Jack in the Box is a popular fast-food restaurant chain that offers a variety of food items, including chicken tenders, French fries, tacos, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and more. Tacos are among the most popular items on Jack in the Box’s menu, but are they safe for vegans?
So, are Jack in the Box tacos vegan? No, Jack in the Box tacos isn’t vegan. Although these tacos contain textured vegetable protein (made from soy flour and caramel color), they also have beef and chicken. In addition to the real meat, Jack in the Box tacos also contain cheese and Worcestershire sauce, which aren’t vegan-friendly.
Keep reading to learn what a Jack in the Box taco is made from, whether it contains real meat, and whether there are any vegan and vegetarian-friendly options at this fast-food restaurant.
What Is a Jack in the Box Taco Made of?
Jack in the Box’s menu features three kinds of tacos – tiny, regular, and monster. None of these tacos are vegan or vegetarian-friendly as they contain meat.
Take a look at Jack in the Box taco ingredients:
Jack in the Box Taco, Tiny
Tiny taco is made of: water, mechanically separated chicken, stone ground masa flour (with a trace of lime), onions, tomato paste, enriched flour (wheat flour, reduced iron, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid), modified food starch, seasoning (salt, garlic powder, spice, paprika [color]).
Tortilla ingredients include ground corn, water, and lime. The tortilla is cooked in canola blend frying oil.
Jack in the Box Taco, Regular
Regular taco contains beef, water, ground dark chicken, textured vegetable protein (soy flour, caramel color), defatted soy grits, seasoning (chili pepper, corn maltodextrin, bleached enriched wheat flour [contains niacin, riboflavin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, and folic acid], salt, garlic powder, proteins, hydrolyzed corn [corn, soy, wheat], monosodium glutamate, natural flavors, onion powder, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, succinic acid), salt, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce (distilled vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, water, salt, caramel color, garlic powder, sugar, spices, tamarind, natural flavors, stiffening agent).
Tortilla is made of ground corn, water, and lime. Tortillas filled with meat are cooked in canola blend frying oil.
Jack in the Box, Monster
Monster taco is made of: beef, ground dark chicken, water, textured vegetable protein (soy flour, caramel color), defatted soy grits, seasoning (chili pepper, spices, salt, hydrolyzed corn [soy, corn, wheat], oat fiber, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, torula yeast, natural flavors, onion powder, maltodextrin), salt, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce (distilled vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, water, salt, caramel color, garlic powder, sugar, spices, tamarind, natural flavors, stiffening agent).
Ingredients used to make tortillas are ground corn, water, and lime. These tortillas are cooked in canola blend frying oil and then topped with lettuce, sauce, and cheese.
What Is Jack in the Box Meat Made of?
Jack-in-the-box meat contains beef, chicken, and textured vegetable protein (TVP).
Textured vegetable protein is also known as textured soy protein. It is commonly used to extend ground meats in order to reduce fat content and lower costs.
Plant-based proteins, like soy, are popular with vegans, vegetarians, and people trying to reduce their fat and cholesterol intake.
The easiest way to reduce the fat count of ground beef is by removing some of the meat and substituting it with low-calorie extenders like textured soy protein, fibers, various starches, and vegetable gums. This is how soy found its way into Jack in the Box meat.
Not only is soy great for lowering production costs and fat content, but it is also an excellent binder that helps meat proteins stick together. The USDA limits the use of textured vegetable protein in commercially prepared meats to no more than 30% of the protein present in a product if the product is marketed as meat and not a meat substitute.
This means that Jack in the Box taco meat is real meat, as it contains less than 30% of textured soy protein. As a result, Jack in the Box tacos isn’t suitable for vegans or vegetarians.
Are there any Jack in the Box Taco Vegan Options?
Now that we’ve established that tacos aren’t vegan, you’re probably wondering if there are any vegan options at Jack in the Box. Unfortunately, there aren’t many plant-based options you can order at this fast-food restaurant.
Most vegan-friendly options side dishes that may have been prepared in a shared fryer used to cook meat. Here are several vegan food options to try at Jack in the Box:
- Teriyaki rice bowl – make it vegan by ordering without chicken. Ask for extra veggies.
- French fries
- Potato wedges
- Hash browns
- Seasoned curly fries
- Chiquita apple bites – order without caramel, as it contains dairy
- Treetop applesauce
Can You get Jack in the Box Tacos Without Meat?
Unfortunately, you can’t order Jack in the Box tacos without meat. All Jack in the Box tacos come to the restaurant pre-filled with meat in the taco shell.
Taco shells and filling are then dropped and fried in canola oil. Toppings, including lettuce, cheese, and sauce, are added at the end.
Although Jack in the Box is a well-known fast-food restaurant chain, it doesn’t offer much in terms of vegan and vegetarian-friendly meal options. Jack in the Box offers three kinds of tacos – tiny, regular, and monster, but they aren’t vegan.
While Jack in the Box tacos is made with textured vegetable protein, they also contain chicken and beef meat and are topped with cheese. These tacos come pre-filled, so customers following a plant-based diet can’t order tacos without meat and customize their meals.
There aren’t many vegan-friendly options at Jack in the Box. But if you find yourself in this fast-food restaurant, consider ordering French fries, seasoned curly fries, potato wedges, hash browns, or teriyaki rice bowl without chicken and extra veggies.