These Instant Pot meatballs are so easy and quick to make–no stove or oven required–and are the ideal paleo & Whole30 comfort food.
How was your Thanksgiving?? Mine was pretty good. I made an apple galette first thing in the morning and we left for Atlanta around 11 to go to a big family Thanksgiving at Ben’s cousin’s house. Amazingly enough, traffic from Chattanooga to the ATL was very light, and we made it in under two hours. I managed to eat only a relatively appropriate amount of dessert and even brought some galette back home, which made a perfect Black Friday breakfast.
Speaking of Black Friday, did you buy anything good?? An Instant Pot, perhaps? I got mine on Black Friday two years ago and have been obsessed ever since. If you don’t have on yet, go get one right now so you can make these quick and easy meatballs (and a myriad of other quicker, easier versions of dishes you already love). Since I recently had to invest in a new camera, I kept my spending light and just bought a meat thermometer and a planner (from the comfort of my couch, of course–I try to never leave the house on Black Friday).
By the way, today only, you can get six free steaks when you buy your first box of grass-fed meat from ButcherBox! Check out the deal right here, or read more about why I love ButcherBox so much here.
Once we were no longer full from Thanksgiving and starting to get tired of leftovers, I whipped up a batch of these easy Instant Pot meatballs. The flavorings are pretty classic, except I snuck in some extra nutrition in the form of carrots and also added mustard, which lends great flavor to meatballs. I know it may sound strange, but trust me, they won’t taste like mustard–they’ll just be extra flavorful. I would never in a million years put mustard on a sandwich or hot dog because I don’t like it at all on its own, but it adds something wonderful to meatballs and salad dressings! I also left onions and garlic out of the meatballs because they haven’t been agreeing with me and there’s already plenty of both in the sauce.
For this recipe, the sauce heats up in the Instant Pot while you roll the meatballs, and then they go straight into the simmering marinara. There’s no browning required, but the meatballs and sauce are still super flavorful. Paired with spaghetti squash, these Instant Pot meatballs are the ultimate in paleo comfort food. Since this whole meal comes together in about an hour, it’s a great addition to your weeknight rotation. I hope you give it a try!
- 2 pounds ground beef, preferably grass-fed (I use 85% lean)
- 1 small shallot, minced (about ½ cup; you can also omit this if you prefer to keep FODMAPs lower)
- 1 medium carrot, grated (about ⅔ cup)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional but recommended)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or basil, plus more for serving
- 1¼ teaspoons sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (25-ounce) jar of marinara sauce (3 cups)*
- 1 cup water
- Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand until just combined.
- Pour the jar of sauce into the Instant Pot. Pour the cup of water into the tomato sauce jar, put the lid on, and shake to get the last bits of sauce loosened, and then pour the saucy water into the Instant Pot as well. Stir.
- Push “Saute” and adjust the heat to “Less”.
- While the sauce comes to a simmer, divide the meatball mixture into 16-18 balls. I like to use an ice cream scoop to portion the dough and then roll each meatball a bit by hand to make it more round. As you make the meatballs, place them on a baking sheet (lined with parchment for easy cleanup if desired).
- Press “Keep Warm/Cancel”. Gently place each meatball in the hot sauce. A few meatballs will not be totally submerged, which is fine. Carefully use a ladle or spoon to put a little bit of sauce on top of the exposed meatballs. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is set to “Sealing”. Press “Manual” and adjust the time to 5 minutes. Once high pressure is reached, which takes about 15 minutes, the Instant Pot will begin counting down from 5 minutes.
- Once the cooking time is up (you’ll hear the Instant Pot beep), press “Keep Warm/Cancel” and allow the pressure to release naturally for ten minutes, then carefully move the valve to “venting” and release any remaining pressure. For a thicker sauce, remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon, press "Saute", and let the sauce simmer to reduce for 5-10 minutes. Once the sauce is reduced to your liking, add the meatballs back in. Sprinkle with parsley or basil and serve hot with spaghetti squash noodles or zoodles if desired**.
**If you happen to have two Instant Pots or want to make one component ahead of time, you can cook your spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot. Otherwise, to roast spaghetti squash to go with these meatballs, preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut two small spaghetti squash in half crosswise and scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Place the halves cut side down in a roasting pan and pour in enough water to fill the pan about ¼-inch deep. Roast for 30-45 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool for a few minutes, and then carefully tease out the noodles with a fork.
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