This is one of those recipes that we came up with because necessity is the mother of creativity. Being quarantined right now owing to the Coronavirus, we are having to get a bit more creative both to stretch our food (so as to not use anything up too quickly), and to keep from getting into a boring rut. This stuffed squash satisfied all of these criteria, particularly as it also helped us to repurpose leftovers into something completely different!
One of the things that we stocked up on was winter squashes, because they keep so well, and are so versatile. Also, because they are cooked (one of us is in three different high-risk categories, and given that the most credible information that we’ve been able to find, from a study published in the NIH, is that Coronaviruses can last for several days on fresh produce and some can even replicate in the gut (same study), we are only eating produce that is cooked for now.
One of the squashes that we bought is called a red Kuri squash, also known as Kori squash, Japanese squash, Hokkaido squash, Hokaido squash, baby hubbard squash and, we are told, Potimarron squash.
Whatever you call it, it’s darned adorable, and with its unique shape, we immediately thought that it would lend itself particularly well to stuffing and cooking in the Instant Pot.
And, we were right!
Perfect for Standing Up and Stuffing!
Really, though, you can do this with any hard squash that you can both fit and stand in your Instant Pot. It’s just that the Kuri squash lends itself particularly well to this, and of course its delicious (and so darned cute)! Mini pumpkins would also be perfect for this. Here’s how we did it.
Vegan Stuffed Squash in the Instant Pot – Gluten-Free and Perfect for Using Up Leftovers
These directions are for a Kuri squash, and describe the stuffing ingredients that we used. They should work for any hard squash, and nearly any filling ingredients, but of course you may need to adjust along the way.
1 Kuri squash, top cut off and seeds removed – save the top
Enough already cooked (here’s where you get to use up some leftovers!) robust grain-like ingredient to fill the squash’ cavity about 3/4s full, we used brown rice but white rice or buckwheat would also be good for this
1/4 cup raw cashews or other nuts (or you can also use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds)
1/2 cup cubed firm vegetable of any type (we used up some already cooked sweet potato cubes, but mushrooms would be amazing in this, especially if you used walnuts for the nuts)
1/2 cup cubed tempeh (optional, but we had it and threw it in and it was awesome)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Any herbs you like, to taste (we used some thyme and marjoram)
Enough vegetable or mushroom broth to make all of the above, when mixed together, moist (but not wet!)
Optional: 1/4 cup dried fruit such as raisins, chopped apricots, or cranberries
Set the squash aside. Mix all of the rest of the ingredients except the broth in a bowl, and once it is well mixed, drizzle in the broth a little at a time, mixing after each addition of broth, until the mixture is moist but not wet. You want it to be just moist enough to hold together a bit (plus it will get moister when it cooks in the Instant Pot).
Pile the stuffing into the squash until it comes up to the top of the squash, and then lightly place the top back on it (or, if it’s easier, wait until it’s in the Instant Pot to put the top back on it).
Put a cup of water in the Instant Pot, then set the squash on a rack inside the Instant Pot (if you haven’t already put the top of the squash back onto the squash, do it now).
Lock on the lid, close the vent, and select Manual, for 25 minutes.
After it is done cooking, let natural pressure release (NPR) for about 15 minutes, and then quick release (QR) any remaining pressure.
Lift the squash out of the Instant Pot and serve!
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