Healthy Mexican Horchata

Today’s offering is a nice refreshing drink. Traditional horchata recipes are often incredibly sweet. In fact, many recipes call for more white sugar than rice. This less sweet, but significantly healthier, version skips the white sugar completely and relies on the natural sweetness of Medjool dates and honey instead.
Prep time: 15 minutes + time to soak (up to 8 hours)
Cook time: n/a
Serves: 4 – 6
Ingredients:
1 c. long-grain white rice, rinsed and thoroughly drained
1 small organic cinnamon stick
6 c. water, divided
1 c. almond milk
1/3 c. Medjool dates, pitted
2-3 T. honey, preferably local
1 t. vanilla extract
½ c. raw almonds

Optional garnish:
4 long cinnamon sticks
Ground cinnamon
Directions:
1. Add rice, organic cinnamon stick, and 4 cups of very warm water to a medium-sized bowl. Let soak overnight at room temperature, or until the rice softens and the cinnamon stick is soft enough to break into several smaller pieces.

2. Transfer the rice mixture to a high-powered blender and blend to combine. Add 2 cups cold water, almond milk, dates, 2 tablespoons honey, vanilla extract, and almonds. Blend until thoroughly combined and no large solids remain. Taste and add additional honey, if desired.

3. Strain contents of blender with a fine-weave mesh strainer and 1-2 layers of cheesecloth. When finished, discard remaining solids in the strainer and transfer the reserved liquid to a pitcher or other container.

4. Refrigerate until chilled, or serve immediately over ice with whole cinnamon sticks or a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, for garnish. Enjoy!

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