Potluck friends always ask for this recipe! This fresh Mexican slaw will easily stand on its own as a side dish, but adds an extra layer of flavor and crunch to fish or shrimp tacos. The combination of tangy lime dressing and sweet mango chunks adds loads of flavor.
When I went to Mexico several years ago, I fell in love with the slaw that topped every taco I ate (and believe me, I ate a lot of them!) My Shrimp, Jicama and Mango Salsa was inspired by one of my favorite meals there. And this slaw is a must to round out any great Mexican-inspired meal.
Or any bbq potlucks, for that matter. My son took this Mexican cabbage slaw to his friend's house a few weeks ago, where they were smoking brisket. He reported to me that everyone adored the slaw and piled it high on top of their plates of meat.
While dining in restaurants in Mexico, I sampled a couple of different slaws. Mexican slaw for tacos ranged from lime juice-dressed recipes, like the one I'm sharing here, to creamy slaws toss with crema-based dressings. I prefer the lighter lime juice vinaigrette-style slaws for both flavor and health reasons. However, if you want to try a creamy version, this one by Pati Jinich looks fantastic!
💙 Why this Mexican slaw recipe works
▪️ QUICK AND EASY: This coleslaw recipe takes about 15 minutes to prepare. Use your best chef's knife and get chopping!
▪️ VERSATILE: The crunch of this slaw works equally well in tacos as is does as a side dish at a summertime potluck.
▪️ FLAVOR: The flavors in this slaw is what makes all of our friends and family ask for the recipe. Tangy lime juice, sweet mango and fresh veggies meld together beautifully!
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📋 Ingredients for Mexican cabbage slaw
- GREEN CABBAGE: Use a standard green cabbage found in most grocery stores.
- PURPLE CABBAGE: Use a purple cabbage, which is sometimes labeled as red cabbage.
- MANGO: Any mango varietal works. Use your favorite. See my tutorial on How to Cut a Mango.
- CARROT: Definitely not a traditional ingredient, so feel free to leave it out if you prefer.
- GREEN ONION: Thinly slice a couple of green onions. Substitute with raw red onion for a more traditional option.
- CILANTRO: Wash and dry the cilantro, then mince it. See How to Chop Parsley and Cilantro.
- JALAPEÑO PEPPER: Jalapeño pepper adds some nice zip. Feel free to leave it out. Or if you prefer less heat, remove the white membranes and seeds before mincing the pepper.
- DRESSING: Fresh lime juice (I use this hand-held citrus juicer), extra virgin olive oil, agave nectar, ground cumin, ground coriander and salt.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
▪️ CABBAGE: In grocery stores in the U.S.A. and Canada, the standard green cabbage is typically labeled as "green cabbage". Use whatever is available in your area. Though they have a lighter texture, either Napa cabbage or Savoy cabbage can be substituted.
▪️ ONION: Raw red onion slices are the more traditional option to green onions. I just happen to prefer green onions because their mellow flavor allows the other ingredients to shine. Plus we have a red onion allergy in the family, so I often veer away from it.
▪️ AGAVE NECTAR: Honey can be substituted, though please note that it is not vegan.
▪️ CILANTRO: If cilantro isn't your thing, either leave it out or substitute with flat-leaf parsley.
🔪 How to make Mexican slaw
The instructions for making this salad couldn't be simpler. Chop the veggies, make the dressing and toss it all together. Let's talk details...
PREP THE CABBAGE: Cut the cabbage through the root end, then lay it, cut side down, on a cutting board. I like to cut the vertically cabbage in half or thirds from the root to the opposite end. Then thinly slice crosswise. Repeat with the other cabbage.
PREP THE MANGO: Cutting a mango can seem a little tricky at first because of the oblong-shaped pit. Once you've done it once or twice, it's a breeze. Follow my directions in How to Cut a Mango.
COMBINE: Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl. That's the cabbages, chopped mango, carrot, green onion, cilantro and jalapeño pepper (is using).
MAKE THE DRESSING: In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, coriander, agave nectar and salt.
TOSS AND SERVE: Pour the dressing into the slaw and toss gently to combine. I use tongs to do toss the salad, but salad tongs or two forks works equally well. Taste it and add extra seasonings, such as salt, if desired.
⏲ Storage and Make-Ahead Tips
Like most salads, this slaw is best served shortly after adding the dressing. If you're taking the slaw to a potluck, I recommend transporting it undressed, then tossing with the dressing once you arrive at the get-together.
Undressed, this slaw lasts up to 3 days in refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. Store the dressing in a separate container.
Once dressed, the slaw stays at its optimal crunchiness for 6 to 8 hours. That being said, the leftovers can be enjoyed a couple of days later, as long as you don't mind slight deterioration of the texture.
❓ Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes! If you don't enjoy the flavor of cilantro, simple leave it out or substitute with flat-leaf parsley.
Yes! I often add chopped avocado to this slaw. If making the salad ahead of time, add the avocado at the last minute to avoid the browning that happens due to oxidation.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, are well known to be a fantastic source of nutrients, including fiber. Plus, mango is chockfull of vitamins and minerals.
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If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and comment underneath the recipe card below. Thank you!
Mexican Slaw with Mango
- 3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
- 3 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
- 1 mango cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 medium carrot peeled and grated
- 2 green onions thinly sliced (See Note 1)
- ¼ cup minced cilantro
- 1-2 tablespoons minced jalapeño pepper optional (See Note 2)
- In a serving large bowl, combine the green cabbage, purple cabbage, mango, grated carrot, green onions, cilantro and jalapeño (if using).
- Pour in the dressing. Toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings (e.g, salt) as needed. Serve.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the fresh lime juice, olive oil, agave nectar, cumin, coriander and salt.
This post was first published on May 4, 2012 and updated on March 13, 2023.
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