With today being Cinco de Mayo, I was feeling inspired to create just one more Mexican-inspired recipe. But as usual, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and I had to put a little nutritional spin on this one, too. Classic Mexican horchata is obviously crazy delicious on it’s own, there is no denying that, but often it’s loaded with tons of refined sugar and traditionally it’s made with run of the mill rice and almonds – so, there really isn’t much nutrition happening here. What else could I do except boost it?
This recipe takes a little time to prepare and you may need to do a little searching to find the right ingredients, but none of it’s difficult and I can tell you, it’s more than worth it. The end product is delightful. Full of creamy, rich, sweet and spicy flavor and depending on how you boost it, tons of health-containing goodness, too.
To start, you guys have heard me talk about the importance of sprouting already, but to recap nuts, seeds, grains and legumes, they all contain naturally-occurring chemicals that protect them while they grow, both from sprouting prematurely and also from predators. These protectors also act as enzyme inhibitors to us, meaning we get much less of the crucial nutrients from these foods than we should be. Plus, this “armor”, of sorts, makes digesting them much more difficult. Soaking and sprouting these foods releases these chemicals, helping you to absorb all of the food’s essential minerals and nutrients.
I am happy that I can now easily purchase sprouted grains and even nuts, at the store, which definitely cuts down on the time spent in the kitchen at home. For this recipe, I used sprouted long grain brown rice, if you can find sprouted long grain white rice, that would work great, too. I also used raw sprouted almonds, in place of regular almonds (I am actually able to buy these at our local farmer’s market surprisingly). If you have the time and want to sprout your own rice and almonds, I say go for it, but you’ll have to soak, sprout and then dehydrate, and really why would ya, now that you can easily buy them this way? Some natural food stores actually carry sprouted, nuts, seeds and grains in bulk now, even.
For sweetener, rather than a simple syrup made with refined sugar, we use raw honey, but maple syrup also works great. I tested both. Finally, for the big finishing move, for the extra boost to this traditional drink, I played around with adding some of my very favorite superfood powders to the mix. Each one serves up a different set of nutritional offerings, which you can read all about below. I suggest picking your favorite one or if you are adventurous, two, from the list and add it in, either to the entire batch or per single serving. If superfoods aren’t your thing, skip it and go with the straight up horchata! Either way, you can’t go wrong. ¡Salud!
Choose Your Boost:
Ashwagandha Powder: an adaptogenic** herb used to enhance the health of the whole body, containing anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-stress properties. It helps boost your resistance to stress, it can assist in refreshing your body and your mind and it’s calming to the nervous system. Known as the Indian Ginseng because it’s actions and uses are similar to Chinese Ginseng, it’s commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic Medicine as a tonic and home remedy for increased stamina, but unlike other adaptogens it’s not a stimulant, so it can actually assist you in getting a good night’s sleep, too. Yes, it’s actually an herb that can both boost and enhance your energy levels while also calming and relaxing you. Ashwaganda’s ability to stabilize moods and encourage adrenal recovery is highly valued by many herbalists.
Camu Camu Powder: An immune boosting powerhouse, camu camu is chock full of vitamin C, containing more vitamin C than any other food source on the planet. 30-60 times more per serving than an orange. A tremendous antioxidant, vitamin C is also anti-inflammatory, and is vital for rebuilding collagen and connective tissue. Camu camu is a that fruit grows on a low hanging shrub in the Amazon rainforests of Peru and Brazil that is also rich in beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, iron, niacin, phosphorus, protein, serine, thiamin, leucine, and valine. These powerful phytochemicals and amino acids have a surprising range of therapeutic effects. Camu camu has astringent, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, emollient and nutritional properties. One serving size (approx 1 tsp) of properly sourced organic camu camu contains 1180% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C! (Camu camu does have a slightly sweet and sour flavors, so you’ll want to go light in this horchata recipe)
Maca Root Powder: another adaptogen**, maca offers endocrine support. Maca is an herbaceous plant and a member of the cruciferous family, native to the high Andean Mountains of Bolivia and Peru. Maca was prized throughout the Inca empire and used for increased energy and vitality for battle, but it was also used for its adaptogenic-like qualities that enable it to nourish and balance the body’s delicate endocrine system, and to help cope with stress. Used historically as a potent aphrodisiac and to increase fertility both in men and women, maca itself contains no actual hormones, but most of maca root’s benefits are attributed to its ability to help restore sexual, endocrine (hormonal), and mental health. Maca naturally energizes without the jitters and crashes of caffeine, these boosts are thought to be due to its ability to restore proper hormone balance and elevate “feel good” endorphins. Maca also provides an abundance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and sterols.
