Kid-friendly French Tomato Tarte aux Mustard + Grapefruit Basil Niçoise Salad + Grapefruit Basil Spritz Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: French Tomato Tarte aux Mustard + Grapefruit Basil Niçoise Salad + Grapefruit Basil Spritz

Family Meal Plan: French Tomato Tarte aux Mustard + Grapefruit Basil Niçoise Salad + Grapefruit Basil Spritz

French Tomato Tarte aux Mustard + Grapefruit Basil Niçoise Salad + Grapefruit Basil Spritz

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by monicore from Pexels
prep time
30 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
6-12 servings

Fun Food Story

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French Tomato Tarte aux Mustard

Chef Instructor Dylan Sabuco created this recipe. Why? Because his husband is obsessed with mustard, and his favorite way to enjoy it is smooshed between the egg and pastry layers of Quiche Lorraine. In creating this recipe, Dylan ditched the eggs altogether, replacing them with layers of tomatoes, basil, pastry, cheese, and - naturally - mustard! The mustard ties the whole puffy treat together - rounding out a delicious balance of fat, sweet, and sour tastes. In every bite, you’ll experience a crispy crust and explosively juicy tomatoes!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • 1 1/2 C cherry tomatoes (1/2 C optional for salad)
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 bunch of basil leaves (16 leaves)
  • 2 grapefruit
  • 3 C romaine lettuce
  • 1 cucumber (optional salad ingredient)
  • 1 pkg frozen puff pastry **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free pie shells, like Wholly Gluten Free brand)**
  • 3 T grated Parmesan cheese (optional)  **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free cheese, like Daiya)**
  • 4 T dijon mustard
  • 6 T olive oil
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • 3 C sparkling water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 8-oz can or jar Kalamata or black olives, in water/brine
  • 1 8-oz can green beans (optional salad ingredient)
  • 1 8-oz can cannellini beans (optional salad ingredient)
  • 1 8-oz can artichoke hearts, in water/brine (optional salad ingredient)

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • bake :

    to cook food with dry heat, as in an oven.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • emulsify :

    to convert two or more liquids into an emulsion. What is an emulsion, you ask? It is a fine dispersion of teeny tiny droplets of one liquid into another. It’s what allows oil and vinegar to mix and not separate.

  • juice :

    to extract or squeeze out the juice of a fruit or vegetable, like a lemon, orange, or carrot, often cutting open or peeling the fruit or veggie first to access its flesh.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

  • toss :

    to lightly lift and drop food items together or coat food items with flour, or a sauce or dressing, as in a salad.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

  • zest :

    to scrape off the outer colored part of a citrus fruit's rind (skin or peel) using a metal tool with small sharp blades, such as a zester, microplane, or the small holes of a grater (avoid the "pith," the white, spongy lining of the rind that can be bitter).

Equipment Checklist

  • Small mixing bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Whisk
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Wooden spoon
  • Small saucepan
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Pitcher
  • Oven
  • Muffin pan
  • Medium saucepan
  • Bowl or liquid measuring cup
  • Pastry brush


French Tomato Tarte aux Mustard

  • 1 C cherry tomatoes
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 6 basil leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free pie shells, like Wholly Gluten Free brand)**
  • 3 T dijon mustard
  • grated Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling on top (optional) **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free cheese, like Daiya)**
  • 3 T olive oil

Grapefruit Basil Niçoise Salad

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 grapefruit, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp sugar (or honey)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 C romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 C Kalamata or black olives, chopped
  • 10 basil leaves, ripped
  • Additional ingredients (choose one or more):
  • 1/2 C green beans, chopped
  • 1/2 C cannellini beans
  • 1/2 C cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 C artichoke hearts, canned or brined
  • 1 cucumber, diced

Grapefruit Basil Spritz

  • 1 grapefruit, juiced
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 1/2 C water
  • 3 C sparkling water
  • 3 C ice (optional)

Food Allergen Substitutions

French Tomato Tarte aux Mustard

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute Wholly Gluten Free Pie Shells (2 Count) for puff pastry.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free cheese (like Daiya brand) for optional Parmesan cheese.


French Tomato Tarte aux Mustard

preheat oven

Preheat your oven to 375 °F.

chop + rip + combine

Roughly chop 1 cup cherry tomatoes, rip 6 basil leaves, and chop 1 rosemary sprig and combine in a medium saucepan with salt and pepper to taste and 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat.

sauté + transfer + cool + smash

Sauté the ingredients for 5 minutes before transferring to a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Allow to cool for a few minutes before smashing the tomatoes gently with a spoon. Set the tomato filling to the side while you prepare the dough.

divide + stretch

Unwrap 1 package of puff pastry (thawed) and divide it so you have 12 equal-sized pieces. Stretch each piece of dough to make 12 flat discs.

press + shape

Place the discs into the muffin pan wells, pressing the dough to create a cup shape.

brush + fill + sprinkle

Brush each dough cup with a bit of the 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Once the mustard has been divided into each cup, place 1 tablespoon of the tomato filling into each cup. Sprinkle a bit of Parmesan cheese (if using) on each tomato tarte cup.

bake + cool + serve

Bake the tartes for roughly 10 minutes or until golden brown in your preheated oven. Remove the tartes and cool for a few minutes before serving.

