Spaghetti and meatballs are usually a no-no if you are trying to comply with one of the trendiest eating plans, the ketogenic diet. However, we are attempting to make the internet explode with our keto-friendly version, which includes zoodles and giant, cheese-stuffed meatballs. To send you over the edge, the glorious Instant Pot steps in to make these meatballs even more hands-off. Yes, this recipe is a one-stop-shop in terms of cookware.

We replaced the traditional breadcrumbs in the meatballs with blanched almond meal as a binder. Almost any nut flour would work really well in its place. Other than that, we amped up the keto-ness by stuffing the balls with cheese and flavored a sugar-free jarred marinara with diced pancetta, which is always a good idea. You literally throw everything into the Instant Pot and approximately 15 minutes later, dinner is on the table for the entire family.

Giant CHeese-Stuffed Keto Meatballs

(Makes 6 meatballs; serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup blanched almond meal
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound mild, uncured Italian sausage (removed from casings if purchased in links; we bought loose sausage from the butcher)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim low-moisture mozzarella, plus more (to garnish)
  • 2 ounces diced pancetta
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 (25-ounce) jar no-added-sugar marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • zoodles, heated (for serving)
  • basil, chiffonade (to garnish)

Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, almond meal, grated parmesan, crushed red pepper flakes, and freshly ground black pepper (as much or as little as you would like). Let it sit for about 5 minutes to allow almond meal to absorb liquid.

2. Add the sausage and ground beef. Using your hands, mix the ground meat mixture into the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined.

3. Have a baking sheet ready for your meatballs. Fill a 1-cup measuring cup lightly (between 3/4 cup and 1 cup is good). Turn meat out into your hands and flatten it out into a patty.

4. Add about 1 tablespoon shredded mozzarella in the middle of the patty and close patty around the cheese, into a ball shape. Set aside on baking sheet and repeat until all the meat is completed.

5. Select the sauté function on the Instant Pot. Add the diced pancetta and garlic cloves; sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Add the jar of marinara sauce to the Instant Pot. Then use the chicken stock to clean out the tomato sauce jar by sealing and shaking; add stock to Instant Pot and stir to combine. Press cancel.

7. Place raw meatballs into the sauce. Cover, close, and be sure to switch vent to sealing mode. Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes.

8. Once cycle completes, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.

9. Serve immediately over veggie noodles or as is. Garnish with more mozzarella and basil (optional).

(Recipe by Ashley Bare / Brit + Co; styling by Cassidy Miller / Brit + Co; photos via Brittany Griffin / Brit + Co)