This Instant Pot Acorn Squash is stuffed with turkey sausage, red pepper, red onion and kale for a healthy and festive fall dinner idea!
Ingredients in stuffed acorn squash
The acorn squash creates the edible bowl for the rest of the ingredients – you can make both the squash and the stuffing in your Instant Pot! You will need:
- Acorn squash
- Ground turkey
- Fennel seeds
- Onion powder
- Red onion
- Red pepper
Acorn squash delivers a large serving of magnesium, potassium, folate and Vitamin C, so this recipe can be in your regular meal plan.
How to prepare acorn squash
We can make this entire dish in the Instant Pot. The first step is to prepare the acorn squash for cooking. After you have cooked the squash well, you can even eat the skin if you want (though I don’t typically eat it myself).
- Microwave the squash for two minutes. This will soften the tough outer skin and make it much easier to cut.
- Cut the squash in half, stem to end.
- Scoop out the seeds.
How to cook Instant Pot acorn squash
Your sliced acorn squash can go right into the Instant Pot. What would take nearly an hour in the oven will only take a few minutes!
- Pour a cup of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot. This is required to create the steam pressure.
- Use the trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot so the squash doesn’t sit in the water and get soggy.
- Set the Instant Pot to cook for five minutes.
- Do a quick release to stop the cooking process immediately.
Make the filling on saute mode
Because of all the options on your Instant Pot, acorn squash filling can be made in it as well. The saute setting works just like a pan on the stove top. After the acorn squash is cooked, remove it from the Instant Pot and let it cool while you make the filling.
- Add oil to the bottom of the pan.
- Add ground turkey.
- Season with fennel and onion powder.
- Add onions, peppers, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Add kale in the last two minutes of cook time.
Can you pre-cook the filling?
If you want to meal prep this recipe, you can make the filling in advance. Ground turkey will last for three to four days in the refrigerator before you should eat it as part of this recipe.
All you would have to do the day you want to eat it is to cook the acorn squash in the Instant Pot, reheat the filling in the microwave and then fill your squash.
You could also freeze the filling for two to three months.
You can mix this Instant Pot acorn squash up to make something new each time.
- Squash – Substitute any other winter squash for the acorn squash. Hubbard, buttercup and more can be cooked the same way and stuffed.
- Meat – You can use any other kind of ground meat. Try pork, beef or chicken.
- Veggies – Use any other hardy dark leafy greens with the stuffing.
- Seasonings – Change up the seasonings in the meat as well. Sage and rosemary compliment the flavor of the squash nicely.
How to store acorn squash
Take advantage of the abundance of winter squash available right now.
When choosing a squash, pick one that is heavy for its size and has smooth dull skin. Make sure it has no bruises or blemishes. Mold and bacteria enter it that way. A balance of green and orange colored skin indicates that it is ripe but not overripe.
Acorn squash can be stored at room temperature in a dark, dry place for a month.
If you have already cut the squash, make sure to wrap it tightly to keep it from spoiling and put it in the refrigerator. It will keep for two weeks this way.
Storing and reheating this recipe
Store any leftovers of this recipe in the refrigerator for five days.
This means you can also use this as meal prep. Instant Pot acorn squash makes four servings. Divide the cut and filled squash halves into four meal prep containers and be ready for several days of meals!
You can reheat this in the microwave or in the oven. Reheat for 2-3 minutes in the microwave, stirring the filling halfway through, or reheat in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes or so.
Can you freeze acorn squash?
You can freeze the completed stuffed acorn squash. Store each half in an airtight freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Another option is just to freeze the components.
The best way to freeze acorn squash is diced or mashed, but you can freeze the whole halves too. You must cook it prior to freezing. Acorn squash will last in the freezer for 3 months.
If you freeze the diced acorn squash, you can combine it with the filling later for a deconstructed version of this meal.
You can also freeze the ground meat and kale filling for two to three months.
To reheat, let the components defrost overnight in the fridge then microwave for 2-3 minutes until heated through. It would taste fresher reheated in the oven, so another option is to bake in a 400 F oven for 10 minutes. The higher oven temperature will crisp up the squash once it’s been frozen.
More fall Instant Pot recipes
If you’re looking for more delicious fall Instant Pot recipes, you’re in luck! Check out these faves below:
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this recipe into your weekly lunches.
- I get all my free-range ground turkey from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Use these Ziploc bag holders if you’re freezing the filling
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months
Instant Pot resources
If you’d like some more help with your Instant Pot, then you’ll love my free resources! Sign up for free below when you get my weekly newsletter:
Instant Pot Acorn Squash
- 1 cup water
- 2 acorn squash, sliced in half and seeds scooped out
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds `
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- Microwave squash for 2 minutes to soften it - this will make it easier to cut. Slice acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place trivet on the bottom of Instant Pot and pour in water. Add acorn squash halves on their sides.
- Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal. Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 5 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 10-15 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook the 5 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Remove acorn squash with gloves and drain water from pot. Serve and enjoy, or continue by making stuffing with instructions below.
- Add olive oil to Instant Pot and set to saute. Add ground turkey, fennel seeds and onion powder, sauteeing 3-4 minutes until browned. Add onions, red pepper, garlic, salt & pepper and cook until veggies soften, about another 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in kale then cook another 2 minutes. Stuff each squash half with stuffing, then serve and enjoy!