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White bowl filled with pasta, Instant Pot turkey meatballs and red lentil marinara sauce

Instant Pot Turkey Meatballs with Red Lentil Marinara

  • Author: Jenny Meier | Kitchen Skip blog
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 8
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


I love this healthier twist on jarred marinara sauce. In this recipe, store-bought marinara sauce is given a boost in flavor and protein by adding nutrient-rich red lentils.

Add meatballs, and the meal is even better! Add homemade meatballs or your favorite store-bought meatballs.

Total Instant Pot Cooking Time: 10 to 15 minutes to reach pressure + 8 minutes cooking time + instant release

If making homemade meatballs, take into account that the prep time for this recipe will be longer.  




*You can put raw or precooked meatballs in the Instant Pot with the red lentil marinara - follow the same cooking instructions and cooking time for all of them. You can even use precooked frozen meatballs; the cooking time is the same but the Instant Pot will take slightly longer to come up to pressure.



  1. Combine the marinara sauce, water and red lentils in the Instant Pot. Stir to evenly distribute the lentils. 
  2. Tip: I put the 1 ½ cups of water in the empty marinara jar and shake it well before pouring the water into the Instant Pot, so every last drop of marinara is rinsed out of the  jar. 
  3. If adding meatballs, drop the meatballs into the Instant Pot, evenly spread out in the marinara sauce. 
  4. Secure the lid. Make sure the steam valve is in the sealed position. Press the Manual button and program the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. The Instant Pot will take 10 to 15 minutes to reach pressure. 
  5. When the cooking time is done, manually move the steam release handle from “sealing” to “venting” to immediately release the pressure. 
  6. Serve the red lentil marinara sauce as is, or stir in a few handfuls of baby spinach or fresh chopped herbs. 



If you really like red lentils, you can add more to the sauce (up to 1/2 cup). This recipe is based on what my kids have given a thumbs-up to (they like fewer lentils) and sometimes I let the kids be the boss. 


  • Category: Pasta Sauce
  • Method: Intant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Intant Pot , red lentils, marinara