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. And I squirt sriracha on everything — a condiment that hails from Southeast Asia, not south-of-the-border.
I’ve learned that good Mexican 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 whatever Mexican food I put on the table, though, is my Everyday Mexican Slaw.
This staple slaw serves two purposes:
1) Makes a satisfying, crunchy, fresh counterpoint to the likes of tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and other Mexican 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. Consider the side dish standards at a typical Mexican restaurant: a sad little tangle of shredded iceberg lettuce, a spoonful of guacamole, or if you’re lucky, a crock of spicy pickles. Adding a mound of this colorful slaw balances out the plate.
Here are a few favorite ways to enjoy it:
Serve it in a pretty bowl along with rice, beans, tortillas, or whatever Mexican main is on the table.
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.
Everyday Mexican Slaw with Cilantro and Lime
- 1/2 of a 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 to 2 teaspoons minced jalapeno (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
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.
For extra color, use 1/4 of a red cabbage and 1/4 of a green cabbage. Reserve leftover cabbage for another use.