Leslie Grow

It’s hard to go wrong with meatballs, but this particular version makes me happy on so many levels. The meatballs are tender and juicy, and once covered in a nice cozy blanket of tomato sauce and melted mozzarella, they’re pretty hard to resist. I like to serve them over sautéed zucchini noodles or in radicchio or cabbage leaves to add a little texture and crunch.

4 servings
Active Time
15 minutes
Total Time
25 minutes


    • 1 large egg
    • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
    • 1/2 cup crushed pork rinds or almond meal
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil for garnish
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 (14.5-ounce) can whole peeled plum (Italian) tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


    1. In a medium bowl, combine the egg, 1 cup of the mozzarella, the Parmesan, pork rinds, chopped basil, and garlic. Add the chicken and mix gently using your hands to combine. Form into 28 meatballs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
    2. Select SAUTÉ on the Instant Pot. When the pot is hot, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add about half of the meatballs to the hot oil and cook until browned on all sides, turning the meatballs as needed, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Repeat with the remaining meatballs and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
    3. Add the tomato paste to the pot. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the canned tomatoes and their juice, breaking them apart as you do so. Stir in the dried basil and garlic powder. Return the meatballs to the pot. Select CANCEL.
    4. Secure the lid on the pot and close the pressure-release valve. Set the pot to HIGH pressure for 10 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, use a natural release to depressurize.
    5. Top the meatballs with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and let stand until melted before serving with the basil leaves.

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