Jack In The Box Tacos

Faux Jack In The Box Tacos?  Ridiculous sounding, I know.  But yeah, it’s a part of my life, a delicious one I want to share with you.  Maybe you’ve found yourself in the same disheartening situation as I did…

When I was younger, I would smash my face into Jack In The Box tacos every chance I got.  Monster tacos to be exact.  Something about that questionable meat, the greasy fried goodness in that big shell.  Good times.

But, we don’t have one here in Mobile, Alabama.  The nearest one is Baton Rouge. Not that far, true, but too far to drive for a damn taco.  I still got my fix.  Everywhere I would travel I would seek that greasy goodness out.

Then one day I woke up and I wasn’t a young buck.  I was a man with slightly elevated cholesterol.  That sent my wife into full blown “we’ve go to do something now” mode.

She’s weird with food anyway, so this was her dream come true.  She doesn’t really care for bacon, uh, weirdo.  Her last meal on Earth would probably be lima beans and broccoli. Uh huh. Weirdo.  She truly feels the most decadent dessert in the world is strawberries topped with strawberries.  You get me?

So one day, after the dreaded cholesterol news, she said she’s found the answer to my Jack In The Box problem.  We can have it anytime and it’s good for me!  Yipee!  I immediately had my doubts.  Come on…one cannot replicate monster tacos AND make it delicious AND make it good for me.

She did though.  Ten years later and she still makes these tacos and I still love them. They are not greasy folded goodness.  They are not fried, although sometimes she does pan fry them…in butter flavored coconut oil.  They are not full of questionable substances called “meat”.  They are lentils!  Goodie, goodie lentils.

She found this recipe from a now defunct blog called Style That Food.  The photos were magnificent, as she was a food stylist by profession, if I remember correctly.  So long ago, it’s hard to be sure, but I know it was a beautiful photo so I agreed to be tested on. With lentils.

Very easy, very cheap and if you steal politely snatch some taco sauce from Jack In The Box, it does taste remarkably like their tacos. No, I’m serious!  And the beauty of it is that you can have it anytime you want. It makes a heap of “meat” and because it’s legumes and beans it’s very filling.  You’re not gonna stuff 10 in your mouth like you would Jack In The Box tacos.  Don’t judge me.  We put the leftovers in a couple of zip top bags, label and freeze.  You take it out in the morning to defrost and when you get home you just assemble.  Easy peasy.

So give it a try if you like Jack In The Box tacos, or if you’re just trying to get your health under control. Don’t tell your family what it is until they try it. Families don’t usually bang their forks on the table in unison screaming “Lentils! Lentils! Lentils!”.

Faux Jack In The Box Tacos. That are good for you!Click To Tweet



1 cup dried lentils, just plain old green/brown lentils
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 cup refried beans, I love these
1/2 packet taco seasoning
tortillas – I like Tortilla Factory or Mission Extra Thin Corn tortillas
taco sauce/hot sauce of your choosing
sliced cheese, folded in half to make a triangle
lettuce, tomato, sour cream


Heat oven to 400°. In a medium sauce pan bring water to a boil. Add salt and lentils and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, until tender. Don’t over cook them and turn them into a pile of mush, but you do want them tender.

When tender, add taco seasoning and refried beans to make a thick paste.

Warm tortillas in the microwave to make them pliable and to prevent cracking. Place 1/4 cup filling in the tortilla, add hot sauce, and triangle of cheese. Fold over.

Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with non stick spray or oil or place on parchment paper. Very lightly coat the side that’s facing up with oil. Use your fingertips, for just that slightest coating. Cook for 12 minutes. I like to cook for 6, and flip them over, but it’s not necessary. If you want it more crispy, you can cook for additional 2 minutes at a time.

Pry open and add lettuce and more hot sauce if you like. Garnish with extras if that’s how you roll.

**NOTE: As I said before, we have pan fried these and they are delicious that way. It does take a little longer because you have to do it in batches, depending on how many you’re making. But if you want to go that route, heat a little oil up in a skillet. When it gets hot, pan fry. Flip so you can get both sides looking lovely.
If you have an air fryer, perfect for these. I have the Delonghi so for mine, I set it on 4 for 4 minutes, flip then for 2 additional minutes. Perfection.
Also, like I said, this is filling. I can only eat three of these. My wife eats two.
This is perfect for tostadas as well!

Want other veggie taco recipes?
Vegetarian Tacos featuring zucchini
Crispy Baked Avocado Tacos with Purple Cabbage Slaw
Smoky Black Bean and Caramelized Sweet Potato Tacos with Blistered Corn and Avocado-Lime Crema

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88 thoughts on “Faux Jack in the Box Tacos”

  1. This meal looks amazing and too delicious to be healthy. I laughed at how you describe your wives eating habits, oh how I wish i shared her discipline. Pinning this recipe.

