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Kalyn's Kitchen

Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro (Video)

Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro is a perfect low-carb side dish for Mexican food, and this is salad I make over and over. Use Salad Recipes to find more low-carb salad recipes like this one.

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Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro!

Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

Cinco de Mayo is coming up this weekend, and if you’re making any kind of Mexican dinner to celebrate I want to remind you about this Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro thats absolutely perfect for a low-carb side dish for Mexican food.  I’m not sure I could ever pick my number one favorite salad recipe, but Spicy Mexican Slaw is a salad I’ve been crazy over for years.

This recipe has so many of my favorite ingredients that when I first tried the salad (in 2008!) after one bite I knew I’d be making it over and over again. Since then this has become a regular offering for family parties and wedding showers, with one bowl with cilantro and another bowl for the cilantro-haters with lots of thinly sliced green onion replacing the cilantro. And I always use plenty of Green Tabasco Sauce for a spicy kick, although any hot sauce you like can be used. If you like cabbage salads at all, I urge you to try this salad; I bet you’ll love it just as much as I do.

Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro

Whisk together the mayo, lime juice, and hot sauce to make the dressing. (Start with smaller amounts of lime juice and hot sauce and taste it until it seems perfect to you.) Thinly slice the green and red cabbage. (This is easiest and you’ll get best results with a mandoline slicer.) Chop green onions and cilantro and mix with the cabbage, then stir in just enough dressing to moisten the slaw, season with salt or Vege-Sal to taste, and devour!

Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro

This is best freshly made, but I’ve eaten leftovers for breakfast many times after they’d been in the fridge overnight, not minding at all that the red cabbage turns the salad pink when it sits. If you want to make this for Weekend Food Prep, you can store the leftover cabbage and dressing separately and add dressing to each serving right before you eat it. And I wouldn’t mind a bit having this in the fridge for a quick lunch!

Going Crazy Over Cabbage Salad:

Ridiculously Easy Blue Cheese Coleslaw ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Vietnamese Cold Chicken Salad ~ A Spicy Perspective
Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Hoisin Snap Pea and Red Cabbage Slaw ~ Cookin’ Canuck
Red Cabbage and Chicken Asian Salad with Tangy Cilantro Dressing ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Crunchy Asian Cabbage Slaw with Peanut Dressing ~ Little Ferraro Kitchen
Puerto Rican Spicy Cabbage Salad ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

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!

Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro

This Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw is a salad that I make all the time, and I think this is a perfect side dish.


Salad Ingredients

  • 4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (You can use all green or all red cabbage.)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, or more
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, or more (If you’re not a cilantro fan just use more green onion.)

Dressing Ingredients

  • 4 T mayo (or a little more if you like your salad with lots of dressing)
  • 3 T fresh lime juice; more or less to taste (If you’re not crazy about sour flavors, start with a smaller amount and add more to the dressing until it tastes good to you.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste (Start with a small amount, then taste the dressing and add more until it’s as spicy as you prefer. See notes.)
  • salt to taste (I used Vege-Sal which I greatly prefer over regular salt for this salad.)


  1. In small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together, mayo, lime juice, and hot sauce. (Start with less than the full amount of lime juice and hot sauce and keep adding until you have the desired blend of sour/hot flavor.)
  2. Thinly slice cabbage, using a mandoline slicer  if you have one.
  3. Slice green onions.
  4. Wash, dry and chop cilantro. (I use a Mini salad spinner to wash herbs and spin them dry.)
  5. Combine cabbage, green onions and cilantro in large salad bowl.
  6. Use a wooden spoon to mix dressing into cabbage mixture.
  7. Season to taste with salt or Vege-Sal and serve immediately, or chill for a few hours.
  8. This salad will keep well overnight in the refrigerator, but the lime juice will cause the red cabbage to bleed color and turn the salad slightly pink. If you’re making extra you might want to use all green cabbage, although I didn’t mind the pink color at all when I ate the leftovers!
  9. Another good strategy if you’re not cooking for many people is to chop the cabbage and green onion and mix the dressing for the full amount and store in the fridge, then chop cilantro and stir salad together in smaller amounts as you’re going to eat it.


I like this best with Green Tabasco Sauce, but I’ve made it with Sriracha sauce many times. Any hot sauce will work, but hot sauce that’s orange will turn the cabbage pink if it’s refrigerated overnight.

Recipe adapted slightly from Fine Cooking Annual 2008.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro is a perfect side dish for most any low-carb eating plans, including any phase of the South Beach Diet, and it’s also gluten-free, meatless, vegan, and can be Paleo or Whole 30 with approved mayo and hot sauce. South Beach would prefer low-fat mayo; other low-carb diets would prefer full-fat, so take your choice on that.

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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104 comments on “Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro (Video)”

  1. This is my go to slaw recipe

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  4. I made this tonight for dinner and it exceeded my expectations! Hubby loved it too. 🙂 This will become a regular dish in our low carb life. Easy and delicious! Thank you!

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  8. Has anyone made this?

  9. I made this today! The only thing I added was a grated carrot. Amazing flavour!

  10. I just made this for dinner, and have packed a bowl for lunch tomorrow. The dressing is so good, I was tempted to lick out the bowl! YUM!

  11. Made some slaw yesterday and it was a bit boring, since I'm just back from a trip to Peru and my fridge was a bit bare. Cilantro and some spice will made it much better next time!

  12. I love lime and cilantro flavors in my salad. So I know I am going to love this salad, cannot wait to try it 🙂

  13. This is my go to slaw recipe. I have a bowl in frig now. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  14. Now I have an entire meal! Eachiladas and slaw, thank you. I love a new twist on a food that is simple. There was a time that I used to tell my husband I was going to write a book on slaw, sort of a foodie tour of them. Every restaurant has a different take on slaw from creamy to vinegar, from sweet to spicy, it is so versatile. Thanks for the yummy recipe can't wait to try it.

