Your tacos will thank you for this Mexican Slaw recipe! Fast and easy, this vibrant, zesty taco slaw with cabbage, jalapeno, and lime can be whipped up in just 15 minutes and kept in the fridge for 3-4 days. Serve it with our fish tacos or as a delicious vegan side. Vegan & gluten-free. Watch the Video!

 Mexican Slaw made with purple cabbage, red onion, lime, cilantro

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right. ~Henry Ford

Back in my catering days, this simple Mexican Slaw recipe was such a godsend. It made everything more beautiful! Delicious in tacos, on burrito bowls or burgers, or served just as a simple side dish, it seemed to elevate whatever it was paired with.

We love using purple cabbage in this slaw because it is higher in polyphenols than green cabbage and makes for a vibrant, colorful addition. Of course, you can use green cabbage or a blend. Love Cabbage? Check out 30+ Easy Cabbage Recipes for Any Season

Why you’ll love it!

  • Fresh and Crunchy! The fresh, crunchy texture and zesty flavor of this Mexican Slaw adds brightness and vibrancy to your meals!
  • No mayo! This version contains no mayo- keeping it light, healthy and totally vegan.
  • Fiber and Polyphenols: Loaded with nutrients, fiber and polyphenols, purple cabbage is full of healing properties!
  • Fast and Easy! This takes only 10-15 minutes to whip up and keeps for 3-4 days in the fridge!

 Mexican Slaw Ingredients

The Mexican Slaw is made with shredded purple cabbage, but what I love about his recipe is how you can add all sorts of other crunchy veggies to the mix- like grated radishes (yummy!)  jicama, kohlrabi or carrots  (so pretty!).

  • Shredded cabbage: Purple cabbage or green cabbage, or use a mix. Purple cabbage is high in polyphenols and looks great in tacos, but feel free to substitute green cabbage or other shredded veggies like shredded carrots!
  • Red onions: very thinly sliced or sub sliced green onions
  • Fresh Cilantro (and yes, use the thin stems)- if you absolutely hate cilantro, add green onions and Italian parsley. Lime juice does help mitigate the “soapy” flavor for those who have that gene!
  • Fresh Chilies- a must! Use serrano chilies or jalapenos. Jalapenos are milder in heat.
  • Fresh Limes—You’ll need both fresh lime juice and lime zest. Use ripe limes for the best flavor, ones that are not super hard but soft and juicy. 
  • Olive oil- just a little adds a nice richness. 
  • Salt, Pepper, Mexican spices!

How to make Mexican Slaw (instructions)

  1. Combine slaw ingredients in a large bowl: shredding cabbage, onion, cilantro, and jalapeno.
  2. Add salt and lime juice to taste. Limes vary in acidity to best to add to taste.
  3. You want the slaw slightly salty and slightly limey to give tacos a little “punch”.
Mexican Slaw with jalapeño and lime

Chef’s Tips

  • If you are sensitive to onions, soak them in a bowl of cold salted water for 15 minutes before draining and adding to the salad. This will remove the bitterness. You can also substitute scallions (green onion) for the red onion.
  • Use ripe limes. If your limes are very hard, they are not ripe, and using them will create an overly acidic flavor. When selecting limes at the grocery store, squeeze and choose ones that are a little soft; that way, you know they are ripe.
Mexican slaw in a bowl.

Serving Suggestions

You’ll find so many ways to serve up this tasty Mexican slaw… here are some ideas!

  1. Fish Tacos 
  2. Farmer’s Market Veggie Enchiladas
  3. Baja Bowls!  
  4. Vegan Portobello Tacos 
  5. Cilantro Lime Rice
  6. Mexican Pinto Beans
  7. Oaxacan Lamb Tacos 
  8. Birria!

More Favorite slaw recipes!

It turns out we have a LOT of slaw recipes on the blog! I love pairing fresh and crunchy slaws with warmer, heavier dishes.

Mexican Slaw Video

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Mexican Slaw with jalapeño and lime

Mexican Slaw Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 49 reviews


Mexican Slaw with jalapeño and lime- perfect for tacos or a vegan side to your Mexican Feast. Fast and easy, vegan and gluten-free. Watch the video!


  • 1 pound thinly sliced or shredded cabbage ( 1/2 a large head, 45 cups shredded – purple is pretty, or green or use a mix)
  • 1/41/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion, more to taste ( or sub 1/2 cup green onion)
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (packed, thin stems ok!) or sub Italian parsely
  • 1/4 1 whole jalapeño, finely chopped, more to taste, or use serrano chilies for more heat.
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest (zest from 1 lime)
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • pepper to taste


  1. Shred the cabbage by very thinly slicing or use a mandolin. If making an extra-large batch using your food processor with a grater attachment!  See notes for adding other veggies.
  2. Add the cilantro, onion (see note on soaking), jalapeno, lime zest and lime juice, olive oil,  salt, cumin, coriander and pepper.
  3. Toss well. Taste and adjust salt and lime juice to your liking. Limes vary in acidity, so adding to taste is always best. Add extra jalapeno if you like. If serving inside tacos, I always bump up the salt and lime a little.
  4. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Leftovers are good for 3-4 days.


Veggies: Feel free to add other shredded or thinly sliced veggies: red bell pepper, carrots, kohlrabi, radish, etc.

If you are sensitive to onions, soak them in a bowl of salted water for 15 minutes, before draining and adding to the salad. This will remove the bitterness. You can also pickle the red onions!

Limes:  If unripe, they can be overly acidic- always try to buy limes that feel soft and not rock hard.



  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 108
  • Sugar: 5.2 g
  • Sodium: 189.3 mg
  • Fat: 7.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11.6 g
  • Fiber: 3.1 g
  • Protein: 2.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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  1. I love this recipe!! The ingredients list doesn’t specify the quantity of lime zest, so I just zest all the limes needed for the juice.
    Thank you!!

  2. Absolutely amazing quick and easy recipe simply bursting with flavour!! And it even gets better as leftovers as the flavours meld so beautifully.

    We used it in the Vietnamese Shrimp Lettuce Wraps instead of other veggies and it was outstandingly good!

    We’ve made this several times since discovering it last week and every time we’ve served it to friends – often – they have raved about it and asked for the recipe 🙂

    Many thanks again, Sylvia!

  3. I have just discovered you and am THRILLED. I made your Mexican Slaw and it was terrific. Now I find myself scrolling through all your recipes. Can’t wait to try something else.


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