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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Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


  1. This dish is gorgeous and a deliciously unusual flavor profile! Super easy and quick. Stores well for make ahead party dishes and weekly meal prep— Maybe even better after a couple days. Friends are asking me for the recipe!

  2. My husband spent most of dinner commenting on all of the different things he would be willing to place this slaw on – anything Mexican, salads, sandwiches, wraps, burgers. It really is the perfect mix of crunchy, spicy, and tangy. It was even great the next day. Definitely a recipe that I’m placing in my favorites folder.

  3. This is a great slaw. I ended up adding a little agave to balance it which, I think really brightened it up…

  4. Quick to make and just a small list of ingredients, but absolutely delicious, bright, zingy and colourful . Adds a boost to all sorts of dishes.

  5. Really loved this and can’t wait to use it with so many things. It’s been lasting in the fridge so long. Love cabbage, love cilantro, love limes. My first use was inspired by your blackened white fish tacos. I didn’t use the oil and it was still great. Thank you!

  6. I made this exactly as written and despite 3 stars I will make this again but with adjustments to better suit our family. My husband said it was like eating crunchy lime, he wasn’t wrong. I made this almost an hour before dinner so the flavors could meld a little. My future adjustments will be to use half the amount of lime juice and zest. I can always add more. Add in a little more onions. BTW, soaking the onions worked well. I weighed the cabbage to get an exact pound and while the recipe says that is a serving for 4, I will use half that next time as a pound shredded was probably enough for 6-8. I used 1/2 an jalapeno, I might use more next time. Although it could have been the jalapeno flavor just got lost in the lime juice.

    1. Hi Dawn, thanks for the feedback. Limes can vary in acidity greatly- and if they are not ripe, can be overly acidic. I wonder if that could have been it. Also if there is not enough salt, it can seem overly lime-y.

  7. Made as written except I had to leave out the jalapeno and the lime zest as I didn’t have those on hand. Used bottled lime juice. Still excellent! I can only imagine it would be even better with the jalapeno and real lime juice and zest.

  8. Didn’t know if the dressing would be enough for this slaw, but was pleasantly surprised that it was plenty. This is spicy, light, and refreshing. Will definitely be making again!

  9. This is easy and so good. Light and refreshing. We use it on tacos of all varieties. It’s great on its own too. Thanks for such a great recipe!

  10. Great slaw. I was so tempted to add some yogurt or sour cream to make it creamy but I didn’t. It’s light,crisp and fresh just the way it is. Lovely side to the enchiladas.

  11. This is one of my favourite recipes of yours! It has a lot of components but they work so well together 🙂

  12. So fresh and delicious with a little spice! I like my slaw a little sweeter and slightly creamy so I added not quite a tablespoon of sugar and some plain yogurt. Yummy!

  13. Looks so yummy, i have made something similar in the past, can’t wait to try this one. I plan on taking it to a BBQ potluck, with another side. Happy to bring something tasty and affordable. People really enjoyed it the last time, it is different, not the normal same old thing.

  14. Sylvia, this Mexican slaw is delicious. I topped off my short rib tacos with it and everyone loved it. Thank you for another great recipe!

  15. Made it with recc’d ingredients, super with tacos, thanks! I did put the salt directly on the sliced cabbage and let it drain in colander, then dabbed with paper towel. Did mix liquid and spice/zest together separately to pour over the cabbage/cilantro/jalapeno. Oh, did add a carrot for nice contrast to the purple cabbage. Thanks for your efforts

  16. I’ve made this a few times, and it’s consistently so good! Thanks for the quick recipe that brightens up our week.

  17. Very clean, fresh slaw. I made it with super fresh Purple Cabbage and the presentation was lovely. Will make this again, while being careful to cut half-moon onions, and smaller bits of shredded cabbage. Rather eat with a fork then a fork and knife

  18. First time making this tonight along with the cilantro lime rice (I swapped cilantro for fresh parsley) I am not dissapointed and neither was my partner. So fresh tasting and full of goodness. A lovely change from salad.

    We had this with chorizo chicken with tomatoes and peppers in tacos. Will definitely be making this again. Benefit made this all on a work night and didnt take long. Also goes nice with a glass of sauvignon blanc.

  19. Love it, I make a half recipe that we can eat at one sitting. I use just a bit of oil, (1/2 teaspoon,) but add all the rest, like to make with scallions, or like trick of soaking onion to take the bite out of it, had some pickled jalapeno, and added just a teaspoon chopped, pumpkin seeds raw shelled too. So pretty and complements any Latin type dish.


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