I’ll admit, I didn’t always look at a squash and see dinner. But after learning how to make hot and creamy sausage stuffed acorn squash so easily in my Instant Pot, I now make squash at least once a week.
In this recipe the acorn squash is made in the Instant Pot while the sausage filling is cooked on the stovetop.
But don’t worry if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can bake the acorn squash in your oven or even toss it into your slow cooker if you prefer.
Then all you need to do is add in the sausage filling when ready.
Not only is acorn squash so easy to cook, but it comes with health benefits. Beta carotene and vitamin A, that helps with that healthy glow we all seek, is readily found in squash.
And I doubt it’s a coincidence that I always feel so energized after eating squash.
This recipe is our pick when we want something healthy but still want to indulge.
The filling is similar to a sausage and cheese dip, but still lighter than typical cheese based dips. Sausage might not be the healthiest food but we tell ourselves we can offset this by throwing in some kale and serving it in a squash! 😉
It is perfectly portioned to serve two people, if you have a larger acorn squash, each person has a half. Or if you have two smaller acorn squash, you can serve two, each person has a whole squash (two halves) or you can serve four with each half, as part of a larger meal.
Content in this Post
- What Makes Acorn Squash so Great?
- What Different Ways Can You Cook Acorn Squash?
- Ingredients used in Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Health Benefits of Acorn Squash and Kale
- How To Make Hot And Creamy Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
- STEP 1 — Prepare the Acorn Squash
- STEP 2 — Cook the Creamy Sausage Filling
- STEP 3 — Assemble the Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Kitchen Tools Needed to Make Sausage Filled Acorn Squash
- Here are Similar Recipes from Our Collection
What Makes Acorn Squash so Great?
Squash is healthy and it keeps for a long time.
If you don’t get to it right away, it is usually still good to eat even a week later or so. I love that it is so forgiving in case I lose track of time. Whereas other vegetables would go bad in the same amount of time, these are pretty reliable.
Not to mention, they are economical choices, offering large servings for only a few dollars per squash.
I like to keep butternut squash, acorn squash and spaghetti squash on hand, to have the basis for three nutritious dinners.
It’s also very easy to make spaghetti squash in Instant Pot and it goes so well with your favorite spaghetti sauces.
Acorn squash is also great for those days when I find myself without a plan for dinner. Hmm what’s for dinner tonight… ? (scan room, see squash)
I got it.
Instant Pot acorn squash it is!
What Different Ways Can You Cook Acorn Squash?
Acorn squash is extremely versatile. It can be steamed, baked or slow cooked. You can cut squash into cubes and add it to a soup or stew, or even mash the acorn squash and serve as a side dish.
To feed a baby or child, a portion of the instant pot acorn squash can be mashed in a bowl for them with a little bit of butter and milk. Just make sure it is sufficiently cooled.
Although there are many preparations, we always come back to this Hot and Creamy Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash. Give it a try!
Ingredients used in Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
Aside from sausage and acorn squash, other ingredients include frozen kale, marinara sauce, tomatoes and onions.
The creaminess in the sausage filling comes from a combination of labneh and cream cheese. If you don’t have labneh, you can plan ahead to have some well strained homemade instant pot yogurt ready for this (It takes a day to make but the instant pot does the work).
Since I use Italian hot sausages, the additional spices are kept simple, just garlic, salt, and pepper. As a final touch, you can garnish with sliced fresh basil, if you like.
- Acorn Squash — one large or two small to medium sized.
- Sausage — I use Hot Italian for the extra flavor.
- Kale — I use frozen.
- Tomatoes — Roma or on-the-vine.
- Garlic — one clove, minced
- Marinara Sauce — We use our Instant Pot marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes or for convenience, if we are out of that, we use Victoria White Linen brand from Costco.
- Onions — I like the red onions in this dish.
- Homemade Instant Pot Yogurt — Labneh, or Greek yogurt.
- Cream Cheese — use regular Philadelphia cream cheese, not light or low fat.
- Salt — Himalayan, ground
- Pepper — black pepper, freshly ground
Health Benefits of Acorn Squash and Kale
Acorn Squash is high in fiber, has 9 grams of fiber per cup of cooked acorn squash. It contains protein and is nutrient dense, being a good source of vitamins and minerals. The main vitamins found in acorn squash are Vitamin A and Vitamin C. While low in calories, acorn squash also contains beta-carotene, a Provitamin A antioxidant.
Kale is one of the most nutritious and healthy plant based foods in the world. Of all the leafy greens, kale takes the lead with very low calories and fat content while high in nutrients and vitamins. In addition, even though kale is low in fat, most of the fat in kale is made up of the Omega 3 fatty acid alpha linolenic-acid.
