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Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Chicken and Cilantro

Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Chicken and Cilantro is a cool meal for hot weather and this is a perfect use for leftover rotisserie chicken! Use the Salads Index to find more low-carb salads like this one!

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Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Chicken and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

One of the recipes from the blog that I make often is Spicy Mexican Slaw.  It seems to be something I never get tired of, and if you’re also a fan of that recipe you’ll recognize that this Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Chicken and Cilantro is a slightly different version of the Mexican Slaw, with the addition of diced cooked chicken that’s been marinated in the dressing for a little while.

I play around with recipes like this all the time, and sometimes wonder whether the recipe is different enough to be worth a new post, but I’ve made this twice now for parties where it was a hit, and I’m very fond of the leftovers, even after a day in the fridge.  If you’re looking for a cold lunch salad that will keep well (as long as you have a fridge where you work) this might be just the thing.

Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Chicken and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

Cook chicken breasts at a low simmer for about 15 minutes in enough chicken stock to barely cover them, then let the chicken cool in the stock.  (You could also use about 4 cups diced rotisserie chicken for this recipe.) To get thin shredded cabbage for this salad, I cut the cabbage in very thin slices, and then cut it in half or thirds going the other way. I used about 8 cups shredded green cabbage and 2 cups shredded red cabbage, but you can vary the proportions if you wish. Stir together mayo, lime juice, and green Tabasco Sauce to make the dressing.   (You can also use regular hot sauce, but it turns the salad slightly pink!)

Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Chicken and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com
By now the chicken should be cooled enough to handle; cut it into chunks about 1/2 to 3/4 inches. Put the chicken into a bowl and mix in about half the dressing.  If you have time, let this sit for 15-20 minutes to get the spicy dressing flavor in the chicken pieces. Chop up enough cilantro to make about 1 cup, and thinly slice enough green onions to make 1/2 cup.

When you’re ready to assemble the salad, mix together the green cabbage, red cabbage, and green onions in a large bowl.  Then stir in enough dressing to moisten the cabbage mixture.  (You might not want to use all the dressing; remember there is more dressing on the chicken.  Save any extra to moisten leftovers after they’ve been in the fridge.) Then stir in the chopped cilantro so it’s well-distributed in the salad. Stir in the chicken and dressing, season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper, and serve.

Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Chicken and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

This was still delicious after it had been in the fridge for a few days; enjoy! If you’re making the salad for Weekend Food Prep you might want to store the chicken, cabbage, and dressing separately, then chop cilantro and mix up the salad each time you eat leftovers. But even if you mix it all at once and refrigerate it will still be pretty good!

More Tasty Salads with Cabbage:

Thai-Style Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Mint and Cilantro (all phases) from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Spicy Cabbage Salad (Goi Bap Cai) from Viet World Kitchen
Red Rock Brewery Style No-Mayo Vinegar Coleslaw with Oregano from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Red Cabbage Salad with Walnuts, Raisins, Feta, and Warm Mustard Dressing from The Perfect Pantry

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Chicken and Cilantro

Spicy Cabbage Slaw  is a cool meal for hot weather and  a perfect use for leftover rotisserie chicken!


Main Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chicken stock or water (for poaching chicken)
    (You could also use about 4 cups diced rotisserie chicken.)
  • 8 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
    (You can vary the proportions of green and red cabbage, but the red cabbage “bleeds” a little from the lime juice which is why I use mostly green.)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion (white and green parts)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (more or less, to taste)
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (see notes)

Dressing Ingredients

  • 6 – 7 tablespoons mayo (I often use half mayo and half light mayo)
  • 2 1/2 – 3 T fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp. green Tabasco Sauce (you can use regular hot sauce, but it turns the dressing slightly pink)


