Ugly Produce. Delivered.

Brown Rice Horchata

Photo by Alex Lau for Bon Appetit

Photo by Alex Lau for Bon Appetit

We've been collaborating with our friends at Sqirl in Los Angeles to fight food waste in a fun and delicious way. Recently, Sqirl used our Imperfect brown rice to make a refreshing brown rice horchata. Though summer is months away, horchata, like good rosé, is never out of season. 

Author's (Jessica Koslow) note: "Since the early days of Sqirl, I've wanted to serve horchata. It was an obvious drink for us to make because we have both homemade almond milk and really good rice. For a while, different guys on the night crew had tried making horchata. I wanted it to be good enough that David Prado, who was born in Tecuala in the Mexican state of Nayarit and who is also the head of the night crew, wanted to drink it. We played around with the recipe until one day he tasted it and said, 'Okay, close enough.'" 


  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 c Imperfect brown rice
  • 1 1/2 c raw whole almonds
  • 1/2 c pitted Imperfect dates
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 4 3/4 c boiling water
  • Ground cinnamon


  1. Toast the cinnamon stick in a dry pan over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. You want all those fragrant oils to come out. After 5 minutes, your home should smell like a cinnamon stick factory. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine the rice, almonds, dates, and salt. Pick up the toasted cinnamon stick (be careful - it's probably still hot), break it into small pieces, and add to the bowl. Pour in the boiling water. Let the mixture sit until it has cooled to room temperature, about 4 hours.
  3. Transfer everything in the bowl to a high speed blender. Blend, starting on the lowest setting and increasing the speed steadily. Strain though a nut-milk bag suspended over a bowl, squeezing to collect the liquid. 
  4. Serve over ice, with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon on top - oh, so fancy!
  5. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Recipe Notes and Variations

Sqirl makes something called horchoffee that has become beloved by both cooks and customers. To make a single serving, pour 1 generous cup of horchata into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Add a double shot of espresso, shake well, then pour into a glass with just a few ice cubes. Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top. If you don't have espresso at home, then you can substitute about 2 tbsp undiluted cold-brewed coffee concentrate. Horchata is also a great venue for you to experiment with infusing sweet spices like a few star anise pods, cloves, or allspice berries. Try toasting a few alongside the cinnamon stick and see which flavors you like most!