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Vegetable roasts that eat like a full meal

A plate of beets with feta and mint, a hearty vegetable roast.
Hearty, bold vegetable roasts — like these beets with feta and mint — can do double duty as a vegetarian main or an entire meal. Prop styling by Kate Parisian.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

As I wrote this past Friday in the intro to my romanesco con le sarde recipe, this midwinter period at the farmers market is when I turn my eye not to flamboyant seasonal fruits, but to all the hearty veggie standbys — crucifers and crunchy roots — that make getting my daily dose of veggies easy. A quick chop, a bath in olive oil and a sprinkling of seasonings is all the vegetables need before a stint in the oven to blister and char. And often, they’re all I eat for dinner, no meat or other sides required; just a bright sauce to drag them through.

In that spirit, here are a couple filling vegetarian “mains” that I prefer to utilize as my entire meal to make cooking for myself that much easier. If I’ve got cauliflower, I’m spooning a deliciously pungent bagna cauda sauce, redolent with anchovies and garlic, over the roasted wedges. For beets, I roast them with a slick of chile oil and then serve them with blocks of feta and showered with chopped almonds and mint. My roast mushroom stroganoff omits the beef and doubles down on the sweet mushroom-y goodness by using dried porcini in the sour cream sauce. And for the easiest dish of all, I chuck some small potatoes and fennel into a baking dish with olive oil and bay leaves so their floral essence can infuse the spuds.

Make the full recipes and keep the leftovers for meals later in the week, pairing them with a piece of fish or chicken or simply warming them up to eat again as is. In these endless quarantine times, you gotta pick whichever path makes you happy.

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Romanesco con le Sarde

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 2 to 4

The sauce comes together while the romanesco roasts, so this dish is ready when you are.

Cauliflower with bagna cauda

Time 30 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Typically used as a dip for crunchy cold veggies, bagna cauda works wonderfully spooned over blistered wedges of cauliflower.

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Chile Oil-Roasted Beets With Feta, Almonds and Mint

Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Even beet-haters will like this dish that balances the root’s sweetness with spicy chile oil and salty feta.

Roasted Mushroom Stroganoff

Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6.

Dried porcini reinforce the sour cream sauce for this beefless stroganoff, a showcase of beautiful whole roasted mushrooms.

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Roast potatoes, onions, fennel and bay leaves

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Simple bay leaves infuse potatoes, fennel and onions with their spicy, floral aroma in this easy baked dish.

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