Grapefruit Basil Niçoise Salad

vinaigrette: combine + whisk + emulsify

Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, half the juice of 1 grapefruit (reserve the rest in your pitcher for the drink later), 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt and pepper to taste in a mixing bowl and begin whisking. Whisk until smooth and completely mixed. (Tip: Whisking oil and grapefruit juice together will create a semi-permanent emulsion, but adding Dijon mustard will hold the mixture together permanently and create a creamy texture.)

salad: chop + rip + toss

Chop 3 cups of romaine and 1/2 cup of olives, rip 10 basil leaves, and add to a large mixing bowl. Add all of your additional selected ingredients, then gently toss the salad together with a wooden spoon.

drizzle + serve

Finally, drizzle the grapefruit vinaigrette over the top of the salad and serve!

Grapefruit Basil Spritz

combine + simmer

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, the juice of 1 grapefruit (and any grapefruit juice reserved from the Grapefruit Basil Niçoise Salad), and 6 basil leaves and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.

discard + transfer + add

Discard the basil leaves and transfer the syrup mixture to your pitcher to cool before adding the ice and sparkling water.

add + stir + serve

Once the syrup has cooled down enough, add 3 cups of sparkling water and 3 cups of ice, if using. The drink only needs a few stirs, and it's ready to serve!

Surprise Ingredient: Tomato!

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Photo by Zaitsava Olga/

Hi! I’m Tomato!

"I'm a beautiful, juicy red Tomato. Do you pronounce my name: "tuh-may-tow" or "tuh-mah-tow?" Either way you slice it (or say it), we tomatoes are wonderfully adaptable. You'll find us fresh or cooked on sandwiches, in salads, tacos, soups, stews, sauces, and much more." 

History & Etymology

  • The tomatoes we have now descended from the pea-size fruit of wild plants that grew in western South America. Mesoamericans were the first to domesticate the tomato plant sometime before 500 BCE. 
  • Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquistador, may have brought tomatoes back to Europe in the 16th century after conquering the Aztec city, Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City). 
  • Tomatoes cultivated in North American colonies in the early 1700s may have been introduced from the Caribbean. Thomas Jefferson also brought tomato seeds back from France. Before tomatoes were used in cooking, the plants were used ornamentally due to some people's beliefs that they were poisonous. One reason for this error was that tomatoes come from the nightshade family, including the belladonna plant (or deadly nightshade), which has highly toxic leaves and berries. Another reason may be that the pewter plates they used back then adversely reacted to the acid in tomato juice. 
  • China is by far the largest producer of tomatoes in the world. In the United States, California and Florida produce the most tomatoes.
  • The American and British pronunciations of "tomato" were made famous by an Ira and George Gershwin song from 1937 called "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Americans pronounce the word "tuh-may-tow," and the British say "tuh-mah-tow."
  • The word "tomato" comes from the Spanish, French, or Portuguese "tomate," from the Nahuatl "tomatl."


  • The tomato is a berry from the tomato plant (Solanum Lycopersicum), a perennial vine. It is part of the Solanaceae family, like the potato, pepper, eggplant, and petunia. Since it is a berry, it is a fruit, although mainly used as a vegetable. 
  • A tomato's color is usually red but can also be yellow, orange, green, or purple. Tomatoes can be spherical, oval, or pear-shaped. Their flesh is pulpy with cavities, called locules, that hold the seeds. 
  • There are more than 10,000 tomato varieties. Some are hybrids, and some are heirlooms. An heirloom tomato is a variety that has been grown for generations on a family farm rather than commercially. Unfortunately, in the past 40 years, many heirloom varieties have been lost, along with the smaller family farms that grew them. However, hundreds of heirloom tomato varieties are still available. 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • If you are growing your own tomatoes, pick them from the vine while still firm, with a slight give, and before their ripe color (usually red) deepens too much. While holding the fruit, twist it off the stem until it snaps off. The leaf on top of the tomato (the calyx) and part of the stem will come with it. You can also snip it off using garden scissors.
  • When you choose tomatoes at the store, pick fruit that has smooth, brightly colored skin with no cracks or bruises, is firm but gives with slight pressure, is heavy for its size, and has a pleasant, aromatic smell. Avoid tomatoes with pale or dark spots.  
  • Store tomatoes at room temperature, as their flavor will decrease in a refrigerator's cold temperature. Wait to wash them until you are ready to use them.
  • If you plan to make a tomato sauce or soup using fresh, raw tomatoes, you will want to peel them first. This can be difficult without some preparation: First, put a pot of water on the stove to boil and fill a large bowl with cold or icy water. Next, after washing the tomatoes, use your knife to cut a shallow 'X' through the skin at the top or bottom of each one. Then use a slotted spoon to place the tomatoes into the boiling water until the skin begins to loosen and peel back at the incision, about 30 to 60 seconds. Finally, immediately dunk them into the ice water. The skin should peel easily now. You can also remove the seeds by cutting the peeled tomatoes in half and scooping the seeds out with a spoon.  
  • Tomatoes are versatile vegetables for cooking. Ripe tomatoes can be prepared fresh, stuffed, baked, boiled, or stewed, and they are the base for many sauces. You can also pickle green, unripe tomatoes, add them to salsa or bread and fry them.


