Instant Pot Spring Soup with Chicken Ricotta Meatballs

Bowl of asparagus, carrot, pea soup with pasta and meatballs

5 from 1 review

Bright, light soup perfect for spring made in 1 pressure cooker pot



For the Ricotta Chicken Meatballs

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs (can substitute with any bread crumb)
  • 2 tablespoons milk (any kind)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
  • 1 pound lean ground chicken
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best)
  • 1/4 cup minced chives
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the Soup

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 medium size carrots, sliced into wide discs
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, whites and light greens sliced in half then cut into thin moons (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/22 quarts low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • parmesan rind (optional, but delicious)
  • 68 ounces whole wheat penne pasta (or other pasta with about a 1012 minute cook time)
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody end trimmed and discarded, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (my favorite was a mix of basil and dill)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • For serving: lemon wedges and shaved parmesan


For the Ricotta Chicken Meatballs

  1. Place the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl, allow to soak for 1-2 minutes until the crumbs are moist.
  2. Add ricotta, ground chicken, egg, parmesan cheese, chives, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Use hands or a spatula to evenly combine the mixture.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick foil.
  4. Use a small cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoon scoop) to make small meatballs and place them on the baking sheet.  Place the baking sheet in the freezer.  It’s best if they can freeze for at least an hour prior to cooking.

For the Soup

  1. Preheat the pressure cooker by selecting saute.  Add the butter and olive oil.
  2. When butter is melted and bubbling slightly, add carrots, onions, and leeks; saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1 quart of chicken broth, salt, pepper, parmesan rind, and pasta; stir.
  4. Arrange the frozen meatballs on top in a circular pattern, staying in a single layer as much as possible.
  5. Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position.  Cook at high pressure for 2 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, place asparagus in a microwave safe bowl with about 1/2 cup water.  Microwave 2-3 minutes until crisp-tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
  7. When pressure cooking is complete, use a quick release.  If pasta foam sprays from the valve, flip the knob to a sealed position for 5 minutes, then release the pressure.
  8. Remove and discard the parmesan rind.
  9. Select saute; add the asparagus, frozen peas, spinach, herbs, and zest and juice of 1 lemon.  Add up to 1 quart of chicken broth, depending on how soup like you want it.  Heat until warmed through and the spinach is wilted.
  10. Season with extra salt and pepper as needed.
  11. Serve hot with lemon wedges and shaved parmesan.

Freezer Meal Instructions:  

  1. The meatballs could easily be made in advance and stored in the freezer until ready to make the soup.  I haven’t tried it, but I don’t believe the soup would freeze well because of the pasta.


  • Freezing the meatballs for at least an hour helps them keep their shape better while cooking.  You can cook them without freezing them, but they will be more fragile and may break up a bit
  • If you want a vegetable dominant soup, only use half of the meatballs.  Place the others in a freezer safe ziplock for another time
  • As the soup sits and after refrigeration, the pasta tends to absorb the broth.  Add broth as needed to reach desired consistency when reheating
  • This soup does not freeze well, enjoy within 7 days

Keywords: instant pot soup, pressure cooker soup, chicken soup