Instant Pot Easy Chili Acorn Squash Bowls

Hole.Leeeee.Balls. Does being an adult mean you just constantly talk about how busy you are until you die? Because that’s all I’m doing lately. Last week was all travel and tomorrow I leave for Mexico then straight to Omaha. I haven’t even gotten fully excited about Mexico yet because I’m just wondering if our place has wifi and how much work I can get done on the flight there. How dumb is that? It’s my best friends 30th birthday and I’m thinking about how the hell I’m going to learn to edit a podcast by Saturday. I suck.

As I was driving yesterday and constantly checking my elevated heart rate on my Fitbit to see if my heart would soon explode, I kept wondering how people with kids do it. I’m in a constant state of stress now that the holidays are right around the corner and the anxiety is punching me in the face. And we aren’t even buying presents this year. SCORE! But how do people with children do it? My friends with kids all say they just drink to deal with the stress. But what if I don’t really drink? Does that mean I’ll just turn to chocolate to deal with the stress if I ever make the mistake of birthing a human? The chocolate part sounds delightful, but destructive at the same time. I think I need to download a meditation app. Or go on a Mexico vacation. OH WAIT!!!

Speaking of meditation, I need to get a book for Mexico. Any recommendations? Maybe I should just walk my ass down my stairs to find all the 14 books I’ve purchased for vacations then never finished. That would be the rational adult thing to do. But as we know, I’m not rational. If it’s not Twilight, I won’t finish it. Sad, but so very very true. I got through part of 50 Shades but then I felt weird sitting next to a person on a plane, farting after stuffing their face with airport McDonald’s. If you’re ever going to make the terrible decision to eat McDonald’s, don’t let it be in an airport. Anywho, it feels weird getting the warm and fuzzies from 50 Shades next to a person who is creating their own version of warm and fuzzies. I hate flying.

I need to shave my arms. Prickly arms are annoying. But hairy arms are disgusting.

Ummmmmmm can we take a second to say WTFMATTLAUER!!? I TRUSTED YOU!! Except I knew he couldn’t be trusted when he said one morning that he doesn’t like when people cuss. Those people can NEVER be trusted. Ever. But for real. I watched that man lose his hair for more years than I care to count and he deceived me. He deceived us all! The bastard.

I think this post sums up the state of my brain at the moment. I’ll stop there.

PaleOMG Instant Pot Easy Chili Acorn Squash Bowls


Instant Pot Easy Chili Acorn Squash Bowls


  • Author: juli
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 2 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (15 ounce cans) crush tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the coconut sour cream:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can of coconut cream
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lime
  • pinch of salt
  • cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • green onions, chopped, for garnish


  1.  Pour 1 cup of water in the basin of an instant pot.* Place the rack in the basin of the instant pot and place 2 acorn squash halves in the instant pot. Secure lid, close off pressure valve then press high pressure and press the up button until it hits 13 minutes. Once it’s done cooking, use the quick release to let the pressure out. Remove squash, add 1/2 cup of water then add the other squash and repeat. 
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Once squash is done cooking, cut the bottom of the squash to create a flat surface then place on a baking sheet, grease and lightly salt then place in the oven while the chili cooks.**
  3. Pour water out of basin, place the basin back in the instant pot then press the sauté button. Add the ground beef and break into small pieces. Once slightly browned, add the peppers, onions and garlic and combined. Then add the crushed tomatoes, spices and salt and pepper. Mix until all ingredients are combined. The press cancel, secure lid, close off pressure valve, press the chili button then press the down button until the time hits 20 minutes. Once it’s done cooking, use the quick release the let the pressure out.
  4. Mix together all the ingredients for the coconut sour cream.
  5. Add chili to acorn squash bowls, top with coconut sour cream, cilantro and green onions


 * I have an 8 quart instant pot

** This step is totally optional, I just find that it keeps the squash warm while the chili cooks.

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PaleOMG Instant Pot Easy Chili Acorn Squash Bowls

PaleOMG Instant Pot Easy Chili Acorn Squash Bowls


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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


39 thoughts on “Instant Pot Easy Chili Acorn Squash Bowls”

  1. First of all, yum to this recipe! Second – yay to Mexico! I like quick books – Gone Girl was great because each chapter was the perspective of one of the characters and they were short chapters. I took Girl on the Train to Maui and read it on the beach. Easy peasy and was interesting … I hope this helps!

      1. Not all people that have kids are miserable. This cannot be applied to everyone. I was told that I wouldn’t have kids and I have 2 boys, thankfully. We do not have a chaotic lifestyle because we choose not to fill our lives with a chaotic schedule. Life can be simplified by not filling your calendar with “busyness”. I, as a parent, wouldn’t trade having kids and life with them for anything in the world. I just had to reply that life with kids isn’t always miserable. Life is what we make it.

  2. People with kids have miserable lives. I feel bad for them. Not to mention those who have normal jobs instead of businesses are total slaves to the boss. All of my co-workers but children are always in fear of losing their jobs and refuse to stand up to the boss man. If I lost my job I’d be alright until I found another one, so anytime they asked me to stay and work late I say no I have to go workout. My health is more important than my job. All of my coworkers are fat and out of shape because they have to stay and work all kinds of hours to pay for their kids college fund. Sucks to be them

    1. Verna, if I may be so bold as to speak on behalf of all us miserable, fat, out of shape, and sucky parents out there:

      Thank you for not having children.

      1. Thank you for saying that! I was so upset after reading that comment that I considered banning this website and these terrific recipes from my paleo repertoire! Comments like that on websites can make the website owner even look bad. Juli, you may need to ban this individual or it could affect you with others as well, down the road.

