I’m a big fan of all things comfort food. In our pre-real food lives, pasta meals were my go-to when I was in need of something comforting. It wasn’t so much the pasta that I craved, but the savory sauces, tasty vegetables, and tender meats that went on top of that pasta. One of our all time favorite meals was and still is meatballs, so today I’m sharing my technique for getting deliciously tender Paleo Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.
Now you guys know that I’m also a big fan of my Instant Pot! From broth to roasts, this thing rocks out the most tender and flavorful meals. One of my biggest complaints about real-food or Paleo meatballs, is that they tend to be a little tough. This is usually due to the lack of breadcrumbs and milk as binders. Well, Instant Pot to the rescue! I’ve made these meatballs in both the slow cooker and the Instant Pot with great results, but I will admit that pressure cooking them does lead to a slightly more tender meatball.
If you really want to speed up this process, skip pre-roasting the meatballs in the oven and put them straight into the Instant Pot or slow cooker. I like the added depth of flavor that roasting gives the meatballs, but they will be delicious either way!
I used some homemade tomato sauce made from my garden tomatoes, but I have also used a clean store bought marinara in a pinch! Keep my Easy Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce in mind for next year’s tomato harvest. I love having several jars of this homemade sauce in my pantry for meals like this one!
These Paleo Meatballs in Tomato Sauce go perfectly over roasted spaghetti squash, but we also enjoy them served over some steamed cauliflower. Really just about any steamed or roasted veggie will pair well with this dish!
- 2 pounds of ground beef
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 large sweet onion, diced small
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes or 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 quart of Marinara Sauce (homemade or a clean store bought version)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place all of the above ingredients except for the Marinara sauce in a large bowl.
- Using your hands, mix everything until just combined and the spices and coconut flour are evenly distributed.
- Using a medium cookie scoop or a large spoon, portion out about 2 Tablespoons of the meat mixture and roll it into a ball.
- Place it on the lined baking sheet and repeat until all the meatballs have been formed.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Once the meatballs have roasted for 10 minutes, use tongs to move them from the baking sheet to the Instant Pot or slow cooker. You can add them in layers if needed. Pour the Marinara Sauce over the meatballs.
- Place the lid (with the sealing ring in place) on your Instant Pot and twist it in place to lock it.
- Place the steam release handle to the "sealing" position. It will not lock into place, but will remain loose. Just make sure it's pointing in the right direction.
- Press the "manual" button. It will light up for high pressure at 30 minutes. Press the "-" until you reach 25 minutes cooking time. Within a few seconds, the Instant Pot will beep and display the word "on". This means that the cycle has started and the pressure is building. It can take a bit of time to reach full pressure - anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Once full pressure is reached, the display will switch to a countdown timer.
- While the cycle is running, it is totally normal to hear some sputtering and clicking. You may even see some steam or water spurts coming from the steam release handle.
- After the cycle is complete, the Instant Pot will beep again and the display will switch to L0:00. It's now in the keep warm setting. It will slowly depressurize in this setting. I prefer to slowly release the pressure manually. To do this, put on an oven mitt, keep your face away from the steam release handle, and slowly turn the handle towards "venting". I do this in little bits, letting the steam escape before pressing the knob further. You will know when the pressure is fully released, because the float valve (the little sliver button next to the steam release handle) will fall down.
- Once you have released the pressure, you can remove the lid and enjoy your meatballs!
- Place the lid on your slow cooker.
- Slow cook the meatballs on the low setting for 5-6 hours.
What is your favorite comfort food? Have you ever made meatballs in your slow cooker or Instant pot? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
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