I call this "Almost Grandma's Spinach and Meatballs" because this is my Instant Pot version! I've turned Grandma's recipe which takes hours to simmer on the stove to perfection, into an Instant Pot or weeknight meal! *As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: American, Italian
Instant PotOr pressure cooker. Optional but the only way to get this on your table in under four hours!
2tspolive oilTo saute onions and garlic
3garlic clovesMinced, more or less depending on how much you like.
36ozfrozen spinachI used four boxes of frozen spinach. Four pounds of any spinach will do. If using fresh, add it after pressure cooking.
½cupParmesan cheeseGrated or finely shredded. Asiago is also awesome, or a combination! Completely optional, but tops off the soup & makes it extraordinary!
¼cuptable wine(to deglaze the pot)
1Parmesan rindOptional but adding a Parmesan cheese rind to soups gives it an amazing depth of flavor. Try it!
⅛tspbaking sodaOptional, but you should try it! I think it reduces the acidity of the tomatoes slightly.
Have all your can's opened and ready to go. This entire recipe will fit in a 6 quart pot. Add olive oil to your Instant Pot, press sauté and set for ten minutes. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and sauté until soft. (Or use a stainless or non-reactive Dutch oven.)
Add the garlic and tomato paste and continue stirring until the tomato paste starts to cook and darken. Stir constantly until fragrant. About a minute.
Deglaze the pan with wine, chicken broth or some juicefrom the tomatoes and scrape the bottom of the pot to lift up any browned bits.
Stir in four cans of tomatoes. Use a little broth to get the bits out of the bottoms of the cans and add the entire can of broth.
Add 1 bag/box of spinach and press down into the soup.
Add the entire bag of meatballs and press down into the soup. If using a pressure cooker, be careful to make absolutely sure not to go over the fill line!
Add a parmesan cheese rind if you have one. Trust me, this adds a ton or flavor.
Add one more bag/box of spinach. Press down if possible. Remember, if you are using the Instant Pot, be careful to make absolutely sure not to go over the fill line!
Place lid on Instant Pot and set the valve to sealed position. Pressure cook for 12 minutes on high pressure. (Or simmer stirring frequently and gently for at least 1 hour on the stove or until tomatoes are cooked through and soup has reduced slightly. If you cook on the stovetop, you may need to add another can of broth.)
When the timer goes off, wait five minutes, turn off Instant pot and do a quick release.
Stir gently. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
If the tomatoes are acidic, add a tiny pinch or about 1/8 tsp of baking soda and stir ->only use a tiny pinch.
Turn Instant Pot on sauté for 30 minutes. Add in the final 2 bags/boxes of spinach. Periodically stir it gently.
Serve 3 meatballs per person with the spinach and tomatoes. Top it off with a generous tablespoon of fresh grated or shredded parmesan cheese!
We have Grandma's Spinach & Meatballs at least 4 times a year. Traditionally we make it with homemade chicken and parmesan meatballs and fresh spinach. It's so worth it, but it takes quite a bit of time from scratch! The soup/stew takes lots and lots of love and time to simmer down gently on the stove so that the tomatoes and broth and meatballs all meld together into something magical. Using homemade chicken stock or broth takes it one step further! I always have some frozen! I prefer San Marzano's or these Hunt's fire-roasted tomatoes, but any stewed or diced, or even fresh tomatoes will work!