An Italian dinner for everyone is possible with this Instant Pot meatballs and spaghetti dish, substituting bread and egg with quinoa to make it gluten-free and egg-free.
Do you remember the iconic scene in the Disney cartoon movie, Lady and the Tramp, when they eat the plate of spaghetti and meatballs? You can never eat spaghetti noodles on a date the same way ever again. It was definitely cute and memorable how the Tramp pushed the meatball with his nose to Lady. If you have food allergies towards gluten or eggs, then meatballs are definitely for the dogs.
That’s why Megan Lavin created this recipe in her book, An Allergy Mom’s Lifesaving Instant Pot Cookbook and we’ve reviewed it here. So that you can still enjoy a traditional Italian dish with a little substitute and no allergic reactions. There are no bread crumbs, as most recipes use it as a filler. There are no eggs, instead, quinoa is used as a binder to keep its shape with great texture and taste. Then serve over your favourite gluten-free pasta.
Allergies shouldn’t keep you from your movie moments. Nothing is sacrificed in this dish. Sometimes you just have to improvise to end up with something better. You actually get more quality in each bite. It is so good you won’t want to share your plate with anyone else.
From the author: I often feel as though heaven must be guiding me as I just go for it and try something crazy in the kitchen. I knew I wanted a meatball recipe for this cookbook but had never successfully made an Italian version (I have teriyaki and an Asian version on my website). Plus I’d never made them in the Instant Pot. I prayed the quinoa would hold as the binder, shut the lid and crossed my fingers and toes. Angels must have whispered this recipe in my ears because it keeps its shape, has great texture and tastes, pun intended, amaze-balls. My kids are still asking when we can have these again.
²/³ cup (160 ml) water
¹/³ cup (58 g) uncooked quinoa
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (about 1 tsp)
1½ tsp (1.5 g) dried oregano
1½ tsp (1 g) granulated onion powder
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried parsley
½ tsp salt
1 lb (455 g) Italian sausage
1 (24-oz [710-ml]) bottle tomato basil marinara sauce
1 (12-oz [340-g]) package gluten-free spaghetti
Fresh basil or parsley, for garnish (optional)
Place your water and quinoa in your Instant Pot. Close the lid. Use the pressure button to set your
Instant Pot to high pressure. Move the valve to sealing. Hit manual and use the plus and minus
buttons to reach 1 minute.
Once the timer is done, allow the pot to sit for 10 minutes. Once the display shows “L:10,” move the valve to venting to finish releasing any leftover pressure.
Once the quinoa is cool enough to handle, place it in a bowl with the garlic, oregano, onion powder, basil, parsley, salt, and Italian sausage. Mix well by hand.
Form the meatballs by hand, making them about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Pour half of the bottle of marinara sauce into the bottom in the Instant Pot. Place the meatballs on top of the sauce and pour the rest of the sauce on top.
Close the lid and move the valve to sealing. Hit manual and use the plus and minus buttons to reach 10 minutes.
While the meatballs cook, boil your spaghetti according to package directions until al dente; then
drain and rinse.
Once the timer is done, move the valve to venting to quickly release the steam.
Serve the meatballs and sauce over your pasta and garnish with fresh basil or parsley, if so desired
The author used to cook brown rice noodles for pasta dishes but found that those don’t hold up in hot soups or the next day in leftovers. The brands that have both rice and corn have a much better texture.
Reprinted with permission from An Allergy Mom’s Lifesaving Instant Pot Cookbook by Megan Lavin, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Photo credit: Megan Lavin.