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

Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro is a salad I make over and over, and it’s  also Keto, low-glycemic, gluten-free, South Beach Diet friendly, vegan, and it could even be Paleo or Whole 30 with the right mayo and hot sauce. Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

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Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro!

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

When I shared the Low-Carb Slow Cooker Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas that all my recipe testers swooned over, I recommended serving it with this Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro, and this is a salad I’ve been crazy over for years. It’s been overdue for a photo make-over for quite a while now, but that hasn’t hurt the popularity of this delicious spicy slaw.

This recipe has such a perfect combination of ingredients that when I first tried the salad in 2008, after one bite I knew I’d be making it over and over again. I spotted the recipe in Fine Cooking Annual 2008, and it immediately appealed to me with an ingredient list that included cabbage, cilantro, mayo, and lime. I did adapt the recipe a bit, and since I like my cabbage salads crunchy, I completely ignored the recipe instructions to salt and drain the cabbage.

I’ve made this quite a bit 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. I’ve used  Sriracha Sauce for the spicy kick, but it’s Green Tabasco Sauce that I use most often, 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.

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

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!

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

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 plan for leftovers, you can only add dressing to the amount you’ll eat and store the leftover cabbage and dressing separately.

Going Crazy Over Cabbage Salad:

Ridiculously Easy Blue Cheese Coleslaw ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Spicy Cabbage Salad~Viet World Kitchen
Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Peanutty Coleslaw~Everybody Loves Sandwiches
Red Cabbage and Chicken Asian Salad with Tangy Cilantro Dressing~ 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.


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 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 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.

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.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

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

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

  1. You had me with lime and cilantro. I can almost taste the crunchiness. Great slaw Kalyn.

  2. I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog. Almost every single recipe is something that I want to make or have made, and you’re always giving nice health tips. Thank you!

  3. Peter, that’s just how I felt when I spotted the recipe!

    Magpie, thanks. This kind of feedback means a lot to me.

  4. lovely blend of flavours. we replace mayo with low-fat yogurt/sour cream sometimes.

  5. I am making fish tacos tonight and this is a perfect side dish recipe!
    Thanks Kalyn!

  6. Do you think this would work with napa cabbage? I have half a head I need to use up.

  7. I can’t wait to make this slaw with fish tacos! Yum!! Thanks Kalyn!

  8. Kalyn, I made this salad almost exactly as you did last week with the addition of some cubed grilled chicken and some kidney beans for my dinner. It was awesome.

  9. Bee, that would definitely work. (Unfortunately, I’m a bit of a mayo freak.)

    Zoe, can’t see any reason Napa Cabbage wouldn’t be great in this. Hmm, maybe I’ll try it too.

    Sue Bette and Maria, I thought of fish tacos when I was writing this up!

    Brendalou, great idea and fun hearing from someone else who loved the recipe.

  10. I love the idea of a slaw with lime and cilantro. I’m adding this (link) to my post Snappy Crunchy Cole Slaw!

  11. that sure looks colorful! and yes, anything raw has to be nutritious:)

  12. looks absolutely lovely. i was thinking just this afternoon that it’s been ages since I had a good slaw salad and here you are reading my mind!

  13. Hi Kalyn,

    I may have to make some of this slaw… it sounds and looks delicious!

  14. You bet I’m going to be making this! Thank you!

  15. This slaw does sound good! Nice and fresh and healthy. And just look at those vibrant colours!

  16. sounds great. any reason we couldn’t do it with bagged shredded cabbage, sold in the stores as cole slaw mix?

  17. I’m just so happy that people are liking the sound of this because I was worried I was getting in too much of a cabbage rut!

    Doren, can’t think of any reason that coleslaw wouldn’t work, although I think freshly cut cabbage is a bit crisper. I’m sure it would still be delicious though!

  18. Wonderful looking salad! I seem to always prefer cabbage over lettuce these days just because it lasts longer! Thanks so much for including my recipe too!

  19. Slaw is something I grew up thinking I didn’t like. Now it’s a favorite that we have all year almost once a week. I’ll have to try this one. Lime and cilantro that’s got to be a winner! I’ve gotten pretty good at making just what the two of us will eat as we like it crispy!

  20. This sounds like a perfect dish to sit down with on the upcoming warm spring nights!

  21. You know… I never, ever make slaw because my hubby doesn’t like to eat it, but maybe if i try something different like this! It looks so good!

  22. Oh Kalyn, the ingredients are also favorites of mine especially lime & cilantro (coriander). Yum & colorful to boot! Cheers!

  23. thanks so much– i made this straightaway last night with some blackened chicken breasts– it is my new favorite! i love your site!!!! i am on SBD and you inspire me everyday. thanks!

  24. Stephanie, so glad to hear you liked it, and thanks for the nice feedback!

  25. I enjoyed visiting your blog– wonderful flavors!

  26. You are so right about every ingredient being perfect! I made this last night and also added some red pepper flakes in addition to a few drops of hot sauce…it was perfect!

