Need a new go-to winter dinner? This easy sausage stuffed acorn squash recipe is made with just 7 simple ingredients and can be on the table in under 15 minutes!
Acorn squash is a popular side dish this time of year and is usually served with lots of butter and maple syrup. It’s absolutely delicious prepared that way, but I also love stuffing it with a savory filling and serving it as the main event.
This sausage stuffed acorn squash recipe seems too good to be true. It’s made with just a few simple but flavor-packed ingredients that I almost always have in my fridge or freezer. And cooking the squash in an Instant Pot means it’s ready in just a few minutes.
And it’s SO GOOD.
Most people expect acorn squash to be sweet since they’re so used to pairing it with syrup, but it really isn’t a super sweet squash at all. To me, it tastes a lot like butternut squash, but with a deeper, more intense flavor. I love pairing acorn squash with unexpected flavors like a honey-chipotle glaze or creamy risotto.
For this comforting dinner recipe, I stuffed them with Italian sausage and spinach – plus caramelized onions and diced apples to add a little bit of that sweetness people expect.
How to make Instant Pot acorn squash
Instant Pot acorn squash is an absolute game-changer!
The one thing that keeps me from making winter squash more often is that it takes so long to bake. But with a pressure cooker, you can make acorn squash in literally 13 minutes. It takes longer than that for my oven just to heat up! I can’t tell you how much I love this recipe.
To make acorn squash in the Instant Pot, start by cutting your squash in half and scooping out the seeds. If you want, you can save the seeds and roast them.
Place the trivet in the bottom of your Instant Pot and pour in 1 cup of water. Then add the squash. It doesn’t matter what direction that face or anything like that – just pile them in! Depending on how big they are, I can fit 3 to 4 acorn squash in my 6-quart pot.
Lock the lid in place and cook the squash for 5 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally. It takes about 3 minutes for the pot to come to pressure and 5 minutes for the pressure to release, which means your Instant Pot acorn squash is ready in 13 minutes. You really can’t beat that!
Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
You have a few options for making the sausage filling for these acorn squash. If your priority is limiting the number of dishes you have to wash, you can wait until the squash is cooked, remove it from the Instant Pot, and make the stuffing in the pot using the saute function.
Or you can do what I usually do and cook the stuffing on the stove while the squash cooks. It dirties an extra pan, but multitasking gets dinner on the table a few minutes faster.
Start by cooking a sliced onion until it softens and begins to caramelize. Then, add crumbled Italian sausage and cook through. Finally, stir in some baby spinach and diced apple. Cover the pan and cook for a few minutes, until the spinach wilts and the apple softens. I also like to add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to balance out the sweetness of the apple.
This sausage stuffing is so simple to make, but it has great flavor. I’ve tried adding rice or bread to the mixture, but it honestly doesn’t need it – and adding too much bulk makes too much filling anyway.
Keeping the recipe simple also means it’s paleo and Whole 30 approved! Even when I’m not officially doing a Whole 30, I try to eat a few compliant dinners each week. I always feel better when I do!
Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion sliced
- 4 sweet Italian sausage links casing removed
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 apple diced
- 1 generous pinch red pepper flakes
- Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.
- Add the trivet to your instant pot and pour in 1 cup of water. Place the squash on the trivet. Lock the lid in place and turn the pressure valve to the sealing position.
- Cook under high pressure for 5 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
- While the squash cooks, heat the oil in a skillet set over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes, or until light golden brown.
- Stir in the sausage and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook 4-5 minutes, or until sausage is cooked through.
- Add the spinach and apple. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes, until the spinach is wilted and the apple is soft.
- Spoon 1 cup of the sausage mixture into each squash half. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.