We’d ride the C-train right to ‘the end of line’; it was the University of Calgary in those days. Then we’d make the long trek, walking for what seemed like a zillion miles to Aunt Joan and Uncle Harry’s house in Varsity. Back then, I’d do almost anything for a home cooked meal, especially a holiday meal.
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When we moved to Calgary, they were the only people we knew and they would always make room for us at Thanksgiving (and any other friends or family that were in need of good company and a fantastic holiday meal.) And Aunt Joan always made this amazing Mashed Turnips N’ Apples Casserole, which I have lightened up to 5 Weight Watchers Freestyle Smart Points and turned into a healthy turnip recipe!
For a myriad of reasons, I never imagined, that all these years later, I’d be the one making this turnip casserole. But time is a wizard.
Seriously, at that point in my life, I could barely cook. And if you knew me back then, you’d have a hard time believing that all these years later, I’d actually be creating my own recipes. If you’re interested in reading about just how pathetic I was when it came to cooking back in the day, you can do that HERE.
Secondly, growing up, I hated turnips. I had a gag hate, then spit into a napkin kind of revulsion for turnips. My Mom cooked the crap out of them then smashed them into oblivion and it was not pretty, nor was it appetizing. They had this raunchy aftertaste that no vegetable deserves to possess and I wanted nothing to do with them. That is, until I tried this turnip casserole! Then every nasty feeling I ever had for turnips dissipated.
Weight Watchers Casserole:
Aunt Joan and Uncle Harry are both gone now and I miss them desperately. And the way I deal with missing people is by making their food. It’s not only comforting, it helps me honor them and carry on family traditions. So, recently, when I went to make this turnip casserole side dish for a holiday dinner, being back on Weight Watchers, I looked at the smart points and knew I needed to lighten it up!
Aunt Joan adored The Best of Bridge cookbooks and that’s where this recipe originally came from. They are excellent recipes, but are definitely not known for being light or Weight Watchers friendly. Fortunately, I didn’t want to live without this family tradition and I was able to bring this turnip side dish down to 5 points.
Okay, so I know what you’re thinking – it’s the butter that makes it so good! And yes, I totally get that butter makes everything better, but in this case, it’s not just the butter because I removed most of it to lighten up this dish. I really think there’s just some kind of magical reaction when you combine apples, brown sugar and even butter flavor. It simply transforms mashed turnips into utter deliciousness.
So, if you are looking for mashed turnip recipes, give this one a try! Even if you’re not a fan of mashed turnips, this recipe will definitely turn you, and without breaking the weight watchers points bank!
Time is a wizard
Not only is the end of the line a lot further down the road than it once was, I have also come a long way since the days when I could barely cook canned soup and grilled cheese without burning it. But what is even more surprising, given my life-long loathing for turnips, is that I’m the one making this turnip casserole at Thanksgiving.
At Uncle Harry’s funeral last fall, we got to connect with some of Aunt Joan & Uncle Harry’s friends; the ones that we spent many-a-special holiday dinners with. It really was beyond wonderful to be able to reminisce with them about those days and the amazing meals we shared. And now that I’m the one making this dish, I hope that one day, I can pay it forward and make this for family and/or friends that are in need of a home cooked holiday meal as much as I was back then.
Looking for other vegetarian and Weight Watchers friendly Thanksgiving side dishes? Try this Gluten-free Corn Succotash!
Mashed Turnip & Apple Casserole- Light & Weight Watchers Friendly
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- Preheat oven 350 degrees F and spray a medium casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Peel, dice, cook, drain and mash the turnip with maple syrup, apple sauce and butter extract
- Peel and slice apples. Toss with brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Layer in casserole dish, alternating between turnip and apple mixture and beginning with and ending with turnips.
- Mix flour and brown sugar together, then cut 2 tbsp of butter into mixture and combine. Pat down on top of casserole.
- Bake in prepared oven for one hour.