This Mexican cabbage salad is fresh, crispy, and tangy. The perfect salad that goes well with tacos, tostadas, and grilled meats.

About the recipe

Coleslaw is undoubtedly a recipe that is prepared almost all over the world and for sure each country gives it its own particular touch and custom flavors.

In Mexico, it could not be otherwise and there is also a delicious and fresh coleslaw that is usually served to accompany crispy potato tacos and many other Mexican street foods.

This Mexican cabbage salad is refreshing, healthy, and so easy to make. It features tangy flavors and a crispy texture even after hours of being prepared.

Is a type of slaw that goes perfect not only with tacos but also as a side for seafood dishes or grilled meats. I often pair it with my fried mojarra recipe and it is amazing!

Mexican cabbage slaw salad in a bowl.

The recipe is straightforward to make and features only 6 ingredients. It’s also perfect to make ahead and bring to potlucks, Sunday lunch at grandma’s, and summer cookouts.

About Cabbage

Here are a few facts about fresh cabbage:

  • Is packed with vitamin C and many nutrients.
  • Green and red cabbage are excellent sources of antioxidants, however, red cabbage contains about 30% more vitamin C.
  • Is an Excellent Source of Vitamin K, which is good for your blood.
  • It helps to lower blood pressure and keep your heart healthy.
  • Lower your cholesterol levels.
  • Improves your digestion thanks to a large amount of soluble fiber it contains.
Piled cabbages.

And because Mexican cabbage slaw doesn’t contain mayonnaise or cream, is definitely a healthier alternative than most slaw salads out there.

TIP: How To Cut Cabbage

Discard the less fresh leaves of the cabbage and the ones that look ruined and are easy to pull off. Wash it thoroughly with water and pat dry it with paper or a clean kitchen towel.

The classic method:

There are a few methods of cutting cabbage to use in fresh slaw salads. One of them is to simply use a very sharp knife and cut the piece first in half or quarters and then cut it into very thin strips.

Cutting cabbage with a knife.

Another way is to use a cheese grater:

Stand the grater on a table or in a bowl, whichever is easier. Cut the cabbage into quarters and grate it using the part with the largest holes. This method also works with vegetable cutters, either manual or electric.

Cabbage cut with a cheese grater.

With a food processor:

And finally, you can also use a food processor but you must be careful as you don’t want to end with a cabbage paste.

So, cut cabbage into chunks and place them into a food processor, activate the device for 1 second and turn it off, check how it has been cut and, if necessary, repeat the operation.

Cabbage shredded in a food processor.

After you decided which method to use, is time to make this healthy Mexican cabbage slaw.

How To Make Mexican Cabbage Salad

Note: The order of the ingredients doesn’t matter, so you can cut them, chop them, and add them to the bowl as you wish.

Cut onions into thin slices and place them in a bowl large enough to mix well with the cabbage and the other ingredients.

Sliced red onions in a bowl.

Wash the carrot thoroughly and peel it with a potato peeler. Then, using a cheese grater, grate it into thin strips right into the bowl.

Grating carrots into the bowl with a cheese grater.

Cut the cabbage with your favorite method (read above) and add it to the bowl with the other ingredients.

Squeeze the lime juice, add dried oregano, and season with salt to taste.

Shredded cabbage in a bowl with oregano and other seasonings on top.

Note: If you want, add a dash of vinegar as well, but not too much since you should taste the flavor of the lemon more than the vinegar.

Mix very well to allow the lemon to soak all the vegetables, and adjust with salt if needed.

Mixing the Mexican cabbage salad in the bowl.

Allow your Mexican Cabbage Salad to marinate for 15-20 minutes, then serve with your favorite dishes or store for later as suggested below.

Recipe Variations

Even though the main ingredients for this Mexican slaw are only cabbage, white onions, and carrots, there are a few variations popular all over the country:

  • Red Onions: This type of onion brings some sweetness to the slaw and also a wonderful bright color.
  • Vinegar. The traditional recipe is made by macerating the vegetables just with lime juice, however, vinegar is one of the most popular variations as it adds a nice sour flavor and it helps the salad to last longer.
  • Cilantro. Many recipes also include chopped cilantro for a fresh kick.
  • Tomatoes. Sliced tomatoes help to balance the sourness and tartness of the other ingredients, definitely a nice addition.
  • Spicy. Add chiles en vinagre to stay on the sour flavor profile or sliced jalapeños and serrano chilies for a good punch of spiciness.

How To Serve

Close-up of Mexican cabbage slaw salad.

How To Store

One of the best things about this salad is that is perfect to make ahead and allow the flavors to meld together. Sure it loses some crunchiness but there’s something about macerated cabbage that is just beyond delicious.

Here’s how you should store it if you making a large batch of this salad:

  • Place leftovers in a container, since glass preserves best the flavors, we highly recommend you store it in a jar or a glass container.
  • Close tightly the lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or for up to 5 days if you used some vinegar.

Mexican cabbage salad recipe.

Mexican Cabbage Salad

This super fresh Mexican cabbage salad is perfect for your taco night. Crispy, tangy, and lemony, this slaw is also healthy!
prep 10 minutes
resting time 15 minutes
total 25 minutes


  • ½ medium cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 small carrots (grated)
  • 1 small red onion ( finely sliced)
  • 2 limes (or 1 lemon)
  • 1 tsp oregano (or more, to taste)
  • salt (to taste)


  • In a large bowl place cabbage, carrots and onions.
  • Add lime juice, oregano, and salt.
  • Toss for one or two minutes until the salad is coated with lime juice.
  • Adjust salt to taste and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.


Read the post to know about the different methods for shredding cabbage.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 621mg | Potassium: 354mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4314IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 1mg
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Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I still have a memory of a breakfast street tostada in Mazatlan almost 40 years ago! What made it special was the simple crunchy and refreshing slaw to go with my egg and frijoles. I think this recipe is it!

  2. 5 stars
    Loved the crunchy texture and tangy flavor on this Mexican slaw, I’ll try next time with some spicy, maybe adding a serrano or jalapeno pepper or some chili flakes.