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Vegan Tomato Soup (Instant Pot)

5 from 14 votes

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Vegan Tomato Soup made easy in the Instant Pot. This vegan tomato basil soup is creamy but it is made without dairy because it uses a delicious dairy-free garlic cashew cream. There is no added sugar in this tomato soup because it gets natural sweetness from the carrots. No added oil either! Just pure whole-food plant-based ingredients.

tomato soup with parm cheese and sliced basil on top

This vegan tomato soup is comfort food at its finest! Once I started eating vegan, I was thrilled to find out that my favorite canned soup didn’t contain any animal products. There is honestly nothing like the familiar tastes we remember, is there?

This vegan tomato basil soup is made quick and easy with the use of canned food items and the Instant Pot. You’ll have steaming hot flavorful tomato soup on the table in no time at all!

For all of my delicious vegan soups, stews, and chowders – click here! You’ll find comforting, warm, and heartwarming vegan soup served with bread, sandwiches, or salads for a complete hearty meal.

tomato soup with cashew cream drizzled on top with vegan grilled cheese dipped

When I was young, my favorite most comforting meal at the end of a long day of negotiating the monkey bars, math assignments,  and all the girl drama that comes with being a child, was delicious tomato soup. With grilled cheese. And grape juice. Made by my mother and served on a tray…

So one day many years later, when I was having a particularly rough adulting day, I was craving tomato soup…and a little love. So I bought some canned tomato soup and made it, along with my herbed grilled cheese I was looking for the kind of comfort I remembered as a kid. And it was just like I remembered! But then I looked at the label…

Lots of sugar! Yuck! At Veggie Fun Kitchen we are not necessarily about cutting out all of the sugar. But when I Can make a recipe like this delicious Instant Pot tomato soup without added sugar, then that’s what I am going to do!

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tomato soup in white bowl with grilled cheese and text overlay

Ingredients used:

(There is a handy printable recipe card at the end of this post that contains the exact ingredients with measurements and directions.)

For the garlic cashew sauce:

You will divide the cashew cream and use part in the soup itself and part as a garnish.

  • raw unsalted cashews– Try to use raw cashews. If you are using roasted salted cashews then you will need to soak overnight and triple rinse to remove the salt.
  • hot water to soak AND for the recipe – You will be discarding the soaking water and using fresh for the recipe.
  • garlic and onion powder
  • lemon juice – You can use bottled pure lemon juice if that’s what you have.
  • nutritional yeast – Not everyone is a fan…but nutritional yeast really adds a nice cheesy flavor.
  • salt

For the tomato soup:

  • canned tomatoes – I use canned whole tomatoes. People have asked me about using frsh tomatoes. I don’t see why not. If you do use fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes, please drop me a line and let me know how it turned out!
  • canned tomato sauce
  • tomato paste
  • vegetable broth – you can make your own vegetable stock in the Instant Pot.
  • carrots – The recipe calls for fresh carrots. Feel free to use canned carrots.
  • garlic powder, black pepper, celery seed
  • low sodium soy sauce
  • fresh basil

Some questions and answers about creamy vegan tomato soup

Is tomato soup healthy?

Well, are we talking homemade soup or canned soup? One of the main ingredients in canned tomato soup, after the tomato puree, is sugar – as in high fructose corn sugar. This is NOT what I wanted to be eating. And my canned soup suddenly became the opposite of the comforting meal I was looking for.

This vegan tomato soup recipe is sugar-free and oil-free. I wanted to make it creamy and add a little protein, so I used my garlic cashew cream recipe in this recipe. The garlic cashew cream makes any soup a little extra creamy and adds a nice flavor!

Do I have to use a pressure cooker for this recipe? Can I use a slow cooker instead?

This recipe was developed for the Instant Pot. If you want to use a slow cooker, I suggest following the directions for ingredients and setting the slow cooker on low for six hours. Then please let me know how it turned out!