  • Tomatoes are a moderate source of vitamin C, and cooked tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant, which may help protect your body's cells from damage, strengthen your immune system, and prevent some diseases.


History of Tarte Tatin!

Photo by Chatham172/
  • French "tartes" have a nearly ancient history; early records show that they have been a staple of the Sologne region of France since the 18th century. However, two hotel-owning sisters in the 1880s popularized the dish when they accidentally made a pie upside down and served it anyway. Later that dish would be known as "tarte Tatin," which reflected the sisters' last name, Tatin. By the 1920s, everyone in France had heard of a tarte Tatin. The clumsy dessert had made its way into many prominent food critics' reviews and recommendations.
  • Tarte Tatins can be made with fruit, like apples, bananas, pears, and pineapple. You can also make a tarte tatin with tomatoes or root vegetables, like carrots, parsnips, and shallots.

Let's Learn About France!

Photo by Alliance Images/
  • Bonjour (hello)! Bienvenue en (welcome to) France and the spectacular Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, and ancient Roman ruins in the Provence region.
  • France is a European country, and its official name is the French Republic. The capital city is Paris, which also has the most people. 
  • France's land area is 248,573 square miles. That is almost the size of the US state of Texas! The number of people in France is 67,874,000, about 43 percent more than in Texas.
  • The official and national language is French, which is also the official language in 12 other countries, and a co-official language in 16 countries, including Canada. 
  • France's government consists of a president, a prime minister, and a parliament and is divided into regions and departments rather than states and counties.
  • The French have a well-known motto, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."
  • In addition to the Eiffel Tower, France is known for the Louvre, the most visited art museum worldwide (the Mona Lisa resides there), the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) in southeastern France on the Mediterranean coast.
  • France is famous for the "beaux-arts" (fine arts). Paris is still home to many artists and great painters, artisans, and sculptors. Great literature came from French authors, such as Victor Hugo's novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • Paris has two popular nicknames. The most common is "The City of Light" (La Ville Lumière), which came about because Paris was the first European city to implement street lighting in 1860, lighting up the city with 56,000 gas street lamps. The second is "The City of Love," (La Ville de L'amour). This name is probably due to Paris being considered one of the most romantic cities in the world and the high number of marriage proposals at the Eiffel Tower!
  • French cuisine is known for its freshness and high quality. Many of the world's greatest pastries originated in France, such as the croissant, eclair, and macaron!
  • Other French foods are escargot (snails!), baguette (bread), ratatouille (roasted tomato, zucchini, and eggplant—remember the movie?!), and crepes (very thin pancakes).

What's It Like to Be a Kid in France?

  • Most kids start school (preschool) at around age three. Depending on the area and the school, students go to school 4 to 5 days a week. They often get a 1½-hour lunch break, and some kids go home for lunch. 
  • Dinner is served at 7:30 pm or later, so afternoon snacks are essential. "Le goûter" (goo-tay), or afternoon tea, often includes a "tartine," a slice of bread topped with something sweet or savory (like cheese, butter and jam, or Nutella). Other popular snacks are yogurt, fromage blanc (white cheese), and fruit. 
  • Popular sports for kids are soccer, bicycling, and tennis.
  • There are several parks in France, in and around Paris. Napoleon III even designed one of them, the Bois de Boulogne, where you can find beautiful gardens, lakes, a zoo, an amusement park, and two horse racing tracks. In addition, kids can go on pony rides, play mini-golf, and race remote control boats at many public parks.  
  • Of course, kids can also go to the most popular theme park in Europe, Disneyland Paris, which opened in 1992. While there, kids can go on a ride unique to Disneyland Paris: Ratatouille: The Adventure!

The Yolk's On You

Why did the tomato blush? 

Because he saw the salad dressing!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you get when you cross a cat and a grapefruit? 

A sour puss.

That's Berry Funny

How do you fix a broken tomato? 

Tomato paste!

The Yolk's On You

Why did the grapefruit stop rolling halfway up the hill?

Because it ran out of juice!

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