Slow Cooker Chicken and Acorn Squash With Coconut-cashew Sauce

Toss together the ingredients into your slow cooker and let it do all the work for you.

Recipe: How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken and Acorn Squash with Coconut-Cashew Sauce
 Courtesy Image

At 32g of protein per serving, this easy slow cooker dish will help build muscles, while providing a boatload of antioxidant vitamins A and C.

*Chef’s note: To prepare this recipe using fresh chicken, simply skip step 2. If using large frozen chicken breasts, continue defrosting on three-minute medium power intervals until chicken is thawed. I recommend cutting large pieces into smaller pieces before placing in slow cooker.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 484; protein: 32g; fat: 33g; carbs: 22g; sugar: 0g

Recipe and photo by Regan Jones, R.D., founding editor at

Prep time

15 min.

Cook time

70 min.

  • 1 lb frozen* chicken tenderloins
  • 1 (15-oz) can coconut milk (or light coconut milk, if preferred)
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 tsp curry powder, divided
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup cashew or peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or freeze-dried cilantro, reconstituted
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce (if gluten-free, use tamari)
  • Juice of 1 lime

Turn slow cooker to high. Arrange frozen chicken in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Defrost in Microwave on medium power (50%) for 3 minutes. Let stand 3 minutes. Turn chicken over. Microwave an additional 3 minutes on medium power (50%) for 3 more minutes. 

While chicken defrosts, pierce flesh of squash using a knife (be careful to turn blade side away from the hand holding the squash).

Spoon 1 heaping Tbsp of coconut cream off top of coconut milk into bottom of slow cooker; let melt while you finish prepping squash. 

Once chicken is thawed, microwave squash 3 minutes on high or until you can easily slice off top, bottom, and cut in half (be careful not to overcook). Scoop out seeds and cut into large slices. 

Arrange chicken over melted coconut cream in bottom of slow cooker; sprinkle with 1 tsp curry powder and 1/2 tsp salt.

Arrange squash slices over chicken. Pour remaining coconut milk over squash, and sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp of curry powder. Cover, and cook on high 4 hours.

Carefully remove chicken and squash to a serving platter with a slotted spoon; keep warm. 

Strain liquid in slow cooker over a bowl with a sieve (discarding solids.) Add cashew butter, cilantro, soy sauce, and lime juice to slow cooker. Stir until smooth. Serve sauce over chicken and squash.