Instant Pot Stuffed Acorn Squash with Pecans

This Instant Pot acorn squash is quick to make using a pressure cooker! This vegetarian stuffed acorn squash features a rice stuffing with toasted pecans.

Vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, Instant Pot acorn squash

This Instant Pot Stuffed Acorn Squash with Pecans was created in partnership with the American Pecan Council. All opinions are our own. 

What better combination of fall ingredients to kick off the season than squash and pecans? Alex and I developed this new stuffed acorn squash recipe to highlight this perfect pairing. Tender acorn squash is stuffed with a savory, herb-laden pecan and rice stuffing that truly makes your kitchen smell like Thanksgiving while you make it. Really! Did you know you can cook acorn squash in a pressure cooker? Alex and I have had so many requests for nutritious Instant Pot recipes that we’ve started experimenting with cooking vegetarian basics. This recipe uses the pressure cooker to cook both the rice and the squash, making it simple to whip up. And if you don’t have an Instant Pot? You can absolutely still make this recipe using your oven and stovetop! Keep reading for this recipe and some info on pecans.

Perfect pairing: Serve this Instant Pot acorn squash with our herb infused cucumber water

Vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, Instant Pot acorn squash

Pecans nutrition facts & more

A few quick things about pecans, before we get started! Pecans are one of our favorite nuts to include in our recipes because of their rich flavor and nutrients. Some of the great things about pecans:

  • They’re harvested in the USA…in the fall! Did you know pecans are the only major tree nut indigenous to North America? American pecans are being harvested right now in 15 southern states, making it the perfect in-season ingredient for fall and holiday meals.
  • Pecans are super versatile. Everyone loves the classic pecan pie, but there are so many other uses for pecans with their naturally sweet flavor: snacks, salads, side dishes and entrees.
  • And they’re super nutrient dense! Compared to other tree nuts, pecans are among the highest in fiber and lowest in carbs per serving. They’re also among the highest in “good” monounsaturated fats, have three grams of plant protein, and essential minerals, (copper, manganese and zinc).

For more about pecans, head to the American Pecan Council website.

Vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, Instant Pot acorn squash

How to make vegetarian stuffed acorn squash

This vegetarian stuffed acorn squash recipe is quite simple to make! If you’re using an Instant Pot (pressure cooker) to cook the acorn squash, you’ll also use it to cook your rice! The entire process takes about 35 minutes: about 20 for the rice and 15 for the squash. Insider secret: we really wanted to try to cook both the rice and squash in the Instant Pot at the same time! Alex tried several variations but the cooking just wasn’t reliable. Though it would have been really slick, unfortunately it didn’t pan out. Nevertheless, you can easily cook the rice and then the squash, and using the Instant Pot still makes it simple.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, no problem! We’ve included instructions for using your stovetop and oven.

A few notes on the stuffing here, which steals the show! This rice and pecan stuffing truly makes your kitchen smell like Thanksgiving while you make it! The onion, celery, garlic, and herbs combine to make something that smells just about like heaven. Add to that the crunch and rich flavor of buttery pecans, and you’ll find yourself just eating the stuffing alone.

Vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, Instant Pot acorn squash

Looking for healthy Instant Pot recipes?

Alex and I used to be Instant Pot skeptics. We didn’t want another appliance, and it seemed like a useless trend. However, we’ve had so many requests for Instant Pot recipes that we gave it a try. We’ve since gotten rid of our rice cooker and slow cooker in favor of the Instant Pot! We’ve enjoyed using the Instant Pot to simplify some of our vegetarian basics like sweet potatoes and chickpeas: and now, acorn squash and rice! Here are some of our other favorite healthy Instant Pot recipes so far:

Vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, Instant Pot acorn squash

Looking for pecan recipes?

We’re truly smitten with pecans, as you may have noticed! Here are a few of our favorite pecan recipes:

This recipe is…

This Instant Pot acorn squash with pecan stuffing recipe is vegetarian, gluten free, vegan, plant based, dairy free, naturally sweet, and refined sugar free.

Print
Vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, Instant Pot acorn squash

Instant Pot Stuffed Acorn Squash with Pecans


1 Star (4 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Instant Pot acorn squash is quick to make using a pressure cooker! This vegetarian stuffed acorn squash features a rice stuffing with toasted pecans.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 small acorn squash*
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup raw pecan pieces
  • Feta or goat cheese crumbles, optional

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice**: In an Instant Pot or digital pressure cooker, stir the rice, sage, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 cup of water. Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. (Note: It takes about 5 minutes for the pot to “preheat” before it starts cooking. During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.) After the pot beeps, use the Natural Release method and wait 10 minutes to let the pot cool down naturally (set a timer so you don’t forget!). Then vent any remaining steam by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. (Never put your hands or face near the steam release valve when releasing steam.)
  2. Prep the veggies: While the rice cooks, cut the squash in half and remove seeds, then cut it in half again (into quarters). Set aside until ready for Step 5.  Dice the onion and celery. Mince the garlic.
  3. Toast the pecans: In a dry skillet over low heat, toast the pecans for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
  4. Make the stuffing: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and celery 5 to 7 minutes until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, thyme, and oregano, and saute for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant. When the rice is cooked, stir it into the skillet. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, the fresh ground black pepper, butter, and pecans.
  5. Cook the squash*: Rinse the Instant Pot pot and place the steamer basket in the bottom with 1 cup of water. Rub the squash quarters with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a few pinches of dried oregano. Place the squash quarters in the pot, stacking as necessary. Pressure cook on high for 6 minutes. (Note: It takes about 5 minutes for the pot to “preheat” before it starts cooking.) After the pot beeps, immediately do a Quick Release: vent the remaining steam by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad.
  6. Serve: Carefully remove the squash from the Instant Pot and sprinkle it with kosher salt. (Do not omit this step: it brings in the necessary flavor!) Spoon the stuffing over the squash quarters and serve immediately.

Notes

*If you don’t have an Instant Pot or want to cook more than 2 acorn squash at once, you can roast the squash in the oven. Use the method in this Roasted Acorn Squash recipe.

**If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can boil the rice on the stovetop according to the package instructions.

Keywords: Pecans, Squash, Instant Pot, Healthy Instant Pot Recipes, Acorn Squash, Fall, Fall Recipes, Rice, Stuffed Acorn Squash, Stuffed Squash, Pecan Stuffing, Pecan Recipes

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious.

3 Comments

  • Reply
    Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite
    September 19, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    This dish is perfect for fall! :)

  • Reply
    Kathleen @ Produce On Parade
    September 26, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Are. You. Kidding. Me!?!?! Squash in a pressure cooker? Heck yes! I never would have thought to do that. I love squash but it sure takes a long time on a long day after work. So excited to try this you guys! :D

  • Reply
    Brittany
    September 26, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    I made this for dinner…with a couple of minor changes. I added chopped kale for some green color (and because I had it) and used emmer in place of the rice. The taste was fantastic but the squash was undercooked…next time I’ll try 7 minutes!

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