1/2teaspoonsugaroptional, use if tomatoes are tart
1/8teaspoonwhite pepper powder
Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot. Once it displays hot, add the oil and then add the bay leaf, garlic and onion. Cook 3 minutes, until the onions soften.
Then add the cashews, carrots and tomatoes. Give a quick stir and add salt, black pepper pepper. Then add water and close the lid.Press the manual or pressure cook button and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally or you can do a quick pressure release after 10 minutes.
Open the lid, remove the bay leaf and then remove the steel pot from the instant pot and let the contents of the soup cool down for 10 minutes and then transfer them to a blender (or you can use an immersion blender in which case you won't need to transfer the contents to a separate blender).
Add white pepper powder, sugar (optional, if using) and blend the soup to a smooth consistency. Strain the soup if you want for a smoother soup (I don't strain it). Garnish this vegan tomato soup with cilantro and serve hot with a side of crackers or grilled cheese!
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. Once hot, add bay leaf and then add the garlic and onions. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until onions are softened. Then add cashews, carrots and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add water (more water needed than instant pot version since water will evaporate here), salt, pepper, stir and let it cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. You can cover the pan if you want. Then discard the bay leaf, add sugar (optional), white pepper powder and blend using either an immersion blender or transfer contents to a regular blender after it has cooled down for 10 minutes and then blend. Adjust consistency ti preference, garnish with cilantro and serve.
You can use celery here too, I would use 1/2 of a rib of celery. You can also use beets here, will give it a beautiful color too.