Soaking nuts, grains & legumes

Soaking nuts, grains & 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 a cold oat meal, which is great for summer and Steel Cut Oats recipe for hot oats which are great in winter.



GrainsAcidSoaking timeCooking time
Buckwheat Groats1 tablespoon7 hours3-5 minutes
Lentils1 tablespoon7-12 hours20-30 minutes
Brown rice4 tablespoons8-12 hours25-40 minutes
Kidney Beans1 tablespoon12 hoursboil 10 min
simmer 40-60 min
Quinoa1 tablespoon12-24 hours10-15 minutes
Steel Cut Oats1 tablespoon20-24+ hours3-5 minutes
Rolled Oats2 tablespoons20-24+ hours3-5 minutes
Oat Groats2 tablespoons20-24+ hours3-5 minutes
Chickpeas2 tablespoons24 hours1 hour

*the acidic medium ( apple cider vinegar, whey, kefir, or lemon juice) helps to neutralize 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. We have two dahl recipes that you may want to use: Digestible Dahl which is a generic dahl that includes kombu and no acid to reduce gas and Carrot Dahl which also includes kombu and no acid. 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 and 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 water after 12-24 hours.

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

Place in 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 salt 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/SeedSalt per
1 cup of nuts
Soaking TimeDrying Time
Cashews**1 teaspoon3-6 hours12-24 hours
Brazil Nuts2 teaspoon4-6 hours12-24 hours
Flaxseeds2 teaspoon7-8  hours8 hours
Pinenuts1 teaspoon7-10 hours12-24 hours
Pepitas2 teaspoon7-10 hours12 hours
Sunflower Seeds2 teaspoon7-10 hours12 hours
1 teaspoon7-12 hours12-24 hours
Macadamias1 teaspoon7-12 hours12-24 hours
Peanuts1 teaspoon7-12 hours12-24 hours
Pecans1/2 teaspoon7-12 hours12-24 hours
Walnuts1/2 teaspoon7-12 hours12-24 hours
Almonds1 teaspoon12-14 hours12-24 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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