Pasture Raised Collagen Peptides: The most abundant protein in our bodies, this short chain amino acid is found in our muscles, bones, skin and tendons. When sourced from pasture-raised animals, collagen peptides is great for gut healing, healthy hair, youthful skin and stronger nails, plus healthy and strong bones and joints. Collagen also supports healthy inflammation and it’s high levels of glycine improve sleep quality. (you can read more about the benefits of collagen here)
Baobab Superfruit Powder: A prebiotic super fruit, baobab is a whole fruit from the African Tree of Life. Rich in vitamin C (a single dose provides 33% of your daily requirement), 50% fiber and with the highest antioxidant content of any fruit, baobab supports immune function, energy release, skin health and digestion. Baobab is a great source of prebiotic soluble fiber, great for nurturing the beneficial microflora in the digestive tract. Baobab is also rich in antioxidants, high in electrolytes and a great source of calcium and potassium. (baobab also has a slightly tart and sour fruit flavor, so you’ll want to go light in this horchata recipe)
You can choose one or more than one of these! Collagen peptides are totally taste-free, so I usually choose those and one other. Lately ashwaghanda or maca are my faves.
**What are adaptogens? A name given to certain herbs, plants, and natural substances that help the body naturally adapt to stressors like a busy schedule, demanding job, or illness, for example. Adaptogens work to help each body differently based on individual needs.
Makes 4-6 cups
adapted from NoshOnIt
- ⅓ cup uncooked, long-grain sprouted rice
- 1 cup raw sprouted almonds (I buy mine from a local supplier for much cheaper)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cups filtered water, divided (3 cups hot, 2 cups cold)
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup raw honey or maple syrup (more or less depending on your desired sweetness level)
Choose Your Boost(s):
- Ashwagandha Root Powder – 1 -2 teaspoons/serving
- Came Camu Powder – 1 teaspoon/serving
- Maca Root Powder – 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon/serving
- Collagen Peptides – 1 tablespoon/serving (I recommend Vital Proteins)
- Baobab Superfruit Powder – 1 tablespoon / serving
Blanch the almonds by tossing them into boiling water for about a minute, immediately drain and rinse under cold water. Once blanched with just a little squeeze, the skins should slip right off. Dry the almonds off well, heat a dry skillet over medium heat and toast the blanched and peeled almonds until lightly brown.
Add the rice to a spice grinder or blender and pulverize. You will need to give it enough time to make sure it reaches a fine powder.
Add the ground rice to a large jar, add the toasted almonds and a cinnamon stick. Stir in 3 cups of hot filtered water, allow to cool to room temperature, cover then let stand overnight at room temperature (not in the fridge!).
THE NEXT DAY:
Transfer the mixture into your high speed blender, add the 2 cups of cold filtered water and blend until it is nice and smooth. The amount of time this will take will depend on the power of your blender; it should take at least a minute and possibly up to four.
Strain the blended mixture slowly into a pitcher – you can use a nut milk bag, or a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth. It works best straining a small amount at a time. Discard the leftover pulp.
Add the horchata back to the blender and add your sweetener and whatever you are using to boost (serving suggestions listed above)! Blend until smooth and creamy.
Refrigerate. Serve over ice, if you’d like. Garnish with cinnamon or a cinnamon stick.
if boosting isn’t your thing, this recipe will also work exactly as is, with regular unsprouted rice and almonds and without the boost.[/print_this]
These superfood boosts are healthy foods, not miracle drugs. This post is for educational purposes only. These statements herein have not been reviewed by the FDA. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.