Taco Slaw

updated Apr 18, 2024
summer
Taco Slaw Recipe

This easy red cabbage and carrot slaw is tossed in a spicy and creamy dressing — perfect for serving alongside tacos.

Serves4 to 6

Makesabout 4 cups

Prep25 minutes

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Credit: Joe Lingeman

I firmly believe every Taco Tuesday needs a solid taco slaw. Yes, there will always be fresh salsa and classic guacamole on the assembly line for taco night, but I always want something with crunch to make the whole situation come together. This crisp, refreshing, and slightly creamy taco slaw works with any filling you have on the roster for the night.

Crunchy red cabbage and sweet carrots combine with spicy jalapeños and chopped fresh cilantro. Everything is tossed with just a bit of mayo for creaminess and a big squeeze of lime juice for tang. Here’s how to make easy slaw for your next taco night.

Quick Overview

One Simple Trick for the Best Taco Slaw

The key to the best slaw is salting the shredded cabbage — so don’t skip this step. Salting it and letting it rest in a colander for 15 minutes first, before tossing everything together, allows for it to release some of its liquid, which results in a crunchier slaw that holds up better in the fridge.

Why You’ll Love It

  • It’s perfect on tacos. Serve this crunchy slaw with your favorite type of tacos for an easy weeknight dinner. The slaw is especially good on crispy fish tacos and shrimp tacos.
  • You can make it ahead. Salting the shredded cabbage helps release some of its liquid. This means you can throw the slaw together the night before you need it, making taco night a breeze.

Key Ingredients in Taco Slaw

  • Red cabbage: We use shredded red cabbage here, but you can use green cabbage as a substitute.
  • Mayonnaise: Use your favorite store-bought or homemade mayonnaise.
  • Lime juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice brightens up the dressing.
  • Scallions: You’ll need two medium scallions, thinly sliced.
  • Carrot: Grate a small carrot with a box grater.
  • Cilantro: Chopped fresh cilantro is the perfect addition to taco slaw.
  • Jalapeño pepper (optional): Add a small jalapeño pepper for some heat.

How to Make Taco Slaw

  1. Salt the shredded cabbage. Salt the shredded cabbage in a colander. Massage the cabbage to help release its liquid, then set it aside to drain for about 15 minutes.
  2. Make the dressing. Place the mayonnaise and lime juice in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Squeeze the cabbage of its excess liquid. Using your hands, squeeze the cabbage of its excess liquid one handful at a time and place in the bowl of dressing.
  4. Toss the veggies in the dressing. Add the grated carrot, scallions, cilantro, jalapeño (if using), and garlic, and toss to combine.

What to Serve with Taco Slaw

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

  • Make ahead: The slaw can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Taco Slaw Recipe

This easy red cabbage and carrot slaw is tossed in a spicy and creamy dressing — perfect for serving alongside tacos.

Prep time 25 minutes

Makes about 4 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4 cups

    shredded red cabbage (from 1/2 small head)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons

    mayonnaise

  • 2

    medium scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1

    small carrot, grated

  • 1/4 cup

    chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1

    small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (optional)

  • 1 clove

    garlic, minced

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place 4 cups shredded red cabbage in a colander set over a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Massage and squeeze the cabbage with your hands to help it release its liquid and begin wilting. Set aside to drain for about 15 minutes.

  2. Place 2 tablespoons mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Using your hands, squeeze the cabbage of its excess liquid one handful at a time and place in the bowl of dressing. Add 1 small grated carrot, 2 thinly sliced scallions, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, minced jalapeño (if using), and 1 clove minced garlic, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The slaw can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.