Instant Pot Creamy Dairy-Free Tomato Basil Soup

I wasn't always a foodie. I entered adulthood, oh so many years ago, with aversions to certain ingredients. And about 15 years ago, I decided I was done being a picky eater. I made a mental list of foods I was determined to learn to like -- mushrooms, asparagus, brussels sprouts, mustard, lamb, and tomatoes, to name a few. I'm proud to say I truly LOVE almost everything on that list now. And I love almost all foods and am willing to try just about anything (oysters, octopus, marrow, beef tartare, lamb's the limit!). Except tomatoes. Raw tomatoes to be exact. And y'all, I have TRIED to like them, believe me. I'm convinced liking raw tomatoes is one of those genetic things, like attached and detached ear lobes, but I digress. And while I do enjoy cooked tomatoes in most of its forms, tomato soup never interested me -- until now.

I developed this recipe about a year ago, and my family has loved it so much, we quite literally licked the platter clean. Tomato soup!! Of all things!

I've since made this for company -- rather, fellow tomato soup skeptics and tomato haters. And friends, I'm happy to say they licked their bowls clean as well!

It's easy, it's delicious, it's GOOD.FOR.YOU. And it can be made in a single pot. What's not to love??

Sanity-saving tip: Don't put a lot of effort chopping your veggies -- save time and rough chop. It's all going to get pureed in the end. Also, while this recipe can technically be made with any tomatoes, I URGE you to use heirloom. The difference in flavor is remarkable. 

...and yes, I realize I have roma tomatoes pictured in this post, but that's because I used all of my heirloom tomatoes in the actual soup. #priorities

Serves: 4-6 adults (depending on bowl size)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Half medium onion, chopped
  • Two carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, quartered (or sixth-ed, if large)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed (+ more, if also using as garnish)
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 cup raw cashews (we get these at Costco, y'all)
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt, to taste
  • 8oz italian sausage 
  • Spinach (a handful or two)
  • Electric Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot HIGHLY recommended)
  • Blender 
  • Potato masher (optional)

Hit the Saute button on your Instant Pot. Once the pot heats up, add olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery to pot, and saute until softened (about 4-5 minutes), stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute about 1 minute. Add tomatoes -- at this stage I like to take a potato masher and crush the tomatoes a bit, but this is optional. Add basil and bone broth. Hit Cancel to stop sauteing. Close the pressure cooker lid, and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. 

While your veggies are pressure cooking, add water and cashews to a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, and blend until completely liquefied (if you don't have a Vitamix or Blendtec, you'll want to soak your cashews in water for about 30-60 minutes first). Pour mixture into a jar or bowl to use later. 

Once your time is up on the pressure cooker, allow a 5-10 minute natural release (so you don't rain down tomato liquid over your kitchen), and then do a quick release. If you have an immersion blender, you can blend your soup right in the pot, but for an ultra-smooth-like-a-baby-seal soup experience, I recommend blending your soup in batches in a high-power blender like a Vitamix. 

Optional Step -- heat your now-empty Instant Pot back up by pressing the Saute button. Once hot, add italian sausage, making sure to break it up into small pieces. Saute until italian sausage is cooked through and starting to brown. Proceed to the next step below, adding soup and cashew liquid to pot over the sausage. 

Pour all of the tomato soup and cashew liquid into the Instant Pot, stirring to combine. If you skipped the optional sausage step above, be sure to turn your IP back to Saute mode. Add salt to taste. 

More Optional Stuff
  • Stir in a handful or two of spinach just before serving. 
  • Garnish with more fresh basil -- you can never have too much basil with this soup
  • Speaking of which, I tend to buy WAY too much basil, so I often whip up a walnut-basil pesto that pairs really well with this soup -- we just add a dollop right into each bowl (recipe coming soon -- and that's a "mom of small children" soon, so don't get too excited)
  • If you are a consumer of dairy, grated Parmesan is lovely on this soup



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