  15. I LOVE making mexican slaws as a taco topping or a healthy veggie side for homemade mexican dishes. Will have to give yours a try!! My go-to:

    1/3 cup fresh lime juice
    1-2 teaspoon ground cumin (I sometimes do as much as a Tbsp)
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    Few dashes Hot Sauce (optional)
    1/2 cup olive oil

    2 bags coleslaw mix
    1 red bell pepper, julienned
    1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
    1 bag of matchstick cut radishes
    1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
    Salt and pepper

    I salt the coleslaw mix in a strainer for maybe 30 minutes to get some of the water out while I prep everything else. Mix together the first set of ingredients, put all the veg in a bowl, then combine and let it marry for at least an hour. It's just so incredibly fresh and light. Sometimes I throw in extra julienned carrots if I have them. You can also halve the recipe… I typically just use one bag of slaw with a smaller red pepper and then halve the other veggies.

  16. I've been meaning to make this for years. When I finally went to make this yesterday, I realized that I only had a little cilantro (mostly stems) left. I added them to the dressing and blended it in my mini-chopper- delish!

  17. thanks for reposting… kind of forgot how much i love this. making it today and happen to have some pumpkin seeds sitting around.. throwing them in as well, and keeping my fingers crossed.

  18. I love the crunch of cabbage, and this this recipe would be extremely satisfying!

  19. We make this slaw all the time at our house. I was thrilled when I first made your recipe. I use cabbage often, in soups and things, but rarely use an entire head in one meal. So I always plan another meal that I can make this coleslaw with to use up the remainder of the cabbage.

    We were out of limes once when I made it, and it just wasn't the same with lemon juice. The lime juice (and cilantro!) definitely makes the salad. Thanks for such great recipes.

  20. I came across your blog today and enjoyed it. Is it ok if we re-post some of your entries in our newsletter? I just think a lot of the food and beverage people who visit our community would like reading some of your posts, even though they are mainly industry professionals, they are still ‘foodies’. Let me know J


    • I can't give permission for my photos and recipes to be published together in other places. I am willing to give permission for posting the photo with a link to the recipe on my site, but that's all.

  21. True Dara, and one of the best things about cabbage is you can eat as much as you'd like!

  22. I simply don't make slaws enough. When flavored like this one (yes, bring on the cilantro), they make a great meal, topped with chicken or fish.

  23. I love slaws like this. I've recently started blending the cilantro, green onion, lime, mayo and a little milk or cream, along with a seeded jalapeno due to some "fussies" in the group. (I don't like onion, ciantro, etc.) The thing I noticed is how well the flavors meld when the dressing is blended together before tossing with the slaw.

    Your recipe is making me hungry for tacos with cilantro slaw! I just love your recipes.

  24. Kalyn, my husband and I are gearing up to start the South Beach Diet soon. I am so glad to have found your site. I love to cook, so I am looking forward to continue making awesome meals while on this diet, thanks to you.

  25. Kalyn, thanks so much for this recipe! I've posted this one in my newsletter this week for my audience. We had this last night and it totally jazzed up my leftover Tamale Pie…my husband, who is not the biggest cabbage fan, had two helpings!

  26. Julie, that's just how I feel about this recipe as well. I must have made it more than 25 times since I posted this.

  27. This recipe was so simple and was addicting. It seems strange to use that word about cabbage, but I kept going back to eat a little bit more. Delicious!

  28. You're welcome. I just adore this salad.

  29. Thank you soooooo much for this recipe it is just what I have been looking for! It is so good and easy to do 😉 thanks again

  30. We have been searching for the perfect Mexican slaw recipe for a couple of years, and this is it!! Thanks for the great recipe…it is soooo good. I recently stumbled across your blog and am so glad I did.

  31. Jen, I love this slaw. Can't imagine how many times I've made it. Hope you enjoy.

  32. I was looking for a slaw recipe and this looks fantastic: both lime AND hot sauce! Thanks.

  33. Glad to hear it was a hit. Not sure if you mean coriander the spice or coriander leaves, but if it's the leaves, that's the same thing as cilantro, just another name for it.

  34. Made this tonight for our bonfire party to accompany baked potatoes and chilli con carne. I did swap the cilantro for coriander, but everyone loved it! Thank you 🙂

  35. Maryl, thank you for that trick! I've never heard that before but I'll definitely try it.

  36. I made the slaw last night. It was great! I used my mother's trick to keep the red cabbage from bleeding. After you shred the cabbage, soak it in warm water for a half hour or longer. Drain and rinse it. Let it dry or pat it dry and use it in the recipe. No weird pink color! (Works with carrots too.)

  37. Kati, glad you liked it. I love the Sriracha in this. I think it would be good with sour cream or even Greek yogurt instead of the mayo, keep meaning to try it.

  38. This was awesome! I think next time, I'll go the sour cream route. I used Sriracha, and it rocked! Thx.

  39. Your mayo-free version sounds good!

  40. Thanks, Kalyn, for the suggestions and yummy recipe. Here's what I did to make this mayo free – 3 T fresh lime juice, 2 T honey, 3 T rice wine vinegar, 1 t Dijon mustard, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 t salt, 1 t chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. I made this twice this week for different events and came home each time with an empty bowl. Will definitely try it with fish tacos.

  41. Maybe try making a spicy lime vinaigrette, replacing the mayo with olive oil, using the lime and hot sauce as in this recipe? If you try it, love to know how it turns out.

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