Kalyn's Kitchen

Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro (Video)

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. 

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Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro

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 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.

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

  • green cabbage
  • red cabbage
  • green onions
  • chopped fresh cilantro (If you’re not a cilantro fan just use more green onion.)
  • mayo
  • fresh lime juice (I use my fresh-frozen lime juice)
  • hot sauce, or to taste (See notes.)
  • Vege-Sal or salt to taste

Low-Carb Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro

How to make this recipe:

(Scroll Down for complete printable recipe.)

  1. 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.)
  2. Thinly slice the green and red cabbage. (This is easiest and you’ll get best results with a mandoline slicer (affiliate link).
  3. Chop green onions and cilantro and mix with the cabbage, then stir in just enough dressing to moisten the slaw.
  4. Season with salt or Vege-Sal to taste, and devour!
  5. 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. And I wouldn’t mind a bit having this in the fridge for a quick lunch!

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

Going Crazy Over Cabbage Salad:

Ridiculously Easy Blue Cheese Coleslaw ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
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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! 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.

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

Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro

Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

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 (see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste (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 (affiliate link) 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.


If you’re not crazy about sour and hot flavors, start with a smaller amount of lime and hot sauce and add more to the dressing until it tastes good to you. I like this best with Green Tabasco Sauce (affiliate link), but I’ve made it with Sriracha Sauce (affiliate link) 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.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 104Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 189mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro is a perfect side dish for most any low-carb eating plans, including any phase of the original 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 Salad Recipes to find more low-carb salad 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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    106 Comments on “Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro (Video)”

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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 🙂

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

  5. 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.)

  6. 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.

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

  8. Your mayo-free version sounds good!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

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

  13. 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!

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

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.