This deliciously easy, vegan, AND gluten-free Creamy Vegetable Soup is made in the Instant Pot for a super achievable weeknight feast. Cozy up to a bowlful ASAP - you'll be glad you did.
Soups are some of my favorite go-to meals. They're generally soup-er (haha) easy to make, taste even better after a day or two in the fridge, and are endlessly adaptable to whatever you happen to have on hand.
Why you'll love this soup
Perfect for eating on a chilly day (or even during the summer when the air conditioning at work feels like the arctic - amirite?!?), this soup is tasty and also:
- Healthy. It's made entirely with whole food ingredients such as rice , beans, and veggies.
- Easy. This recipe is SO simple. Throw everything into the Instant Pot, let cook and add in some cashew cream - that's it!
- Takes less than 10 Minutes hands-on. With just 10 minutes of active time and the magic of pressure cooking, you can get this hearty, healthy and comforting bowl of goodness on the table in well under an hour.
- Allergen-Friendly. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free.
- Versatile. Have other veggies on hand? Use whatever you've got in the fridge.
- Meal Prep- and Freezer-Friendly. This is a great option for meal prep. Make lunch or dinnertime easy by pre-portioning into containers or freeze for later. You can also make this meal with even less prep by buying a bag of frozen onion, carrots and celery.
Convinced yet? Let's make this Creamy Vegetable Soup already!
Ingredients & Substitiutions
Don't get scared by the length of the ingredient list. I promise you, this soup is WAY easier than pie.
- Carrots - It's no wonder that the French trinity is made from sweet carrots, earthy celery and sweet onion. Feel free to swap in parsnips if you prefer, but you'll miss out on the pretty orange hue.
- Celery - While some of you might not love the flavor of raw celery, it becomes vegetal and almost sweet during cooking. It's also good for you! Fresh fennel can also be swapped in.
- Onion - White, Yellow or Red, it doesn't matter; this creamy veggie soup recipe happily accepts all. You can also use leeks or shallots if you prefer! To cut back on the tears, feel free to use bagged, chopped onions - no need to defrost beforehand.
- Cauliflower - Cauliflower takes on a creamy, nutty flavor when cooked. Frozen florets will also work just fine.
- Brown Rice - While this grain takes a notoriously long time to cook, the Instant Pot makes short work of it. If you are making this soup sans multi-cooker, you can use frozen cooked brown rice to cut back on prep time and dishes.
- Vegetable Broth - Feel free to use homemade, boxed, canned or otherwise. If you don't have any on hand, try tomato juice or this clever mix of spices.
- Garlic - You know I'm a huge advocate of garlic powder, but in this instance I recommend using fresh cloves. If you don't have any on hand, use ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove.
- Canned White Beans - Any kind will do: cannellini, great northern, lima or navy beans are all good choices.
- Nutritional Yeast - This darling of the vegan pantry - also affectionately known as "nooch" - makes everything it touches taste deliciously cheesy.
- Tamari - You can feel free to use soy sauce if you're not gluten free. If soy isn't part of your diet, you can use coconut aminos instead.
- Lemon Juice - Fresh lemon juice is best, but bottled will do. You can also substitute apple cider vinegar.
- Italian Seasonings - Dried herbs are a godsend; they pack a ton of flavor and don't require me to have a green thumb! Feel free to use your own favorite seasoning blend instead.
- Salt and Pepper - All dishes need proper seasoning. I recommend using Kosher salt for easier control, and fresh cracked pepper for the best flavor.
- Cashew Cream - made with raw cashews and water. You can also sub in some tahini, blended silken tofu, or coconut cream
How to Make
Step 1: Add all of the soup ingredients (except the cashews and water) to the Instant Pot, lock the lid, and cook on Manual for 22 minutes.
Step 2: While the soup is cooking, add the raw cashews and water to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
Step 3: Once the soup is cooked, "quick release" by turning the valve from sealing to venting to release the pressure and allow the steam to release quickly. Be sure to keep your face & hands away from the steam as it’s released.
Step 4: Once all the pressure is released, open the lid, add the cashew cream to the Instant Pot, and stir. If you have them on hand, some chopped fresh herbs add a lovely pop of color and flavor as a garnish but don't feel obligated. Serve and enjoy!
Notes on Instant Pot Instructions
This Creamy Vegetable Soup comes together super fast if you have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- If you've never used an Instant Pot before, be aware that it takes a little while for the IP to get up to pressure (about 10 minutes or so) before it starts to cook.
- My recipe calls for a "quick release" which is when you open the valve to allow the steam to release quickly. So you'd turn the valve from sealing to venting which will release the pressure.
