Cabbage taco slaw with cilantro lime dressing is just what your Taco Tuesday asked for! This crunchy, flavorful slaw is delicious on all kinds of tacos and burrito bowls. But my favorite way to serve this spicy taco slaw is with fish tacos or in shrimp burritos.
I first created this recipe as a meal prep recipe. I used to make a huge batch every week and bring it to work topped with taco seasoned ground beef. It was dubbed 'caveman slaw' by my coworkers.
It was honestly so easy to make and pack for lunch that I ate it almost daily. And hey, cavemen were paleo, right?? This works for just about every diet plan, including vegan, gluten free, and keto. Delicious and nutritious.
I still make this yummy taco slaw on a regular basis. As you know, I'm a freak for tacos, and I love to add a little fresh crunchy bite to any taco. Plus, this Mexican coleslaw recipe makes a fabulous side dish all on its own.
This recipe has a few variations because you can make it with a vinegar-based dressing or with a little bit of mayo and crema Mexicana, which is a Mexican version of sour cream.
This shredded cabbage taco slaw is super easy to make. There's no need to make a separate dressing, so you can mix all the ingredients together in one bowl. Easy peasy!
- Cabbage. I like to use a mixture of red and green cabbage, but you can use whatever combination you like.
- Cilantro. Minced is best. Find cilantro that's as green and fresh as possible for maximum flavor.
- Spices. Nothing but the classics here: Cumin, coriander, crushed red pepper, and oregano. Plus, the usual suspects, salt and pepper.
- Oil & Vinegar. I usually use avocado oil and red wine vinegar in this recipe. Olive oil works well, too. (See notes for making creamy taco slaw.)
- Limes. Freshly squeezed lime juice, of course.
How To Make Mexican Slaw
When you make this cabbage slaw for tacos, you can decide if you want to make a simple, vinegar-based cilantro lime dressing, or make it a creamy slaw with mayo and crema Mexicana. I like to use a creamy slaw for white fish tacos and shrimp tacos or burritos. For chicken and ground beef, I like the vinegar-based. Let me know in the comments which one you prefer!
- Slice the cabbage using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer. Add it to a large bowl.
- Finely chop half of one bunch of cilantro. Add it to the bowl.
- Add the spices, oil, vinegar, and lime juice. Toss to coat.
- Creamy fish taco slaw. Add in equal parts of mayo + crema Mexicana or sour cream. Depending on how creamy you like it, I would use between 2 tablespoons and ¼ cup each of both mayo and crema. Top it all off with some finely diced red onion and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Mmmmm.
- Slaw for Korean tacos. Add shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, and green onions. For the dressing, add in a tablespoon of soy sauce + sriracha. I like a lot of sriracha...but adjust the amount to your liking. Feel free to eat all the sriracha.
- Asian slaw with peanut dressing. Add all the extras that you added for the Korean taco slaw and add in a tablespoon of peanut butter. If you're feeling a little bolder, try this with a teaspoon of fish sauce, too. My only tip here is that this dressing is actually best mixed up in a bowl so that the peanut butter will mix in properly.
FAQs and Expert Tips
Yes, you can use bagged cabbage for this recipe. Just be sure that the cabbage is nice and fresh. Old cabbage will look a little grey along the edges.
Yes, this Mexican taco slaw can be made ahead of time. Cabbage keeps really well in the fridge. Plus, letting this slaw sit in the fridge allows the flavors from the spices to marry.
There are many different types of coleslaw around the world. Vinegar-based coleslaw and creamy coleslaw are just a few varieties.
Coleslaw is very easy to make and can be seasoned to accompany many types of food.
Store leftover slaw in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to a week or longer.
Slaw will keep in the fridge for about a week. After that, it may start to be wilted and soft.
I don't recommend freezing coleslaw. Because of the high amount of water in cabbage, it tends to get mushy after it's frozen and then thawed.
What To Serve with Taco Slaw
Of course, you can use this Mexican slaw for tacos, but it's also delicious on burritos and burrito bowls. I especially love it on shrimp burritos. Make sure to check out my fish taco recipe.
Hungry for more things that go with tacos?
I am always hungry for tacos, and I have a huge lineup of the best things to serve with tacos.
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Mexican Taco Slaw
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
- Toss well to coat.
- Store in an air-tight container.
Laura's Tips + Notes
- Creamy fish taco slaw. Add in equal parts of mayo + crema Mexicana or sour cream. Depending on how creamy you like it, I would use 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup each of both mayo and creme fraiche.
- Slaw for Korean tacos. Add shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, and green onions. For the dressing, add in a tablespoon of soy sauce + sriracha. I like a lot of sriracha...but adjust the amount to your liking.
- Asian slaw with peanut dressing. Add all the extras that you added for the Korean taco slaw and add in a tablespoon of peanut butter. My only tip here is that this dressing is actually best mixed up in a bowl so that the peanut butter can be mixed in properly.