Instant Pot Stuffed Carnival Squash

Kari Lund


Recipes, Nutrition


Stuffed carnival squash is a one pot wonder that has all of the taste in half the time. Cooking a whole squash is time intensive but using an Instant Pot pressure cooker allows you to throw together a complete meal or fancy side dish all at once and much quicker.


Carnival squash is a small festive looking squash that is similar to acorn squash. If you can’t find a carnival, swap an acorn variety as they have nearly identical taste and nutrition. The carnival squash has a somewhat creamy texture which pushes it directly into that seasonal comfort food category that can accompany any stuffing from savory to sweet. For this dish, we’re going on the savory side with a southwest seasoned quinoa and black bean mixture that cooks up perfectly in the same amount of time as the squash.



Quinoa and black bean stuffing is a hearty vegan filling so this dish is suitable for all eaters at your table. Of course, if you wish to add a bit of meat protein, stir in some precooked diced chicken directly into the pot prior to cooking or you can also top each squash serving with shredded Mexican cheese.


Instant Pot Stuffed Carnival Squash

Instant Pot Stuffed Carnival Squash


Calories 285, Protein 10g, Total Carbs 46g, Fat 9g



Prep time: 10 min

Closed Pot Time: 20 min

Serves: 4 as a side, or 2 as a main dish




  • 1 carnival or acorn squash, halved and seeded (or just slice off the top and scoop out the seeds)
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth or broth of any kind
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp of the adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers can)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan or smoked salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)


Preparation Instructions:


  1. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  2. Stir in quinoa, broth, black beans, chipotles, adobo, green onions, garlic, cumin, and salt until evenly combined.
  3. Set the trivet overtop quinoa mixture.
  4. Place squash halves on the trivet.
  5. Sprinkle squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper.
  6. Secure lid on the pot and close the pressure-release valve.
  7. Select RICE function (normal, low pressure) for 12 minutes. When cooking is complete, let it depressurize naturally.
  8. Remove squash and place on a plate.
  9. Stir the quinoa and add additional salt or red pepper flakes if desired to taste and stir in the cilantro.
  10. Serve with quinoa mixture scooped into each squash half.


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