Creamy Mexican Coleslaw

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Mexican Coleslaw with a creamy Greek yogurt and lime dressing is the perfect side dish or topping for all your favorite tacos and Mexican dishes.

122 CAL 13g CARBS 7g FAT 3g PROTEIN 5
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This easy Mexican Slaw takes all the traditional elements of coleslaw but gives it a Mexican spin with lime, cilantro, and chili powder. It's the perfect topping for fish tacoschicken tacos or shrimp tostadas, to throw on some Cilantro Lime Chicken, or to serve as a side dish.

During the warmer months, coleslaw is one of my favorite salads and side dishes to make. It's a classic for a reason and the simple combination of shredded cabbage with a creamy dressing is delicious. But sometimes, I want to take it in a different direction and that's where this Mexican slaw comes in. Filled with cilantro, fresh lime juice, avocado, and a hint of chili powder, it's the perfect spin on a classic.

It's also one of those dishes that will quickly become a kitchen staple since it is versatile and adaptable. You can serve this coleslaw with so many different types of dishes from tacos to grilled meats. Plus it makes a great condiment or base for a big salad. Believe me, you'll love this.

Mexican coleslaw in a bowl with cilantro, cabbage, fresh lime, and avocado.

How to Make Mexican Coleslaw

There are two main parts to any coleslaw recipe, the dressing and the cabbage.

  1. Make the coleslaw dressing: Greek yogurt is the main element in this dressing. It's higher in protein and lower in fat than the traditionally used mayonnaise. However, I find that Greek yogurt can be a bit too tangy. That's why I like to add a touch of mayo to the yogurt to create the creamy base for the dressing. To that, this Mexican slaw gets some lime juice, lime zest, honey, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder. 
  2. Grab the veggies: For the easiest option, reach for a bag of packaged coleslaw mix. I like versions that have a good mix of green and purple cabbage. Since there are never enough carrots in these mixes, I also add some extra shredded carrots. And to kick up the Mexican flavors, I throw in some cilantro and green onion. You could add some chopped jalapenos as well.
  3. Mix and rest: Toss everything together and then let your slaw rest for at least 10 minutes in the fridge. This helps all the flavors to combine and softens up the cabbage slightly. As someone who loves crunch, I don't like to let my coleslaw sit for too long. However, if you like a softer slaw, you may want to leave it in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
  4. Making in advance: If you are prepping this for a party or event, make the dressing and slaw separately. Then simply toss together before serving. It will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days but loses its crunch and can get slightly watery.

How to shred cabbage

Shredding your own cabbage for coleslaw is absolutely worth it if you have the extra time. Freshly cut cabbage will always taste better than the stuff that comes in the bag. Here's how to cut shredded cabbage at home:

  • Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. 
  • Find the stem and cut the cabbage in half, through the stem. Then cut the cabbage into quarters.
  • Carefully cut away the stem from the cabbage leaves.
  • Method 1: Use a mandoline to cut the cabbage into thin slices. This method will give you the most uniform, thin slices.
  • Method 2: Carefully cut the cabbage, cutting down towards the stem, into thin slices. 

Recipe Ideas for Mexican Slaw

  • Make it spicier: If you are looking for a spicy Mexican slaw, add some freshly chopped jalapenos to the slaw as well. You can also add pickled jalapenos for a slightly different flavor or serrano peppers if you want it extra spicy.
  • Add smoke: If you love smoky flavors, double the cumin in this recipe.
  • Chipotle: For something spicy and smoky, add a chopped chipotle pepper in adobo to the Greek yogurt dressing. This will add lots of heat. For less heat, just add the adobo liquid and leave out the actual chipotle pepper.
  • Try fresh fruit: I love adding freshly chopped mango or pineapple to this recipe for a more tropical slaw.
  • Add jicama: For some extra crunch, add some thinly sliced jicama to your slaw. It's super crunchy and slightly sweet.
  • Try it with broccoli slaw: For a different spin, make this with broccoli slaw instead of the traditional cabbage slaw.
  • Add protein: If you want to turn this into a meal, add protein. Grilled chicken, seafood, or black beans all work great.

What to Serve with Mexican Coleslaw

  • If you haven't been thinking about fish tacos since you saw this coleslaw recipe, I would be shocked. 
  •  I love adding this to a simple chicken burrito bowl or these chicken tinga tacos to really brighten things up. 
  • Grab some Slow Cooker Carnitas and add this slaw right on top. Great for tacos, bowls, lettuce wraps, and salads.
  • Easy Grilled Chicken Tacos can be spiced up with this lime slaw. So much more exciting than chopped lettuce and tomatoes.
  • It also pairs great with Steak Tacos and takes them from an ordinary weeknight meal to something special.

Mexican slaw with avocado, cilantro, cabbage, carrots, and green onions in a white bowl with a wooden spoon.

How to make sure coleslaw isn't watery?

The main complaint people have about coleslaw is that it gets watery. This is mostly due to the high water content in cabbage. To prevent your cabbage slaw from getting watery, try salting it. Once you have shredded the cabbage, place it in a colander and toss it with some kosher salt. You will need about 1 tablespoon for a pound of cabbage. Let it sit for 2 hours, tossing it occasionally. Then rinse the cabbage and dry it well with a towel. You will be shocked at how much water comes out.

How long does coleslaw last in the fridge?

Colelsaw is a dish that is best served within a couple of hours of preparing it. However, it will last for 2-3 days in the fridge. Just know that it will continue to wilt as it sits. If you need to prep this in advance, prep the dressing and veggies separately and mix before serving.

The Recipe
Mexican coleslaw with lime Greek yogurt dressing with cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and avocado.

Creamy Mexican Coleslaw

122 CAL 13g CARBS 7g FAT 3g PROTEIN 5
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  • 5 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup 2% lowfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup, leave out for low carb)
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

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Start by making the dressing. Combine the yogurt, mayo, lime juice, honey, lime zest, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Taste and season as needed.


Toss together the cabbage, carrots, avocado, green onions, and cilantro with the dressing. Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 122
Calories from Fat 64
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 66mg
Total Carbohydrate 13g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 7g
Protein 3g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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