    2. Verna, your comments are so ridiculous. I had a fabulous and fun life before I had kids and I have a fabulous and fun (albeit different) life now that I have kids. I can still rock a bikini because like you, I make the time to work out and eat healthy. I also have a “normal job” and have the balls to stand up to my boss. Like Bethany said, thank you for not having kids because they would probably end up being the playground bully.

  3. The City of Bones series is amazing! I thought it was better than Twilight… and I really liked Twilight. Have a fun trip!

  4. Twilight-esque book series that are very easy vacation reads:

    1. The Gender Game by Bella Forrest. Basically, like Hunger Games/Divergent, those whole series. I love some good society categorizations!

    2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass. Another YA pick, with creatures and magic and an actually cool heroine. Some sexy parts but not over the top (like 50 Shades and def not obvious so you can read on the plane without judgment =D) and a whole saving-the-world theme.


  5. I live in MN where it was in the single digits today. I refuse to feel bad for someone going to Tulum. SO JEALOUS!!! You could try a thriller like Dan Brown or if you are into more “chick” books you could look into Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum) or Sophie Kinsella (Shopaholic series). So many good books out there! I love a good period romance by Philippa Gregory:)

  6. Do you have any idea how pompous and judgey your posts come off? You consistently talk about ppl body shaming you yet you shame this person who had the “audacity” to sit next to you and fart. Worse of all ate McDonald’s. Wow. As someone who used to follow you on the regular before you became this person I’m horrified. You know, Juli, you can be real and not mean at the same time.

    1. i’m sorry this upset you, niki. i wasn’t trying to do so. I’m not a fan of McD’s nor do I think people should eat it when it causes them intestinal distress while on a closed vessel 10,000 ft above the ground. i’m not sure why a statement about a person farting in public space is so upsetting to you, but i apologize for any upset i caused you.

  7. Ok, dumb question- what do you mean when you say “close off pressure valve”? I don’t think I’ve ever done that or maybe I did and I didn’t know it? Ahhhh Instant Pots give me anxiety.

    Also, I totally thought you’d get flak for saying kids would be a mistake or whatever (I’m with ya) but I did NOT see it coming with that fart comment. Wow, internet people keppin me on my toes!

  8. I do enjoy reading your blog and I do realize all people have different opinions. I happen to have many that differ from you but I still follow because I enjoy lots of things you post (especially recipes!). I’m not one to get offended often or easily. I do feel like the “mistake of birthing a human” is a bit harsh though. That’s very insensitive. I know we cant all be completely sensitive to ALL people because that’s just impossible. But you are someone’s child. You weren’t a mistake. My two beautiful babies aren’t a mistake. I think it’s amazing when women admit they don’t want kids. Too many women have them because they think that’s what we are all supposed to do. Sometimes that works out for them and sometimes it doesn’t. But maybe you could just find other ways to say you don’t want kids? It’s great that you want to do something else. But that doesn’t make having kids a mistake. I wouldn’t tell you how horrible your life is for not birthing a human:)

      1. You’re welcome. Thanks for taking it the right way. I definitely wasn’t trying to sound like someone who gets butt hurt easily over any and everything!

    1. You said it exactly as I was feeling it. That comment was extremely harsh (both because I was given up for adoption rather than being aborted and because I was told I wouldn’t have kids myself and was blessed with TWO… undeservingly). Humans aren’t mistakes. God doesn’t make mistakes. If life is miserable and stressed after kids, it isn’t the kids’ fault(s). It is the parent’s ability to juggle a life of work and kids well or not. Life has to be balanced, and if more and more “stuff” is getting added to a schedule, then life gets stressful. I would say take a look at what needs to be tweaked instead. I will no longer be buying cookbooks, unfortunately, from Juli or following this website. I am very sad to have to do that and say that. Be careful what you say and what you allow others to say on here. I respect opinions of others but not when they become full of hate. I move away from people that are toxic in that sense. It’s a sad day for me today.

  9. This recipe was Oh. So. Yummy! The ingredients were few, and simple, but there were a lot of steps. I think in the future I would just cook the squash in the oven at the same time my chili is cooking to avoid the 2 batches of squash cooking. The holes in my squash were pretty small, so I over filled then with chili, and also added avocado to the top. I have a ton of leftover chili, so I plan to use it to top some sweet potatoes tonight! So glad I tried this recipe!

  10. I’ve made this twice now, amd LOVE it! I always have tons of leftovers, and there is so much flavor and a little kick. It may even be better leftover. Anyway, second time I made it I decided to just roast acorn squash in oven while chili cooked to cut back on a step. I had the whole dinner done in 30 mins. Just halved squash and cut flat spots on end to sit like a bowl, drizzled with olive oil salt and pepper, and roasted face down on baking sheet at 400 for about 30 mins. I EVEN got my 11 year old step son to eat it and he eats NOTHING! Total win!! We hardly ever have kids because they live so far, so switching from Paleo to kid friendly is nearly impossible especially because their mother feeds then shit. So anything Paleo that they will eat goes in my WIN file, for next time!! Juli, can you make a kid friendly paleo book? I’ll help you with all the things I’ve found kid approved by the pickiest eaters!!

  11. This recipe was great – the chili was so good! However, my squash bowls were so mushy that I had to run to the store to grab new ones. I instead changed my instant pot to 3 minutes and it was great. If anyone else has mushy squash, I’d suggest lowering the amount of time 🙂

  12. I’ve made this recipe six times. My family and I absolutely love it! Some adjustments that I make are: using Italian sausage instead of ground beef, adding a can of diced tomatoes to chili before cooking it, adding two potatoes (In big dices) to chili with a half cup of extra water before cooking it and adding a can of beans (usually navy) to chili after it’s cooked.
    This meal makes everyone so happy! Thank you!

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