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grilled pizzette with whipped ricotta, roasted radishes and herbs

Susan Spungen’s grilled pizzettes use roasted, instead of raw, radishes to tame the vegetable’s piquant nature. (Photo credit: Susan Spungen)

Radishes on your pizza? Yes!

Susan Spungen’s just-released cookbook, Veg Forward. (Photo credit: Susan Spungen)

This beautiful and abundant springtime vegetable seems to have two camps: Those who love the zesty, juicy flavor and satisfying crunch, and those who find that sharp, bitter zing an affront to their tender palates. But in her latest cookbook, Veg Forward: Super Delicious Recipes That Put Produce at the Center of Your Plate (Harper Celebrate, May 30, 2023), part-time East Hampton resident and cookbook author Susan Spungen will bring both camps to the middle with one neat trick: roasting.

“When you roast, it takes away a lot of the sharpness with raw radishes, which is what some object to. They don’t taste as much like radishes anymore for those who don’t like them – more like a cooked turnip. It also makes them delightfully juicy – they have a lot of water in them,” says Spungen, who recently held an author evening at Amagansett’s Il Buco Vita, signing books and bestowing the masses who lined up to get them with myriad treats from her new pages. “Roast them briefly until they are just tinged with brown and take on a juicy character.”

Spungen is also a proponent of the waste-not-want-not school of veggie use. Here, she uses the tops to make bright, snappy oil that gets drizzled on the pizzette — small, personal-sized pizzas.

“I love the way a bright green oil looks. That’s why I included it in this recipe,” Spungen say. “Also, it gives a grassy freshness here.” And if you make extra, it can be stored and splashed on other dishes, from eggs to olives to grilled lamb (if you’re a meat eater).

Spungen signing books recently at Il Buco Vita in Amagansett. (Photo credit: Amy Zavatto)

“I like to try to use all the parts of the plant when I can. It’s not always easy and can be challenging to use everything. But when a good part can be utilized, why not?” she says. “Radish greens are close to arugula and mustard greens with that nutty sharpness. They’re a bit prickly when raw, so I blanche them first to take away that prickliness.”

The new book is a gorgeously photographed (by Spungen herself, drawing on her vast food-styling experience and years as the food editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia) and isn’t just for the meat-eschewing.

“It’s better to eat more vegetables — you can’t argue that. I even tell myself this because I’m not a vegetarian and I do like my protein, but I also like vegetarian protein,” she offers, adding that she’ll often include things like eggs, legumes, tofu or ricotta cheese to add an extra-filling boost to a veg-forward meal. “Think of meat as a side dish instead of the vegetables.”

If you don’t feel like making the dough yourself for this recipe, Spungen says nabbing some dough from your favorite pizza shop or market is fine, and over the flames of a grill it’s ready in minutes. And who knows, all you radish rebels — you might just fall in love with a new veg here.

Cook This Now! Susan Spungen’s grilled pizzette with whipped ricotta, roasted radishes and herbs

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes


For the dough

  • 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt

For the roasted radishes

  • 1 bunch French breakfast radishes or other small radishes, with their greens
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the radishes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the topping

  • 1 cup ricotta, preferably fresh
  • grated zest of a lemon
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • a handful of fresh herbs, such as chervil, tarragon, chives, parsley
  • flakey sea salt


To make the dough

  • In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in the sugar and olive oil. Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle. Mix briefly to combine, and slowly pour in the yeast mixture on medium-low speed until well-combined. Mix for about 5 minutes until smooth and stretchy. Scrape into an oiled bowl and turn to coat the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

To roast the radishes

  • Heat the oven to 400° F. Trim the radishes, leaving about 1/2 inch of the stem attached, and reserve the greens. Halve the radishes lengthwise and toss with enough oil to coat. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown on the cut sides. Transfer to a plate. Wash and dry about 1 cup of the greens. Put them in a food processor with the olive oil and process until smooth. Season to taste and transfer to a small bowl. Rinse out the food processor.

To make the ricotta topping

  • Process the ricotta with the lemon zest and juice in the food processor until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • When the dough it ready, heat one side of a gas grill to medium. If using a charcoal grill, make sure to leave a cool side of the grill. Thoroughly oil the grill grates.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and divide into 2 pieces. Using file hands, stretch the dough into rounds or ovals and lightly oil them. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Stretch a little larger as you transfer the pieces of dough to the hot side of the grill; don't worry if the shapes get wonky.
  • Cover the grill and turn the pizzettes after 2 to 3 minutes. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, until charred in places but not burnt. If not quite done, move to the cooler side or the upper rack of the grill, until cooked through, another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Spread the ricotta, top with the radishes, drizzle with the radish oil, sprinkle with the herbs and flaky salt, and cute into serving pieces. Serve immediately.