Emily's Honey Lime Coleslaw Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 20 min. + chilling
No mayo required for this colorful cilantro lime slaw! It’s perfect for tacos or burgers or as a fresh side dish for anything coming off the grill.

Updated: Nov. 20, 2023

This no-mayo cilantro lime slaw is so easy to make, and it looks gorgeous to boot. The crunchy, bright-tasting coleslaw goes well with everything, so don’t be surprised if this dish makes a regular appearance in your kitchen!

Cilantro lime slaw stands out among popular barbecue sides. It also doubles as a fresh topping for fish tacos, grilled burgers or burrito bowls. You don’t have to serve coleslaw as just a side dish, though. Add filling extras like nuts, diced avocado, shredded cheese or a grilled protein, and transform this side into a healthy dinner.

Cilantro Lime Slaw Ingredients

A Cutting Board With Vegetables and a GraterTMB Studio

  • No-mayo dressing: Who says you need mayonnaise to make coleslaw? We keep things simple with bright, clean flavors: grated lime zest, lime juice, honey, garlic, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and canola oil.
  • Honey: Honey balances the acidity of the lime juice. You could easily swap in another sweetener (like sugar or agave) to make a vegan cilantro lime slaw.
  • Red cabbage and carrots: This combination creates a particularly colorful mix, but you could use any crunchy vegetables, really! Green cabbage works just as well as red cabbage, and you can use store-bought broccoli slaw or coleslaw mix to save time (and keep the dirty dishes to a minimum).
  • Green onions and cilantro: Chopped green onions and cilantro combine with lime juice to give this dish a super-fresh taste.

Directions

Step 1: Make the dressing

A Fresh Salad Dressing Bowl With a Whisk in ItTMB Studio

In a small bowl, combine the grated lime zest, lime juice, honey, minced garlic, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Gradually whisk in the canola oil until the dressing is well blended.

Editor’s Tip: You can also make this dressing by shaking the ingredients together in a jar with a tightly fitted lid. This is our go-to method when doubling the recipe to make bulk salad dressing. The dressing lasts two weeks in the fridge, but the oil will separate as it sits. Give it a good shake to recombine before using it.

Step 2: Toss the salad

A Person Pouring Dressing Into a Bowl of SaladTMB Studio

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots and green onions. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture, and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, for two hours. Add the cilantro just before serving.

Cilantro Lime Slaw Variations

  • Add other vegetables: Add fresh, watery crunch with kohlrabi or jicama, infuse sweetness with red bell peppers, or add a peppery vibe with julienned radishes.
  • Include some heat: There are several ways to add heat. Add a dash of hot sauce to the dressing, or include thinly sliced jalapenos or serranos in the cabbage mix. We also like using chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to add a hint of smoky flavor.
  • Make it creamy: If you love a creamy dressing, try mixing in a spoonful of mayonnaise, Greek yogurt or sour cream.
  • Add crunch: The vegetables will soften as they sit in the dressing, so get creative with crunchy salad toppings. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds or crushed ramen noodles just before serving.
  • Turn it into a meal: Cilantro lime slaw can easily be transformed into a dinner salad. Add fresh avocado or Mexican cheese to the mix, or top your salad with a protein like grilled steak, chicken or shrimp. Tofu or grilled vegetables are a great choice to keep things vegetarian.

How to Store Cilantro Lime Slaw

Cilantro Lime SlawTMB Studio

Store cilantro lime slaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. The texture will soften over time, so we recommend eating it within two to three days. Drain any excess liquid before serving.

Vinegar-based coleslaws can also be turned into freezer slaw. Transfer the slaw to freezer-safe containers, and freeze, covered, for up to three months. Thaw the coleslaw overnight, and stir before serving.

Cilantro Lime Slaw Recipe Tips

Cilantro Lime SlawTMB Studio

What are some ways to serve cilantro lime slaw?

There are many different ways to serve cilantro lime slaw. Serve it as a side to lighten heavy dishes like barbecue, baked beans or grilled meats and vegetables. Add it to burgers or sandwiches to create crunch, or wrap it inside tacos or burritos. The color really shines when served on carnitas tacos or Baja fish tacos.

What is the difference between coleslaw and slaw?

Coleslaw and slaw are essentially the same dish and are often used interchangeably. The word coleslaw is thought to have originated from the Dutch phrase “koolsla,” which means cabbage salad. So, technically, coleslaw should contain cabbage, while slaw can be made with any vegetables.

Cilantro Lime Slaw

Prep Time 20 min
Yield 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small head red cabbage (about 3/4 pound), shredded
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

  1. Whisk together the first 7 ingredients until smooth. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Combine cabbage, carrots and green onions; toss with lime mixture to lightly coat. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Nutrition Facts

1/2 cup: 86 calories, 5g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 2g fiber), 1g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

Here’s a refreshing take on slaw with a honey-lime vinaigrette rather than the traditional mayo. It’s a great take-along for all those summer picnics. —Emily Tyra, Milwaukee, Wisconsin