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is an awesome bunch of cheesy, savory, flakes or powder. It is not the same as brewer’s or baker’s yeast. Nutritional yeast adds in the same depth of tangy flavor that cheese adds. 

Can I use canned carrots in this recipe instead of fresh carrots?

If that is what you have, then that will work. Drain the can and measure out the same amount of carrots as found in the recipe. DO NOT add to the instant and cook the canned carrots. They will become too mushy. Rather, wait until the tomato soup has finished cooking. Add the drained canned carrots and blend with the soup.

Do I have to use cashews to make the creamy garlic sauce?

I realize that some people are allergic to nuts or don’t want to use cashews for other reasons. No problem, just make the garlic sauce with 2 cups of your favorite plant milk instead. Will it be as thick and creamy? Well, no – but you will still get the flavor and the milky white part of the “creamy” tomato soup.

Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes?

I get it! Your garden is brimming full of fresh tomatoes and you’d rather use those instead of ordinary canned tomatoes. I have never tried making this recipe with fresh tomatoes because I suck at growing tomatoes. Please let me know if you do and how it turns out.
Note: I used canned whole peeled tomatoes in this recipe. If you use fresh tomatoes then you will need to blanch and peel. But if you are a user of fresh tomatoes then you probably already know that:)

How to make creamy vegan tomato soup in the Instant Pot

The exact ingredients with measurements can be found in the recipe card below along with more concise abbreviated instructions. Read on for more details, tips, and tricks so that you will feel confident making this recipe.

Step 1: Preparing the garlic cashew sauce:

cashew garlic sauce in jar with sauce in spoon

This is the same recipe I use for a delicious creamy garlic dipping sauce and dressing.

Raw unsalted cashews are best to use for this recipe. They will provide the creamiest sauce. If you must use regular roasted salted cashews, rinse them well and then rinse again to remove all of the salt. Then you will need to increase your soaking time to several hours or overnight, changing out the hot water often, and replacing it with fresh hot water.

After soaking the cashews, discard the soaking water. Add the soaked and drained cashews to a high-speed blender.

If you don’t have a high-speed blender, just be aware that you will probably have to blend for a longer amount of time than the recipe instructions state. (Blend till creamy.)

Add in the lemon juice (bottled is fine), garlic powder, onion powder, nutritional yeast, and salt.

Blend on high for 2-3 minutes or until creamy and smooth.

Reserve 1/2 cup for garnish. You will be adding the remainder (about 1 1/4 cups to the tomato soup mixture in the Instant Pot before cooking.)

Step 2: Preparing the soup ingredients for the Instant Pot

It’s super easy! Once you have the garlic cashew sauce prepared and divided, simply open a few cans and dump. Add the seasonings and cut a few vegetables and you’re ready to go.

The carrots and basil:

The only vegetables you need to actually cut and prepare for this tomato soup recipe are the carrots. I’m even lazy and use baby carrots so that I don’t have to peel them. 

1 1/2 cups cut carrots in glass measuring cup

Cut one and a half cups of carrots and add them to the Instant Pot along with the other ingredients.

We use carrots to naturally sweeten this soup so that we don’t have to add sugar. (Remember that high fructose corn syrup in the canned tomato soup?)

Using fresh basil

Use fresh basil for this recipe. You don’t have to chop the basil because you will be blending the soup after it is cooked. The basil will just blend in. If you must use dried basil, use about 1 teaspoon to sub in for the 10 fresh leaves.

I like to use the “living” basil you can buy in the produce department. It just makes it extra fresh. You will use ten big leaves in the soup. You will also garnish the soup at the end with sliced basil, so make sure to reserve some nice unblemished leaves for that. 

basil leaves on wooden cutting board

Step 3: Time to cook the best tomato soup in your pressure cooker

Please make sure you understand your manufacturer’s directions and know how to use your pressure cooker, no matter the brand. There have been numerous changes even with the Instant Pot over the last few years. I barely recognize the settings on the new Instant Pots. 

