Everyday Slaw with Cilantro & Jalapeño

Everyday Slaw with Cilantro & Jalapeño

Mexican food is as much a staple at our dinner table as any other cuisine on the globe. Mind you, it’s not always straight-up conventional. You’re just as likely to find collard greens on our tacos as carnitas.  I’ve learned that good ingredients — corn tortillas, cotija, crema, cilantro, guacamole, tender black and pinto beans, and pico de gallo — can be happily traditional or deliciously jacked up through creativity and thrift into something altogether new. The one commonality for most Mexican food I put on the table, though, is this Everyday Slaw with Cilantro & Jalapeño.

Upsides to this Simple Slaw?

This staple slaw serves two purposes:

1) Makes a satisfying, crunchy, fresh counterpoint with flavors that complement the likes of tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and other south-of-the-border flavors.  

2) Adds a generous dose of nutrient-packed cabbage, carrots, and peppers to plates that are often lacking much in the way of vegetables. Adding a mound of this colorful slaw balances out a plate of enchiladas or carnitas. 

Colorful bowl of slaw with cilatro

How to Serve Everday Slaw with Cilantro & Jalapeño

Here are a few favorite ways to enjoy it:

Straight up

Serve it in a pretty bowl along with rice, beans, tortillas, or whatever Mexican main is on the table.

In Tacos

Cram as much of this slaw as will fit into these Crispy Avocado Tacos in lieu of Romaine lettuce. Delicious! (I’m also jonesing to try it with these Beer Battered Fish Tacos from Cooking Light). 

On Tostadas

Layer warm beans, shredded cheese, a spoonful sour cream, and a bundle of slaw on top of a crisp tostada.

In Main Dish Salads

Add grilled chicken and toasted pepitas to this slaw, toss well, and serve as a center-of-the-plate salad.

Close up of colorful slaw

Can I Make This Slaw Ahead of Time?

This is a great make-ahead salad. The heartiness of the cabbage holds up well, even after a couple of days. Here are two make-ahead options:

  • You can assemble and dress the salad the same day you plan to serve it. Store it covered in the fridge. It will lose a touch of its crunch, but will be plenty flavorful. 
  • Prepare all the vegetables ahead of time and toss them together in a bowl up to two days ahead of time. Store in a covered container in the fridge, then add the lime juice, olive oil, and salt just before serving. 

If you like Everyday Slaw with Cilantro & Jalapeño, check out

 Street Corn Salad  

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

Simple Pot of Black Beans

Everyday Slaw with Cilantro, Jalapeño, and Lime

Feel free to tinker with the amount of lime, cilantro, scallions, and jalapeño to suit your palate. The salad is terrific as soon as it's made, and arguably even better the next day. You can easily double or triple the recipe, since it's a great make-ahead dish for a party or potluck.

Course Salad
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 18 minutes
Servings 4 to 6
Calories 97 kcal
Author Katie Morford


  • 1/2 red or green cabbage (see notes)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium to large carrots)
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced white and light green parts only
  • 1/3 roughly chopped cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2 to 3 juicy limes)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced jalapeño (use more or less, as desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Finely shred the cabbage as you would for coleslaw. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well. Refrigerate until ready to eat and toss again just before serving.
  2. This slaw keeps well in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

For extra color, use 1/4 of a red cabbage and 1/4 of a green cabbage. Reserve leftover cabbage for another use.



07.19.2016 at8:05 AM #

Sally @ Real Mom Nutrition

So pretty! I love anything with tons of cilantro and lime juice.

07.19.2016 at8:05 AM #

Katie Morford

It does add a splash of color to a Mexican spread!

05.10.2022 at8:35 PM #


This looks delish! What a great way to have a serving or two of veggies.

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