    1. Thanks Leanna! Oh, it’s not discipline. She just likes that stuff by nature. Give her plate with bacon or broccoli, it’s broccoli every time – with a ‘can I have more please’. She would rather me cook bacon outside because it “stinks up the house”. lol Weirdo I tell you, weirdo.

  2. I make a dish we call “Sloppy Jill” (instead of “Sloppy Joe’s) with basically the same ingredients, just a little looser and served on a bun. I’ll try it your way, but I’m going to call it Jill in the Box tacos, for sure.

  3. This is too funny. My hubby loves JIB tacos too and my oldest daughter hates bacon. We all think she’s weird and I may have to check if she is my child…lol. Anyway, I’ll have to try these healthy version of JIB tacos and see how the hubby likes it.

    1. You gotta love the bacon haters….they are one of a kind for sure! Let me know if the hubster likes them. They’re good!

  4. I saw your “Faux Jack In the Box Tacos” featured on Welcome Home Wednesday. They looked so good that and I had to check them out. I was thrilled to see that they are made with lentils. Several years ago my daughter announced that she had decided to go vegetarian and I really struggle to find things to feed her that my husband will tolerate. Also, I worry that she is not getting enough protein so the lentils are a great choice. I’ve pinned your recipe and will be making it for her on her birthday which is Friday. Thanks so much.

    1. I have no doubt everyone in your family, meat eaters or not, will love these! You really don’t even realize or even miss the meat.
      Happy birthday to your daughter!

  5. Hi! I’m one of the co-hosts from the Welcome Home Wednesday Link up. I’ve never had Jack in the Box but these sound delicious! I want to make them asap now! Thank you for sharing!

  6. I made these last night. AMAZING and so easy and healthy. I will definitely save this recipe and make them again.

  7. These sounds very good and as a fellow suffer of the dreaded elevated Cholesterol I know that suffering and this sounds so good thank you Mrs Bearded Hiker

      1. I’ve never had Jack in the Box nor tacos made any way other than the traditional way. These were amazing and really you can dress them up any way you like. I used different cheeses on mine. American slices on some, Gouda on some, and pepper Jack on some. All were equally fabulous. I baked mine this time for convenience but I’m definitely going to try them fried.

  8. Wow, they do look delicious, and you say lentils? I love Jack in the Box tacos, but have only had them a couple of times. Burger Kind makes similar ones and I just have to have them now and then. Thanks for sharing your wives recipe with SYC.

    1. Thanks Jann! Yes, lentils!
      Burger King you say? I’ll have to try them. But I hope with everything in my soul that they are nothing like Jack in the Box. My cholesterol will kill me.

  9. I am so excited to find this recipe! I love Jack’s tacos and sadly they closed in our area several years ago!! Thank you so much for sharing this. I will be trying it very soon!! YEA!

    1. Lin, let me know how you like them! They are definitely a suitable replacement taco until you can get some of that greasy goodness! I love that I’ve found so many JitB taco lovers – I never knew so many of us existed!

  10. What a great idea for a taco, these look awesome! Hope you have a great 4th of July weekend and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

  11. I’ve never been to Jack in the Box either but they sound wonderful!!! And easily made gluten free. YUM! Thanks for stopping by my linkup today!!

  12. Lentils make a great meat substitute. They don’t have a strong flavor on their own so you can season them any way you want. Congratulations to your wife for finding a way to replace the “grease bombs.”

  13. These look delicious. I’ll admit that I’ve never eaten at Jack in the Box but I would eat these tacos any day.

  14. Yum! I love tacos and like you love refined beans! These tacos look fab. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

    1. That’s really what makes this recipe a gem. I really, truly, (even though sometimes it doesn’t look like it) try to stay away from recipes that have super long ingredients. I like simple, good food. Most times, the simpler the better! Thanks again Monika!

  15. When I saw the title of this post, my first thought was “Sacrilege! What is he thinking?!?!” Jack in the Box Tacos are a food category unto themselves! But…..after reading the recipe, I have to admit…these sound pretty darn great. I will definitely be giving them a try in the very near future because like you, I live in a town with NO Jack in the Box. Although we literally have several thousand restaurants here in Myrtle Beach, we are a barren wasteland when it comes to Jack in the Box. What a pity! Thanks for adding some hope into my taco-starved life!

    1. That’s exactly what I thought when she told me she was gonna make them! They are pretty damn good though and to be honest, what other choice do I have? It’s not like I can bebop down the street to get a real Jack in the Box taco.

      Do try and let me know what you think!

    1. Yeah, we usually do a salad or spanish rice. I like to use bloody mary mix as my liquid for the rice!

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