The Cultured Cook's butternut salad recipe

From veggies to meat, it's delicious and surprisingly affordable to enjoy upgraded meals.

The New Year, New You: Dinners cooking class explores different ethnic traditions with Caribbean Pumpkin Soup with Tomato, Okra & Salami, Beef & Quinoa Lettuce Tacos, Mushroom & Pepper Shakshouka and Roasted Butternut Salad with Baby Spinach, Apples & Blue Cheese. All dishes are gluten free.

The class is on February 22 at the Birmingham Community House from 7-9 p.m with The Cultured Cook Lisa Howard. The cost is $40. To register, contact The Community House at 248-644-5832.

For more information on Lisa Howard, visit You can get one of her recipes below.

Makes 4 servings

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon thyme
Sea salt & fresh grind of pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:
12 ounces cubed butternut squash (about 1 small butternut squash)
5 ounces baby spinach
¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced
1 firm apple, preferably Fuji or Gala
4 ounces blue cheese

To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the Dijon and thyme. Add a dash of sea salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper and whisk again. Slowly drizzle and whisk in the olive oil. Dressing can be refrigerated for 4 days. Makes about ¼ cup dressing.

To make the salad, start by either roasting or simmering the squash.* To roast it, toss the cubed squash with extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and bake on a parchment-covered baking sheet at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cubes are starting to turn golden brown. To simmer it, fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the squash, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the squash has reached its desired tenderness.

Add the cooked squash, the baby spinach, and the onion to a large mixing bowl. Cut the apple into thin slices or matchsticks and add to the salad. Immediately add the dressing and toss well. (The acidity of the dressing will help prevent the apples from browning.)

Serve the salad garnished with the blue cheese. Because of the apples, this salad is best eaten immediately, although it can be refrigerated for 2 days. (The apples will slightly brown.) Dressing can be refrigerated for a week.

*Note: Roasting the squash will result in a richer, caramelized flavor than simmering it.