My holiday relationship with my refrigerator is complicated. Fortunately, this Instant Pot Stuffed Acorn Squash is here to ease the tension.

Stuffed Acorn Squash in an Instant Pot with sprigs of thyme

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On the one hand, during the months of November and December, I want to be on super saintly eating behavior in my own kitchen.

On the other hand, it’s the HOLIDAYS. It’s a special time of year, and we both know that last slice of Pumpkin Sheet Cake is not going to eat itself.

Five acorn squash stuffed with wild rice, cranberry, mushroom, and chickpeas in pressure cooker

5 Star Review

“I love this recipe. Very flavorful and will definitely make it again for the family.”

— Angel —

This Instant Pot stuffed acorn squash meets me halfway.

  • It’s packed with cozy holiday flavors.
  • Ingredients such as cranberries, nutty wild rice, and thyme make this dish wholesome.
  • Like many of my favorite holiday recipes, this stuffed acorn squash tastes unique enough to serve as a side at a special holiday meal but is healthy and hearty enough to stand on its own for a light lunch or dinner.
Draining canned chickpeas in a fine-mesh strainer

The key ingredient that makes this stuffed acorn squash healthy and filling is chickpeas. Canned chickpeas are one of my pantry staples. They are:

  • Inexpensive
  • Rich in fiber and protein
  • Incredibly versatile

In fact, I have an entire section of my recipe index dedicated to chickpeas. I love these little beans!

Let’s Talk Chickpeas

Chickpeas belong to a family called “pulses,” a group that includes other superstar ingredients such as dry peas, lentils, and other kinds of beans. Adding pulses to your diet is an easy, inexpensive way to boost your nutrient intake.

Wild Rice Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash made quick and easy in the Instant Pot

How to Make Instant Pot Stuffed Acorn Squash

Instant pot acorn squash is my latest pressure cooker fixation. Instead of roasting the squash for an hour plus in the oven, the squash halves are cooked until perfectly tender in an Instant Pot.

If you don’t own an Instant Pot, you can easily make the acorn squash in the oven instead. It will take a bit longer, but the results will still be delicious.


Ingredients

  • Acorn Squash. Functions as a tasty, edible vessel for all of the wonderful filling ingredients.
  • Chickpeas. Provides essential protein and fiber to this vegan stuffed squash recipe.
  • Wild Rice. Adds some extra bulk and additional fiber.
  • Cranberries. Lends just the right amount of sweetness to balance the savory flavors in the recipe.
  • Mushrooms. Gives this dish a comforting, earthy flavor and aroma.
  • Pepitas. Or pecans, if you prefer. Either option adds a satisfying crunch that contrasts the tender squash, rice, and chickpeas.
Cooking acorn squash in an Instant Pot

Directions

  1. Cook the rice.
  2. Load up your Instant Pot with halves of the squash and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Release pressure, remove and arrange on a serving platter.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by sauteing the shallots, garlic, and mushrooms together. Add the chickpeas, cranberries, pepitas, thyme, and cooked rice and stir to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Spoon the hot filling into the cooked squash halves and serve. ENJOY!

How to Store and Reheat Instant Pot Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Reheat gently in the microwave or cover and reheat in the oven.
Delicious Stuffed Instant Pot Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Cranberry, Mushroom, and Chickpeas arranges in a cast iron skillet

For a holiday reset that doesn’t feel like one, give this wild rice, cranberry, and chickpea stuffed acorn squash a try. It will give you the feeling of cozy holiday comfort that makes this a wonderful time of year and leave you extra wiggle room for that one last cream cheese sugar cookie too.

Other Delicious Stuffed Squash Recipes

Instant Pot Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Cranberry, Mushroom and Chickpeas. A healthy, filling vegetarian or vegan meal that’s so easy and delicious! {vegan, gluten free}

Instant Pot Stuffed Acorn Squash

5 from 7 votes
Instant Pot Stuffed Acorn Squash with wild rice, cranberries, and chickpeas is a healthy, and filling vegan recipe for any occasion.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 55 mins
Total: 1 hr 15 mins

Servings: 6 stuffed halves

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice you can also use a brown and wild rice blend like this one
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 3 small acorn squashes 1 pound each, halved lengthwise, stems trimmed, and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot finely chopped, or 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 8 ounces baby bella cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can reduced-sodium chickpeas (15 ounces) rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sugar dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas or chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves chopped

Instructions
 

  • Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the rice and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer until the rice is tender, about 55 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid. Set aside.
  • Pour 1/2 cup water into the bottom of an 
    Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker. Place the steamer basket in the pot, then add the squash, cut sides up (they will overlap). Be sure not to exceed the max fill line. If your squash are larger and you exceed the line, cook the squash in two batches. Seal the lid, set pressure valve to sealing, and cook on HIGH (manual) for 4 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes, then immediately vent to release any remaining pressure. Drain and arrange on a large serving plate or baking sheet.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium low. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant, then add the mushrooms, black pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Increase heat to medium and cook until the mushrooms are softened and browned, about 5 to 7 additional minutes. Add the chickpeas, cranberries, pepitas, thyme, and cooked rice and stir to heat through, about 2 additional minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  • Spoon the hot filling into the squash halves. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 350 degree F oven.

Notes

  • To cook the squash in the oven instead of the Instant Pot: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with extra-virgin olive oil. Slice a small piece off the bottom of each squash half so level it will sit level. Set the squash on the baking sheet, scooped sides down, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully turn the squash halves over. Lightly brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return to the oven and continue baking until tender, 20 to 25 additional minutes. Stuff with wild rice–chickpea filling and enjoy.
  • To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Reheat gently in the microwave or cover and reheat in the oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 1squash halfCalories: 256kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 7gFat: 4gFiber: 7gSugar: 3g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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14 Comments

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  1. We loved your Cranberries, Wild Rice, and Chickpeas dish, it was fantastic. Why didn’t I think of that, the perfect combination? You must be some sort of genius cook.5 stars

    1. Chris, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this nice comment and review!

  2. This recipe looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it out in our new IP! 
    Question for you – my fiancé doesn’t like mushrooms, what would be a good substitute for them in this dish? 
    Thank you! (BTW your recipes are my absolute favorite… you’ve turned me from a microwave dinner girl to a real cook)

    1. Hi Jackie, you can just leave the mushrooms out! I hope you both enjoy the recipe. And thank you so much for your sweet comment about my recipes!

  3. Very good recipe. Next time I will sprinkle just a little brown sugar on squash before filling with rice … just a preference for DH.5 stars

  4. This is a favorite in our household! Also made this for our first dinner party as a married couple, entertaining both our families. My in-laws are picky eaters, so no pressure at all (insert sarcasm here). My mother-in-law loved this so much, she insisted on taking the rest as leftovers, but only these leftovers (not any of the other dishes)!5 stars

    1. Tiffany, in-law approval is the highest anyone can ask for!! Thanks so much for sharing this lovely review. It means a lot!

  5. I love this recipe. Very flavorful and will definitely make it again for the family.

    I was wondering what you thought about swapping out canned pumpkin for the acorn squash in order to serve a hoard of 20 people. I just do not have enough oven space to do all the acorn squash.5 stars

    1. Hi Angel! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe! Since the squash is used as the vessel for the filling, I don’t think canned pumpkin would work here. If you’re looking for a similar dish that can serve lots of people, I suggest checking out my Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Butternut Squash and Cranberries. It’s always a hit!