Ever since I tried horchata at a Mexican restaurant I’ve always wanted to figure out how to make it. The traditional recipe can be made in a variety of ways and involves using either ground almonds, sesame seeds, or barley. We could make it with almonds, but the other two are not allowed on Paleo.
Instead of using almonds let’s go with hazelnuts instead. They give the horchata a delicious flavor and are full of nutrients and benefits as well. They are particularly rich in fiber, making this a great drink for the Paleo diet since fiber is needed to help process the meat that you eat.
It’s important to point out some of the stats for hazelnuts, just to see the type of nutrition you’re getting by opting for a Paleo-friendly horchata. Not only are you getting a good boost of fiber, you’re also getting a serving of protein as well as essential minerals like magnesium and iron. There’s also plenty of healthy fat in the form of monounsaturated fat.
Seek out raw hazelnuts for this recipe and you’ll be glad you did. Not only do they offer amazing flavor, they’re better for you than the roasted variety and won’t add in any extra oil or salt. Paleo is all about keeping things simple and natural and as close to nature as possible.
Tip: You could definitely go with ground almonds for this one, as almonds are allowed with Paleo, and they’ll work just fine if you can’t find raw hazelnuts. Almonds are a great source of healthy fat, protein, and fiber, just like hazelnuts, and since they’re a traditional ingredient you’ll get authentic flavor.
Just as important as what’s going into this horchata recipe, it’s what is left out that makes it a real health drink. There’s no rice, which is an ingredient typically found in a traditional horchata recipe. There’s also no dairy which might upset your stomach and isn’t allowed on Paleo, and there’s no refined sugar. One popular horchata recipes adds 2/3 cup sugar to make six servings. That means you’d get over a tablespoon of pure refined sugar in each serving. No wonder people like it so much!
At first you might think that this sort of beverage would only go good with Mexican or Spanish inspired dishes. But really you can enjoy this with just about any meal, and even all by itself. There’s something uniquely satisfying about it, perhaps the protein content or the way the cinnamon goes so well with the flavor of the hazelnuts.
If you make up a batch of this horchata you can save the unused portion for a few days in the fridge and it will still taste great. Just be sure to stir it up really good before you have the leftovers.
- 3 cups cold water
- 6 oz raw hazelnuts
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
- 4 tbsp raw honey
- ice cubes
- Place the hazelnuts, water and cinnamon stick in a high power blender and blend until smooth. Let it sit for three hours.
- Strain through a fine sieve. Place the pulp in a fine cloth and squeeze well to extract all the juices. Save the pulp for a cookies or a cake. Mix the horchata with honey and pour over ice in tall glass. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon if using and serve.