Soaking nuts, grains & legumes

Jan 29, 2019 | Nutrition

Soaking nuts grains and legumes

Why should you soak nuts, grains and legumes?

People have been soaking nuts grains and legumes for centuries. The reasons to do so are numerous, including:

  • Make them easier to digest
  • Reduce phytic acid – Phytic acid inhibits the absorption of nutrients.
  • Soften the outer skin of the grain
  • Neutralise toxins
  • To make them more nutrient-dense

Soaking Grains and Legumes

If you would like a quick reference to some important nutritional information, including a table for soaking grains as well as one for soaking nuts & seeds, check out our quick reference information section here

Soaking and Cooking Oats 

Soak oats for 20-24 hours in warm water with acid – lemon, apple cider vinegar or whey. See table below 

In the morning rinse well and drain. Cook oats in a porridge. We have two recipes here: Bircher Muesli for cold oats, which is great for summer and Steel Cut Oats recipe for hot oats which are great in winter.


Grains Acid Soaking time Cooking time
Buckwheat Groats 1 tablespoon 7 hours 3-5 minutes
Lentils 1 tablespoon 7-12 hours 20-30 minutes
Brown rice 4 tablespoons 8-12 hours 25-40 minutes
Kidney Beans 1 tablespoon 12 hours boil 10 min
simmer 40-60 min
Quinoa 1 tablespoon 12-24 hours 10-15 minutes
Steel Cut Oats 1 tablespoon 20-24+ hours 3-5 minutes
Rolled Oats 2 tablespoons 20-24+ hours 3-5 minutes
Oat Groats 2 tablespoons 20-24+ hours 3-5 minutes
Chickpeas 2 tablespoons 24 hours 1 hour


*the acidic medium ( apple cider vinegar, whey, kefir, or lemon juice) helps to neutralise the enzyme inhibitors (phytates)


Soaking and Cooking Lentils 

Soak lentils overnight (7-12 hours) in filtered warm water (not hot) that covers the lentils. Add an acid medium such as whey, kefir or apple cider vinegar. 

In the morning rinse well and drain. There are two dahl recipes on Healthy 2Day website: Digestible Dahl which is a generic dahl and Carrot Dahl. Both include kombu and don’t have any acid ingredients. Lentils are notorious for creating gas. The trick to reducing the gas is to use small or split lentils and to ensure you don’t use acid in the cooking. For example tomatoes, lemons etc. The addition of kombu (seaweed) also helps.

  • soak them overnight
  • when you cook the lentils, add a stick of kombu (which you remove after cooking)
  • do not use acidic ingredients such as tomatoes or lemon when cooking lentils. If the recipe includes acidic ingredients add them at the very last stage of cooking, once the lentils are fully cooked.


Soaking and Cooking Quinoa

Quinoa is a complete protein so its great for vegetarians. It is also a gluten-free grain so its popular with celiacs. However, quinoa contains both phytic acid and saponins. Saponins protect the grain from pests but can taste bitter and may cause mild digestive irritation. Soaking and rinsing will remove these. 

Place quinoa and 1 tablespoon of acidic medium (whey, kefir or apple cider vinegar) into a glass bowl. Cover with warm filtered water and soak for 12-24 hours. If you soak any longer than this, change the water after 12-24 hours.

Once you have finished soaking rinse thoroughly until the suds no longer form. The suds represent the saponin 

Place in a saucepan and cover with filtered water. Add Himalayan or Celtic salt to taste. Simmer until the water has been absorbed which should take 12-15 minutes. 

Soaking Nuts

Nuts contain enzyme inhibitors as well as phytic acid. Soaking and roasting can remove these inhibitors. Soak nuts in salted water (see table below) then dry them using a dehydrator or very low oven. Unlike grains that need an acidic medium, nuts should be soaked in salt. Once the nuts are soaked they need to be dried. You can use a dehydrator or use your oven turned down very low, to 40-50 degrees for 12-24 hours (see table below)


Nut/Seed Salt per
1 cup of nuts
Soaking Time Drying Time
Cashews** 1 teaspoon 3-6 hours 12-24 hours
Brazil Nuts 2 teaspoon 4-6 hours 12-24 hours
Flaxseeds 2 teaspoon 7-8  hours 8 hours
Pinenuts 1 teaspoon 7-10 hours 12-24 hours
Pepitas 2 teaspoon 7-10 hours 12 hours
Sunflower Seeds 2 teaspoon 7-10 hours 12 hours
1 teaspoon 7-12 hours 12-24 hours
Macadamias 1 teaspoon 7-12 hours 12-24 hours
Peanuts 1 teaspoon 7-12 hours 12-24 hours
Pecans 1/2 teaspoon 7-12 hours 12-24 hours
Walnuts 1/2 teaspoon 7-12 hours 12-24 hours
Almonds 1 teaspoon 12-14 hours 12-24 hours


**Cashews are susceptible to mould so they should not be soaked for more than 6 hours and should be dried rapidly in an oven at 90-120C




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