Traditionally, this Central American drink is a sweetened blend of rice and almond milk with cinnamon and vanilla. (And if you’re a Salvadoran purist: morro seed.) But horchata recipes are a lot like tomato sauce recipes in Italy: every one’s different, and everyone tells you theirs is best. This recipe stays true to the classic, but uses mineral-rich pumpkin seeds instead of unsustainable almonds, and dates instead of added sugar. Ingredients:
- 1 cup of Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 cup of Rice
- 10 Dates (pitted)
- ½ – 1 tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
Blend all the ingredients thoroughly with 3 cups of water. The finer you blend, the richer the flavor. Next, leave the horchata in the refrigerator overnight to let the goodness really seep into the water. (Or, if you’re as impatient as I am, one hour.) Lastly, strain the contents of the blender through a nut-milk bag or several layers of cheesecloth. Serve over ice, then wonder where it all went two seconds later.
While rice is definitely the backbone, you can totally substitute whatever you like for the pumpkin seeds. I’ve made this with cashews, hemp seeds, you name it. And if you like yours a little sweeter, feel free to add an additional 3-5 drops of stevia extract without getting that weird stevia taste. If you want to stretch out this recipe, you can double the amount of water without affecting flavor all that much. Also, if you’re impatient like I am and strain it within a few hours, you can reblend the sediment with new water and let sit overnight. (Mmm… bonus horchata.)