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Faux Jack in the Box Tacos

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

5 from 1 vote

Faux Tacos

Easy, cheap vegetarian/vegan tacos delicious enough that even your hardcore carnivores will love!


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


  1. 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.

  2. When tender, add taco seasoning and refried beans to make a thick paste.  How much refried beans you use depends on how much water is left with your lentils. 

  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Pry open and add lettuce and more hot sauce if you like. Garnish with extras if that’s how you roll.

Recipe Notes

As I said before, we have pan fried these and they are delicious that way as well. 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.

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!

If you are vegan, no you do not have to add the oil.  Just watch them carefully.

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