Protein Packed Mexican Lettuce Boats

Protein Packed Mexican Lettuce Boats

We love Mexican food in our house.

Seriously, if it was up to my husband, we would have tacos in some form every single night for dinner. BUT, his definition of Taco Tuesday is a little…more indulgent than mine.

Enter: these BOMB lettuce boats! These were made in an attempt to make our taco night a little healthier, and they turned out to be a raging success!

So, what’s the secret for an amazing filling that’s VEGAN and full of nutrients? LENTILS, baby! Mix these cooked lentils up with some homemade taco seasoning and VOI LA! You’ll never even miss the meat.

You’re welcome.

And let me remind you – just because the “shell” of these tacos is lettuce, that doesn’t mean you can’t fill them UP with good glorious stuff! Including, but not limited to…REFRIED BEANS.

We first came across the “double up” option at one of our favorite Cleveland restaurants, Taco Tontos. They had an option for a double layer taco – served in a hard shell…but with a SOFT shell glued on as another layer. The glue? Refried beans, of course!

All bets were off. We would never make tacos the same again.

So without further ado…the Fredrickson Special – aka, these PROTEIN PACKED Mexican Lettuce Boats!

If you make this recipe, make sure you tag #freddyfindsherself on Instagram, or share it with me on Facebook! Happy, healthy cooking, everyone!

Protein Packed Mexican Lettuce Boats

Want all the flavorful goodness of a Mexican meal...with a seriously healthy kick? These lettuce boats have a mixture of both lentil taco "meat" AND refried beans, giving this dish the ultimate protein punch! 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Chelsea Fredrickson


Lentil Taco "Meat"

  • 1 cup cooked brown lentils (slightly mashed)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato sauce (no salt or sugar added)

Taco Seasoning

  • 1/4 tsp chili powder (can add up to 1 tsp for extra spice)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp water


  • 1 can refried beans
  • 4-6 sheets romaine lettuce (corn tortillas can be subbed)
  • 4 small tomatoes
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1 ripe avocado (sliced or cubed)
  • 1/2 large yellow bell pepper (red, orange or green pepper can be subbed)


For the lentil taco meat:

  1. 1. Boil 3 cups of water on high heat. 

    2. Add 1 cup of brown lentils, lower heat and simmer until most of water is absorbed. 

    3. Drain remaining water from cooked lentils and add tomato sauce. Mix well.

For the taco seasoning

  1. 4. Mix all ingredients listed together, including the 2 Tbsps. of water. This will give you a taco seasoning "paste." 

    5. Pour paste over lentils and mix well. 

    6. Place mixed lentils back in pot and cook on low heat to warm up and marinate.


  1. 6. While the lentils are being heated, cook refried beans in a separate pot on low heat until warm. 

    7. Meanwhile, slice bell peppers into thin strips. Cube or slice avocado, and chop tomato and red onion. 

    8. Assemble tacos according to preference. 

Recipe Notes

***Note: this is a recipe by design! Make it spicier by adding more chili powder to the taco seasoning mixture, brown or black rice (my favorite) for even more filling, and green onion on top for that added bite! 

My name is Chelsea Fredrickson – I am in love with seeing different parts of the world and finding new parts of myself along the way. I am the creator of and author for Freddy Finds Herself; a lifestyle blog dedicated to documenting my adventures, my successes and failures, and showing others that our process of evolving is never complete and meant to be celebrated.

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