  1. Trim any visible pieces of fat or tendons from chicken breasts.  (I save those scraps to make homemade chicken stock.)
  2. Put the chicken into a small, flat pan (just big enough that it will hold both chicken breasts.
  3. Cover the chicken with stock or water (or a combination) and simmer on low for about 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the chicken cool in the liquid.
  4. While the chicken cools, whisk together the mayo, lime juice, and green Tabasco sauce.  Start with the smaller amounts and then taste the dressing to see if you want to add more mayo, lime juice, or green Tabasco.  I like this with lots of lime and Tabasco flavor.
  5. (If you’re using rotisserie chicken, cut it up now, put in a bowl, and toss with 1/2 the dressing.)
  6. Cut out the core from the cabbage and remove outer leaves.
  7. Then cut cabbage into fourths, thinly slice each section and cut in half or thirds the other way to get 10 cups shredded cabbage total.  (Measure cabbage as you go and save the extra to make this again!)
  8. Slice the green onions and chop the cilantro.
  9. If you’re poaching chicken breasts, as soon as they are cool enough to handle remove them from the stock, discard stock.
  10. Cut the chicken into pieces about 1/2 to 3/4 inches square.
  11. Put the chicken into a bowl, add about half the dressing, and stir to coat chicken.
  12. Let the chicken marinate in the dressing for 15-20 minutes if you have time.
  13. To assemble the salad, toss together the green cabbage, red cabbage, and and sliced green onion in a large bowl.
  14. Add enough dressing to moisten the cabbage.  (Remember you’ll be adding the chicken with dressing.  If you don’t use all the dressing, save it to moisten any leftover salad when you take it out of the fridge.)
  15. Stir in the chopped cilantro so it’s well distributed in the salad, stir in the chicken and dressing.
  16. Season salad to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper, and serve.
  17. This will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator.  It’s best if you have a little extra dressing to stir into the leftover salad after it’s been in the fridge.


I like Veg-Sal on this salad. I use green Tabasco Sauce for this dressing.

This Recipe adapted from Spicy Mexican Slaw which was adapted from Fine Cooking Annual 2008.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Chicken and Cilantro would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet, and it would also work for other low-carb eating plans.  Cabbage is a wonderful low-glycemic cruciferous vegetable, so it’s great to eat it often.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

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24 comments on “Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Chicken and Cilantro”

  1. Can we make more tasty adding Capsicum?

  2. This is a great recipe that I plan to try this week! Thanks so much! Hugs…RO

  3. You could use mostly Greek yogurt, but I would use at least a little mayo because Greek yogurt doesn't have quite the same consistency. That might be just my preference though; and I have not tried it with Greek yogurt, so you might like it that way.

  4. Hi Kalyn – Could you substitute plain/greek yogurt for the mayo?

  5. Thanks everyone; so glad people are liking this.

  6. This cabbage slaw is so refreshing and light – with all the right textures and flavors! And the photos are brilliant too 🙂

  7. Holy Moses! Looks wonderful!

  8. Kalyn, I made this last night and OMG was it good. Am feasting on leftovers right now. Of course I put my own spin on it using roasted chicken thighs, added jicama and upped the tobascco. Thank you!!!

  9. Sounds so fresh and tasty! Love it!

  10. This sounds like the perfect meal for a hot day like today. I happened to have poached some chicken this morning and and serving for dinner with napa cabbage in a peanut sauce, kind of an Asian twist to what you made.

  11. Thanks everyone for the nice thoughts about this simple adaptation of one of my very favorite salads!

  12. I love this idea of a main dish slaw with chicken. I made a slaw the other day with bacon, which was real tasty too.This is a great summer dish, as I can get pretty lazy when the days are hot. Thanks for posting this.

  13. With the addition of chicken, this would make a substantial summer meal for me. Looks delicious!

  14. Thank you, Kalyn, for this recipe!
    I love cilantro and your salad will be served at my table asap! I shall use tofu instead of the chicken, probably pan-frying it with a bit of olive oil and cilantro. I can't wait to try it.

  15. In my opinion there can never be enough variations to coleslaw. I love that you have added chicken, which could make a nice lunch on its own!

  16. I am a cilantro (and slaw) lover so this looks perfect. I love the addition of chicken and bet it would also be great with some crispy tofu!

  17. Dara, thanks for that reassurance. This was so good left over, and next time I will make sure I have just a couple of teaspoons of leftover dressing to stir into it when it's been in the fridge.

  18. I think it's always worth posting recipe variations like these, Kalyn. Not everybody is good at (or wants to spend the time) dreaming up ways to make their favorites a little different. It looks as though this would make wonderful leftovers!

  19. So glad this sounds good to you guys. This is one for cilantro lovers but if you don't like cilantro I think it might be good with mint.

  20. I love addition of chicken to the slaw. You can really make this a complete meal! Perfect for picnics or taking dinner out on the boat which we do a few times a week. And you know I love cilantro………. 🙂

  21. A cup of cilantro! I might have to cut that down a bit for my cilantro-averse palate, but I'd up the hot sauce! I love raw cabbage salads in a way that I don't love cooked cabbage; they are like two completely different vegetables. And I love the addition of chicken to this slaw. A nice, light, complete meal in a bowl.

  22. A main dish slaw…now that is a pretty awesome idea considering how full of nutrients cabbage is (especially compared to lettuce). And it's got such great crunch!

  23. I make a cilantro slaw too, probably yours 🙂 So this sounds delightful!

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