brown rice and it was yummy! I soaked it, drained it, blended it briefly with a cup of water then soaked it again using the water I rinsed the blender with – about another cup. I soaked it twice because I figured that the brown rice is tougher. It seemed to work well. Thanks for the recipe !!!!
Awesome! Thanks for reporting back. I’ll have to try with brown rice next time 🙂
After blending everything up and straining, I noticed the amount of STUFF STRAINED out — a lot! I said, “Hmmm….this looks like uncooked, cold breakfast cereal.” So I saved it, added liquid (I chose milk) with it on the stove, and it cooked up great! Add maple syrup or honey, fresh fruit, nuts, raisins – viola! No waste.
You are right, Andrew, about the horchatta LATTE — absolutely delicious and refreshing! Delightfully surprising!
I am going to try this with ALMONDS soon, as I have a lot on-hand usually always. I enjoy buying unsalted raw almonds and baking/toasting them in the toaster oven for 7-10 minutes. I am tempted to try some toasted ones along with raw for the horchatta….I’ll have to let you know how it goes!
A Ninja blender does well with this, by the way.
Thanks for the great recipe!
What a brilliant idea, Erin! I might just have to steal that one :p
I recently tried making this with 50/50 cashews/almonds and it turned out incredible!
I’m a but confused, it says it make 4 cups. Is that like 4 cups as in measurement? Or 4 cups as in 4 servings? I’m asking for a school Spanish project where we must make a Spanish dish as if we are doing a cooking show.
It’s just 4 liquid cups, like ~32 oz.
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