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 made this with green cabbage, and I am going to make it again as I got purple cabbage at farmer’s market! Yey! Your recipes are awesome! Thanks, Sylvia:)

  2. Oh my gosh, I made this with purple cabbage and it was both gorgeous and delicious. My new favorite slaw. It’s great on the black bean burgers. I had leftovers and used it today in a pita with spinach, hummus and the tofu shawarma! Yummmmm!!!

  3. Fresh and crunchy with spice and a zing from the lime. We can never use a whole head of cabbage in one sitting . I hate to waste anything, it’s so good to find another great recipe for red cabbage. It looked so great my partner took a photo for his portfolio.

  4. I served this with the farmers market enchiladas. That tip on soaking the onions was perfect. Everyone loved it and though the dressing was just a touch too tart for me I still enjoyed it.

  5. I paired this with mexican-style shredded beef and bacon pinto beans. It was a hit! Unfortunately my cilantro had just gone bad, so I substituted with a teaspoon or two of coriander. So good and thank you for this recipe!!

  6. Super fast and unique! I used poblano peppers and the whole family commented on how good the taste was!

  7. Excellent. I made this tonight to go with some pollo asada tacos I made. It went very well together. Thanks for the recipe.

      1. No worries-we all knew what you meant. 😉 Plus I have billions of spelling mistakes on the blog.

  8. Colorful and refreshing. It was a perfect compliment to the delicious veggie enchilada. I used a bag of Dole shredded red cabbage. The recipe was so easy to make. I will definitely make this again.

  9. Made a version of this Carnitas except I used the instant pot, Then I made this slaw and put it all together to make tacos. Pretty amazing combo. I was using another red cabbage slaw using mayo, but I’m glad I found this because it’s waayyy better.

    1. Delicious recipe! Looks beautiful too. I added an extra tbsn olive oil, and 1 tbsn maple syrup which added some balance. Used with home made enchiladas, black beans, brien rice, and Pico de Gallo. Thanks so much for something different and so refreshing.

  10. Every time I make this I say out loud “whoa this is SO good, why don’t I make this more?!”

    Loved this with your Oaxacan Lamb Barbacoa. Thanks Sylvia!

  11. I love this! I used carrots and red cabbage and it was pleasing to both the eye and tummy 🙂 Not to mention…so nutritious! Thank you, Sylvia!!

  12. Made this for Cinco de Mayo and it was fabulous. I put it right inside my tacos (with Sylvia’s Smokey chipotle mushrooms) and it was perfect. Only wish I’d made it earlier and let it sit for the flavors to meld a bit, tho. Next time.

    1. Love it Jaedan- thanks so much. Hope you guys are doing ok and staying well. xoxo

  13. This was a perfect accompaniment to burritos. It seemed to add extra crunch and a great seasoned spiciness. I had all the ingredients and it came together easily! Thanks so much. I am loving your recipes!

  14. So good! I make the roasted cauliflower bowl for dinner then have leftover coleslaw for lunch the next day 😋 try mango balsamic vinegar mixed in!


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