How To Make Hot And Creamy Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
Start by rinsing the acorn squashes and cut them in half, from stem to tip. Use a spoon or Halloween pumpkin carving spoon to scoop out the seeds. Place a trivet in the instant pot and add a cup of water. Place the acorn squash halves with the peel facing down on top of the trivet. Or arrange them any way you can make them fit, while not being too close to the top of the pot)
Close the lid on the instant pot and set the vent to sealing. Pressure cook on high pressure, normal heat for seven minutes (depending on the size of your acorn squash).
Once the pressure cook cycle is complete, let the pot naturally release pressure for five minutes before fully releasing the pressure (turn knob from sealing to venting) and removing the lid.
While the acorn squash is cooking in the instant pot, discard the casing from the sausages. Add the sausages and onions to a deep frying pan. Brown the sausage and onion on medium high heat until sausage is no longer pink. Then drain the excess fat.
Add the kale, tomatoes and garlic to the pan and cook for two to three minutes. Once the tomatoes start to soften, add tomato sauce, labneh or thick plain yogurt, cream cheese, salt and pepper to the pan. Mix thoroughly and let simmer for an additional five minutes until the cheese is melted.
When the acorn squash and sausage filling are fully cooked, place the squash halves on a plate and add a generous amount of creamy sausage filling to each acorn squash. Optionally, garnish with fresh basil.
STEP 1 — Prepare the Acorn Squash
- Cut the acorn squashes in halves from stem to tip.
- Scoop out the seeds and stringy inside and discard them.
- Place the halved acorn squashes on a trivet in the instant pot.
- Add one cup of water to the bottom of the pot.
- Secure the lid on the instant pot and set the vent to seal. Adjust the settings to pressure cook on high for 7 minutes. When the cycle is complete, naturally release for 5 minutes. Let out the remainder of steam and wait until the pin drops before opening lid.
STEP 2 — Cook the Creamy Sausage Filling
- Remove the casings from the sausage and place in deep frying pan together with the onion. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil if needed.
- Brown the sausage and onion on medium/high heat until sausage is no longer pink and the onion is soft. Drain the excess fat from the pan.
- Add the tomatoes, garlic, and kale to the pan. Mix all the ingredients.
- Let simmer for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and all the flavors meld together.
STEP 3 — Assemble the Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
- When the instant pot has completed the pressure cycle, including 5 minutes of natural release, release the remaining pressure by changing the knob from sealing to venting. Once the pin has dropped (indicating pressure has been fully released from the pot) you can open the lid.
- Carefully remove the acorn squash, drain any excess water from them and place on plates.
- Fill the acorn squash bowls with a heaping portion of the creamy sausage mix.
- Optionally, serve with sliced basil as garnish.
Kitchen Tools Needed to Make Sausage Filled Acorn Squash
- Instant Pot — I use a 6 Quart.
- Frying Pan — should be deep — I love using the pan from my Tagine.
Hot And Creamy Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 Acorn Squash, small (or 1 medium/large)
- ¾ pound Sausage, hot Italian, casings removed
- ½ Red Onion, small, diced
- 1 Tomato, chopped
- 1 clove Garlic, minced fine
- 1.5 cup Kale, chopped, we used frozen
- 1.5 cup Tomato Sauce, good quality marinara
- ½ cup Labneh, or Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup Cream Cheese
- ¼ cup Basil, optional
- ¼ teaspoon Salt, Himalayan
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
Acorn Squash Prep
- Cut the acorn squashes in half from stem to tip.
- Scoop out the seeds and discard them.
- Place halved acorn squashes on trivet in instant pot and add 1 cup of water.
- Secure the lid on the instant pot. Set the vent to seal. Pressure cook on high for 7 minutes. Naturally release for 5 minutes.
- Remove the casings from sausage and place in deep frying pan together with onions.
- Brown sausage and onion on medium/high heat until sausage is no longer pink. Drain excess fat.
- Add tomato, garlic and kale to the pan.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes until tomato starts to soften.
- Add tomato sauce, labneh, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
- Simmer for 5 minutes until cheese is melted and flavors meld together.
- Carefully remove the acorn squashes from the instant pot, drain any excess water, and place on plates.
- Fill the acorn squash bowls with a heaping portion of creamy sausage mix.
- Optionally, garnish with sliced basil leaves.
The above nutritional values are estimates and should only be used as a guide. If you are following a specific diet or have dietary restrictions, please use your preferred nutritional calculator. If you have a food allergy please ensure that none of the listed ingredients are part of your restrictions. As well, always use a food thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperature of the food items.
Here are Similar Recipes from Our Collection