    I will definitely make this again, thanks for the recipe.

  27. KBo, thanks for the feedback. I think hot pepper flakes is a great idea!

  28. I love this, there can never be enough slaw recipes in my opinion. It sounds fresh, crunchy and delicious.

  29. I’m a big fan of cruciferous veggies also! But I don’t have a lot of time to cook, so every week or so I buy a bag of red and green shredded cabbage and a bag of shredded broccoli. I mix the two together and dump a bit of Marazetti coleslaw dressing on top. Then I’m ready to eat lunch or fast snacks for the rest of the week!

  30. Lime and cilantro, my two favorites! Can’t wait to try this!

  31. Gorgeous coleslaw! As my father was recently diagnosed with diabetes so I can see myself trying a lot more of your healthier and low GI recipes for him 🙂 This may be the start as he adores coleslaw!

  32. Never tire of cabbage. I need to use more of it. I like the idea of just having it on hand and tossing it in whenever…
    I wouldn’t salt/wilt it either…
    Crunchy is always best.
    I’m going to plant my cilantro soon…We’ll see….

  33. mmmm yummi …. what the content is?

  34. Jhonie, I’m guessing you mean the calorie or carb content? I don’t count carbs or calories so if you want to know that you will have to calculate it yourself.

  35. I have to try this one some time with fish tacos as everyone seems to be suggesting. Here is a good, healthy fish taco recipe http://www.chefmd.com/recipe_display.php?id=44 Like you said cabbage is a nutritional powerhouse; it’s been associated with a 40% reduced risk of ovarian cancer. Pretty good for colorful cabbage and tacos. If you are interested, you should look at more of the information on the ChefMD site.

  36. Your slaw looks so colorful. Love those combination

  37. yum, i’m such a cabbage fan and this slaw looks great!

  38. I am a new reader and I just love your blog! It has become my go-to source for encouragement and recipes (I’m in week 2 of Phase 1). Thanks for another great recipe! Even my picky 11yo loves this coleslaw 🙂 You make me feel like I can really do this for the rest of my life!

  39. Lara, thanks. And you really can do it for the rest of your life. (Of course every so often you will go off the wagon and eat things that aren’t really allowed, but then just start right back again!0

  40. Yum, this sounds so good! I have everything that I need except lime juice. I know this is probably crucial, but I hate to make a run to the store. Is there any substitution you think I could make or just omit?

  41. You could make it with white balsamic vinegar or rice wine vinegar, although it wouldn’t be quite the same. You’re right that what makes this special is the lime juice so try it again that way when you have some limes.

  42. I just made this. I made it with the pre-packaged cole slaw mix that they have at the grocery store, which also had some carrots and such. This was REALLY good. I will never eat regular cole slaw again. I forgot the green onions (woe!), nixed the cilantro, and added raisins. Twas delicious. Thanks Kalyn.

  43. How fun! I love the sound of your variation too. Thanks for sharing.

  44. It had been a long time since I'd made this once before, and I tried last night to see if I could remember how to make it, and upon review of the recipe here today, I see that I was spot on! That just shows what an easy recipe this is, if I can remember it after all that time.

    I don't really like traditional cole slaw, but I love this. When I'd made it a while back, I'd mixed red and green cabbage. Since it is just my husband and I, we had leftovers, and it had all turned a bright pink overnight thanks to the red cabbage and mayo. So eating it immediately after making it definately preserves the different vibrant colors in the dish.

    Last night I used only green cabbage but added a shredded carrot for some color. Everything else I did the same way. I used Texas Pete for the hot sauce. It turned out as yummy as the first time I'd made it, and it went great with our ceviche and our black bean and corn salad!

  45. Stef, I know what you mean about the red cabbage turning it pink! (Although it hasn't stopped me from eating the leftovers!) I like the idea of using carrot in this too; will have to try that.

  46. I made this as a side for chicken in mole xiqueno with white rice, and man it is PERFECT!

  47. Kate thanks; it's definitely one of my favorites.

  48. I love this blog! It's totally helping me with my South Beach diet, and it encourages me to get really creative in the kitchen (which I LOVE doing).

    So, I just wanted to say that I took your Mexican slaw recipe and gave it my own healthy twist. Instead of cabbage, I had a bunch of broccoli stalks leftover from some broccoli crowns I had broken down for munchies. So I ran the stalks through my food processor, along with a couple of carrots. I omitted the cilantro (unfortunately I'm one of the few that find that it tastes funky) and added sriracha, and the slaw is EXCELLENT, as well as high in fiber due to the broccoli!

  49. I love the sound of your spicy broccoli slaw!

  50. Hi Kalyn – I would love to try this recipe, but without the mayo or any dairy products. Do you have any suggestions for a vinaigrette based slaw? Thanks!

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