- Feel free to do a natural release which lets the pressure release on it's own however, a natural pressure release can take from 5 to 30 minutes. The reason I do the quick release is that I'm usually hungry and ready to eat!
If you don't own an Instant Pot, don't fret! You can still make this yummy, creamy vegetable soup. Simply:
Add the veggies and garlic to a large pot and cook with some veggie broth until tender.
Once the veggies are cooked, add in 1.5 cups of cooked* rice and the rest of the soup ingredients and cook on medium for 15 minutes.
Make the cashew cream (as written in the recipe card), stir it into the soup, and enjoy!
*Cooking brown rice on the stovetop isn't hard, but it does take some time. Remember there's no shame in reaching for a bag of frozen cooked rice or a bag of microwavable 90-second brown rice!
This creamy veggie soup is as customizable as it is delicious. Use this recipe as a springboard for your imagination! Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Add more (or different) vegetables. Instead of mirepoix (celery, carrots and onions), try the Cajun trinity of onion, celery and bell peppers. Use the bits and bobs of the bags of frozen veggies lurking in the freezer. My motto is more vegetables = more yummy in my tummy.
- Make it nut free. If you can't use cashew cream, swap in some tahini, blended silken tofu, or coconut cream.
- Dress it up. If you want your soup to look pro, try adding your choice of garnishes and toppings. Fresh herbs, your favorite hot sauce, a drizzle of cold pressed olive oil - they can take this humble meal and make it look downright triumphant!
- Swap grains. Farro, barley, wheat berries, red rice or quinoa are all fiber powerhouses.
Troubleshooting Tips & Tricks
This creamy vegan soup recipe is *almost* as easy as dumping ingredients into your Instant Pot, but I have assembled a few tips to make sure you have every chance of success.
- Not flavorful enough? Sounds like you need either some acid or some salt. A squeeze of lemon or ACV, a pinch of salt, or a dash of hot sauce can make all the difference.
- Too thick? Add a bit of water or vegetable broth to thin it out to the consistency you prefer.
- Too thin? Once the pressure cooker has released all the steam, switch to Sauté mode. Remove a little liquid from the pot and mix in some flour or corn starch. Stir until your reach your desired consistency.
In a rush? Opt for frozen vegetables and bouillon to cut back on time.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!
I love where your head's at! Fennel, parsnips, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, mushrooms, spinach, kale... the sky is the limit! Feel free to use whatever you like and/or have on hand.
This soup is made creamy with cashew cream (a blend of raw cashews and water). If you can't do nuts, swap in some tahini, blended silken tofu, or coconut cream
Once the pressure cooker has released all the steam, switch to Sauté mode. Remove a little liquid from the pot and mix in some flour or corn starch. Stir until your reach your desired consistency.
Absolutely! Just note that the tomatoes have their own liquid, so you may need to cut back on the vegetable broth depending on what consistency you like.
Try swapping in cubed potatoes or turnips for a similar texture without the signature sulfurous flavor of cauliflower.
Other Creamy Vegan Soup Recipes:
Creamy Vegetable Soup
- 2 medium carrots (about 1.5 cups) sliced thin*
- 4 ribs of celery (about 1.5-1.75 cups), sliced/chopped*
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 head of caulflower (about 3+ cups) chopped
- ½ cup brown rice
- 4.5 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cloves garlic grated
- 1 can white beans
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce if you're not gf)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (can sub apple cider vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ cup raw cashews soaked in boiling water for at least 10 mins, rinse and drain
- ½ cup water
- Add all of the soup ingredients (except the cashews and water) to the Instant Pot, lock the lid, and cook on Manual for 22 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the raw cashews and water to a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
- Once the soup is cooked, "quick release" by turning the valve from sealing to venting to release the pressure and allow the steam to release quickly. Be sure to keep your face & hands away from the steam as it’s released.
(See post on why I do a quick release, this but feel free to do a natural release)
- Once all the pressure is released, open the lid, add the cashew cream to the Instant Pot, and stir.
- Serve and enjoy!
PLEASE NOTE: Nutritional information data is computer generated and only an estimate so it should be used only as a guide.
Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist who empowers vegans to feel confident in creating sustainable habits that align with their values and health goals. She shares easy gluten-free plant-powered food to nourish your body + satisfy your tastebuds. Mary Ellen's recipes and nutrition info have been featured on Yahoo News, Parade, VegNews, LIVESTRONG, Dr. Axe, Greatist, LIVEKINDLY, Brit+Co, Well+Good, and more.