Vegan Horchata

Excerpted from The Friendly Vegan Cookbook by Toni Okamoto and Michelle Cehn

From Toni: Before I became vegan, I loved horchata. Anytime I dined at a Mexican restaurant, it was my go-to drink. My tía Lala (aka Aunt Laura) would always make a fresh pitcher when I visited as a kid, and I now have happy memories attached to it. Unfortunately, it’s almost always made with cow’s milk. But lucky for us, it’s surprisingly easy to make this popular Mexican drink from scratch, without animal products. All you need are six ingredients and a little patience, and you’ve got a sweet, cinnamon-spiked rice milk beverage.

Yield: 4-6 servings (8 cups)
Prep time: 10 minutes | Total time: 4 hours and 10 minutes
You’ll need: a high-powered blender and a nut milk bag or cheesecloth

1 cup uncooked long-grain white or brown rice
6 cups water, divided
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups unsweetened, plain plant-based milk

  1. In a high-powered blender, combine the rice, 1½ cups of water, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, and blend until the rice is broken up and the water looks very milky. Don’t worry, this won’t harm your blender.
  2. Pour the mixture into a pitcher, add the remaining 4½ cups of water and the milk, and stir. Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight—or for at least 4 hours (the longer it sits, the more milky it will taste).
  3. Pour the horchata into another pitcher (or large bowl), using a nut milk bag or cheesecloth to strain out the rice pulp. Discard the rice pulp.
  4. Whisk the horchata thoroughly and serve cold, over ice.

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