Add to the inner pot of your pressure cooker, the two cans of undrained whole tomatoes – juices and all, the tomato sauce, vegetable broth, sliced carrots, soy sauce, tomato paste, garlic powder, celery seed, pepper, basil leaves, and all BUT the reserved (1/2 cup) cashew cream. (It will be about 1 1/4 cup cashew cream that you add to the IP.)

instant pot showing 12 minutes

Close the lid and close the vent as per the manufacturer’s directions. Manually set on high pressure for 12 minutes.

After the pressure cooker comes to pressure and then counts down the 12 minutes, allow for a natural release for 10 minutes. With a long-handled spoon or spatula, carefully release the remaining pressure by opening the vent. Open the lid after all of the pressure has been released.  

You will notice that the cashew cream is a little clumpy in your cooked soup. No worries as it will all blend in when you blend the soup.

cooked tomato soup in instant pot with whole tomatoes - not yet blended

Step 4: Blending the cooked tomato soup:

The easiest way to blend this soup is to use an immersion blender and blend the cooked soup right in the Instant Pot. It will take only a few minutes. Just blend directly in this pot until it’s nice and smooth.

immersion blender in instant pot and blended tomato soup

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend your soup two cups at a time in your standard blender. This will be a little more effort but will still work. Return the soup to the pot after it is blended and smooth.

The taste test for acid and the truth about why most tomato soup uses sugar

Okay, remember I told you that canned tomato soup contains sugar? Well, sugar isn’t used JUST to make sweet soup (that would be weird). Sugar is used in tomato recipes, such s soup, to help combat the acidy taste of the tomatoes. The sweet carrots help, but this is often not enough. We use baking soda to neutralize the acid.

First, taste the soup after it has been blended. Is it unpleasantly strong tasting? Does it leave a harsh feeling on your tongue? The soup needs a little acid taming then. I can’t explain it, perhaps it has to do with the sugar content of particular carrots used on a given day. Or perhaps the brand of tomatoes used, but sometimes the soup is perfect the way it is, and needs no help. And sometimes it tastes a little acidic and needs intervention.

Add in 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. It will foam up a bit. Stir it in and cook on saute for a few minutes until the foaming calms down. Then taste your soup again. It should be much better! Add in some more salt and pepper if desired. 

How to garnish and serve your vegan tomato soup

Drizzle on some of the garlic cashew sauce and serve with a side salad. To keep this meal oil-free, try my oil-free balsamic dressing.

tomato soup with cashew cream drizzled on top with croutons and salad in background

Serve with crunchy croutons. It’s hard to find vegan croutons at the store. I have a super yummy air fryer crouton recipe! If you are trying to stay oil-free, try this recipe from A Plantiful Path for oil-free croutons. The crouton recipe is part of her Vegan Cesar Salad recipe which also looks super tasty!

Do you know what else tastes super delicious with this recipe? My Vegan Parmesan Cheese with Cashews! Just sprinkle a little on top for a rich and cheesy flavor.

And what about a grilled cheese sandwich?! Because yes, grilled cheese sandwiches are comfort food defined! But sorry I can’t help you with an oil-free grilled cheese sandwich – vegan or not. As far as I know, it doesn’t exist…

tomato soup with vegan parm on top with vegan grilled cheese dipped

The printable recipe card for vegan tomato soup made in the instant pot

bowl of tomato soup with cashew cream drizzled and soup on spoon and green salad in background

Did you love this recipe? Want to share the love? It would thrill me to no end if you could leave five ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ stars and even a comment. Did you know that this will help google to find this recipe when others are looking for something similar? Thanks, Cindy

tomato soup with cashew cream drizzled on top with vegan grilled cheese in background

Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup (Instant Pot)

Creamy Tomato Soup made easy in the Instant Pot. This tomato soup is creamy but it is dairy-free because it uses a delicious garlic cashew cream – not dairy. There is no added oil or sugar either in this tomato soup because it gets natural sweetness from the carrots. 
5 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vegan tomato soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
pressure – 10/release 10/simmer after 3: 23 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 167kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker
  • high-speed blender
  • hand-held immersion blender

