When your healthy Italian feast takes just 35 minutes to prepare from start to finish…now that’s amore!
Still have no idea what to make for dinner tonight?
You’re not alone. If we had to take guess at how many people right now have no idea what they’re making for dinner we’d bet that it’s somewhere in the hundreds of thousands. Maybe even millions?! What to have for dinner seems to be topic that evades a lot of people. Even all you very smart, very organized, very amazing people. Let’s be honest, even WE have those days.
One of ‘those days’ was actually how this recipe came to be. I had planned for spaghetti and meatballs but didn’t actually make the time to make it happen before it was to be on the menu. So after schlepping the kids home from school, helping with homework, schlepping the kids back across town to the CrossFit gym (during our usual dinner time, mind you – because that’s when the middle school classes are held) and then back home again with seriously hungry bellies I was desperate.
It turns out that you don’t have to precook your meatballs before adding them to a pan with a jar of remade marinara after all – not when you have a Instant Pot that can do that for you while your zucchini noodles bake in the oven fuss-free.
And hence, the birth of the Instant Pot Meatballs and Marinara and a new busy weeknight go-to in our house. << Cue the choir of angelsEasy Instant Pot Meatballs & Marinara = Weeknight dinner win! #realfood #whole30 Click To Tweet
Here’s how to make your own Instant Pot Meatballs and Marinara a weeknight reality (even if you haven’t planned ahead)
Budget-friendly Tp: Save those ends/cores for a stir-fry, to add to your morning eggs or hash or toss them in the freezer and add them to your next batch of soup
Brown the meatballs in the Instant Pot using the ‘Saute’ setting. You really don’t need any oil because as they cook they’ll release plenty thanks to the sausage. Just be patient and let them cook for 5 minutes before attempting to flip them over with a tong. They’ll be easier to release from the pan if you’re patient. However, if patience isn’t your thing right how and you’re worried about them sticking, go ahead and add some oil – you’ll drain it off in the next step.
When meatballs have been browned on most sides (because browning a round object on ‘all sides’ is somewhat of a ridiculous goal) drain the rendered fat from the pot. Add your jar of marinara sauce, stir and lock the lid in place. Flip steam valve to ‘Sealing’ position.
Pro Tip: Always wipe the rim of the inner pot with a clean dry towel before locking the lid in place to ensure the best seal.
Select ‘Manual’ or another high-pressure setting (like Soup/Broth, Chili or Meat) and adjust cooking time to 8 minutes. When cooking time is up, use a quick pressure release.
While the meatballs and marinara are cooking, you’ll roast the zucchini noodles in the oven. I like this method because I feel like it produces a less watery end product. And it’s easy.
Now serve that gorgeousness over a bed of zucchini noodles and sprinkle generously with fresh basil. Then take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. You just put a killer meal on the table in the time it takes to call for takeout and wait for it to be delivered (and saved yourself some bucks, too!)
Now it’s your turn to be the weeknight dinner hero with these Instant Pot Meatballs and Marinara!
- ½ lb. ground beef or bison
- ½ lb. bulk Italian sausage* (mild or hot)
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- 1 24-25 ounce jar no sugar added marinara sauce
- 4–5 medium zucchini, spiralized into ‘noodles’
- 1 Tbsp. avocado or olive oil
- Fresh basil, for garnish (optional)
*May substitute ground pork + 1 ½ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350℉
- Spiralize zucchini into noodles. Arrange on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toss with oil. Sprinkle with salt. Set pan aside while oven preheats.
- In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, Italian sausage and salt. Mix to combine. Roll into 16 balls.
- Turn Instant Pot to ‘Saute’. When pot is hot, add meatballs in a single layer (adding a little oil is optional) Allow meatballs to cook 5 minutes or until browned on the bottom and easy to turn over using a tong.
- Continue to turn and brown on all ‘sides’ and allow some of the fat to render out of the meatballs.
- Press ‘Cancel’ and carefully drain some of the fat from the meatballs.
- Add marinara sauce and stir gently to cover meatballs.
- Wipe edge of inner pot with a clean towel (to ensure a tight seal). Select ‘Manual’ (or another high-pressure setting) and set cook time for 8 minutes.
- While meatballs and marinara are cooking, bake zucchini noodles until tender (about 10 minutes), tossing halfway through baking time.
- Use quick-release when cooking time is up. Serve meatballs and marinara over zucchini noodles. Garnish with a healthy sprinkle of fresh basil, if desired.
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- Serving Size: 4 meatballs, ⅔ cup sauce, 1/4th of zucchini noodles
- Calories: 415
- Sugar: 10g
- Sodium: 802mg
- Fat: 24g
- Carbohydrates: 17g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 26g
What’s YOUR favorite quick and easy meal to make in the Instant Pot? Tell all in the Comments below because we LOVE to hear what you’re cooking!
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