Meatballs with Fresh Mint and Basil

Meatballs with Fresh Mint and Basil


1 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp grated onion
3 cloves minced garlic, divided
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp Panko or cracker crumbs
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp fresh basil, divided
1 Tbsp fresh mint, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp oil
3/4 cup beef or chicken broth
1 Tbsp vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 - 14 oz can tomato sauce


Whisk together the grated onion, 2/3 of the minced garlic, egg yolk, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, 2/3 of the basil and 2/3 of the mint, the salt and pepper. Add the ground beef and gently combine without mashing it to a pulp. Form into 1 1/2” balls.

Hit Saute on the Instant Pot and when the display says Hot, add the oil. Add the meatballs and brown well on 3 or 4 sides - not just grey, brown. Browning greatly improves the flavor of the finished sauce. Press Cancel.

Transfer the meatballs to a plate and add the broth to the pot. Thoroughly deglaze the pot: scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the pot into the liquid. If you skip this step, the Instant Pot may interpret the stuck on bits as burning food, display the dreaded Burn warning and shut down.

Hit Saute and add the remaining garlic, basil and mint along with the vinegar and sugar. Add the meatballs and roll them around to coat them with the liquid. When the sauce comes to a boil, hit Cancel and pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs. Do not stir it in, just leave it on top.

Close the lid and make sure the valve is set to Sealing. Push the Pressure Cook (or Manual) button and adjust the time using the + and - buttons to get to 8 minutes. When it beeps that it's done, flip the valve to Venting for a quick release and when the pin drops, open the pot.

If you like a thicker sauce, remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and hit Saute. Boil and reduce the sauce for a few minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Serve over pasta or rice or in some nice crusty rolls as a minted meatball sandwich.