Ingredients

Creamy Cashew Garlic Sauce

  • 1 cup cashews raw and unsalted
  • hot water to soak discard after soaking
  • 1 cup water for blending
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1./2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Tomato Soup for the Instant Pot

  • 56 ounces whole tomatoes peeled 2 – 28 ounces cans
  • 29 ounces tomato sauce 1- 29 ounce can
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ cups carrots sliced – thick is fine
  • Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 10 basil leaves
  • All but the reserved cashew cream about 1 1/4 cup will be remaining

After Cooking and Blending

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda only add after tasting. See instructions and notes.

Optional

  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt taste first
  • sliced basil leaves for garnish
  • cashew parm see notes for link to recipe
  • croutons
  • extra cashew cream for garnish

Instructions

Creamy Cashew Garlic Sauce

  • Soak the cashews in very hot water for 30 minutes. Drain.
  • Add soaked and drained cashews, along with 1 cup water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic and onion powders to a high-speed blender.
  • Blend/process till smooth and creamy – about 2 minutes
  • Pour out 1/2 cup cashew cream and reserve for garnishing the soup when finished.

Tomato Soup in the Instant Pot

  • Add to the inner pot of your pressure cooker, the 2 cans of undrained whole tomatoes – juices and all, the tomato sauce, vegetable broth, sliced carrots, soy sauce, tomato paste, garlic powder, celery seed, pepper, basil leaves, and all BUT the reserved (1/2 cup) cashew cream. (It will be about 1 1/4 cup cashew cream that you add to the IP.)
  • In the manual mode, set for 12 minutes high pressure. (Read your IP directions and understand how to use your pot. The lid should be properly sealed and the vent should be closed.)
  • After coming to pressure, your pressure cooker will count down for 12 minutes. After it is finished, allow for a 10 minute natural release.
  • With a long-handled spatula or some similar item, turn the release valve and finish with a quick release.
  • Open pressure cooker as per manufacturer's directions.
  • With a hand-held immersion blender, blend the soup for about 3-5 minutes until it is creamy and smooth.

After Cooking and Blending

  • Taste the soup and determine if the flavor is too acidy. It will be extra strong and may be sharp to the tongue. Add in 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. Allow to foam and stir in. Saute for about 3 minutes till the bubbles are gone. This should take away the strong acid taste.

Optional Add-Ons

  • Drizzle on about 1 Tablespoon of creamy garlic sauce to the top of each serving for garnish and flavor.
  • Serve with vegan cashew parm (see notes), fresh basil, or croutons.

Notes

  1.  Recipe for the best ever Cashew Parm
  2. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend the soup in your blender 2 cups at a time. Wait until has cooled down slightly so that you can handle it. 
  3. Why the baking soda? Foods like tomato soup and pasta sauce tend to get a little acidy. Normally we would just add in a little sugar to combat the acid. This is a no-sugar recipe however so we won’t be doing that. Baking soda will also neutralize the acidity. After the soup has finished cooking and is smooth and blended, taste and determine if it is too acidy for you. It will be extra strong tasting and feel sharp in your mouth. Add in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. It will foam a little. Stir and cook on saute for about 2-3 minutes until foam goes down. This should help. 
  4. If you don’t want to use cashews you can use another nut/seed of choice. I can’t guaruntee the outcome. Or you could use 2 cups of your favorite plant milk instead. It won’t be as right and creamy but will still taste good.

Nutrition

Calories: 167kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1471mg | Potassium: 944mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 4837IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 4mg
By on March 18th, 2020

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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2 thoughts on “Vegan Tomato Soup (Instant Pot)”

  1. Just thought I’d chime in in one part of your recipe you’re saying half a teaspoon of baking soda and then in another part you’re saying half a teaspoon baking powder I’m assuming baking soda is what we should be using?

    Reply

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