Cabbage Slaw for Fish Tacos

Add tons of cilantro lime flavor to your fish tacos with our creamy cabbage slaw. This recipe uses both green and purple cabbage, fresh cilantro, onions, and a tangy lime dressing. Our cabbage slaw is easy to make and is perfect if you’re looking for a mayo-based coleslaw to go with your favorite seafood tacos.

Close up view of fish taco slaw in a bowl.

Cabbage Slaw for Fish Tacos

5 from 1 vote
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Author: Kim
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings

Ingredients

For the Dressing

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1-2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Slaw Mix

  • 3 cups green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 cups purple cabbage, finely shredded
  • ¼ cup purple onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing except for the salt and pepper.
    ½ cup mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
    1 tablespoon lime zest
    1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    Lime dressing in a bowl.
  • Taste the dressing, then add the salt and pepper to your taste preference.
    Salt and pepper
  • Set the dressing in the fridge while you assemble the ingredients for slaw.
  • Place the slaw ingredients into a large bowl. Pour the lime dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.
    3 cups green cabbage
    2 cups purple cabbage
    ¼ cup purple onion
    2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
    Lime dressing poured over cabbage, onions, and cilantro.
  • Serve immediately!
    Lime dressing and cabbage mix combined in a bowl.

Suggested Equipment

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of ¼ cup of slaw. Actual calories will vary.
*Skip to Tips
*Skip to Substitutions and Variations
*Skip to Storage
*Skip to Frequently Asked Questions

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 76kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 67mgPotassium: 77mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 195IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 0.2mg
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Limes in a bowl of cabbage slaw.

Let’s talk about fish taco slaw for a minute. When it comes to cabbage slaw, there are usually two types of people. Those that like vinegar slaw and those that prefer a creamy coleslaw.

I’m in the “it depends” group. Meaning it depends on how you cook the fish. John, well, he loves mayo slaw. Every time!

So when I told him I was making beer battered cod tacos and asked which type of slaw I should make to go with them, you know what he said? Some kind of creamy coleslaw.

So there you have it, folks! My cabbage slaw recipe is not only easy to make, but it’s hubby approved.

How to Make Cabbage Slaw for Fish Tacos

  1. Start by collecting all the ingredients and getting everything prepped.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice and zest, sugar, and garlic powder. Taste the dressing, then add the salt and pepper to taste.
Lime juice, zest, mayo, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Lime dressing in a bowl.
  1. Set the dressing in the fridge while you assemble the ingredients for slaw.
  2. Place both kinds of cabbage, the onion, and cilantro into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pour the lime dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.
Cabbage, onions, and cilantro in a bowl.
Lime dressing poured over cabbage, onions, and cilantro.
  1. Serve immediately!
Lime dressing and cabbage mix combined in a bowl.

Kim’s Tips

Tips
  • Don’t be alarmed when the cabbage wilts and reduces in volume. As written, this cabbage slaw recipe starts with about 5-ish cups of ingredients. After mixing in the dressing, the volume decreases to about 3 cups, more or less. If you want more than that, consider doubling the recipe or reducing the dressing.
  • The longer this coleslaw sits, the “soggier” it becomes. If it’s stored in the fridge, you’ll see a lot of liquid in the bottom of the container. Try to serve it immediately if possible.
  • This fish taco slaw has a lot of lime flavor. Opt for less lime zest or juice if you’d like a milder flavor.
  • Use a food processor fitted with a shredding and slicing blade to quickly shred fresh cabbage.

Substitutions and Variations

There are several ways to change this recipe. It’s pretty simple as-is, but it’s always good to have options in case some ingredients aren’t available.

Cabbage: I love the combo of green and purple cabbage (a little more green than purple), but you could easily use all green or all purple. Switching this up will NOT mess up the recipe.

Coleslaw Mix: While we’re on the subject of cabbage, let’s talk about coleslaw mix. Yes! You can use a 12-16 ounce bag of pre-shredded coleslaw mix. Make sure to toss out the little packet of dressing that comes with it or use it for something else later. Coleslaw mix makes a great timesaver, but it doesn’t hold up as well to the dressing as fresh cabbage. Just something to consider.

Onions: If you don’t have purple onions, try white or green onions instead.

Cilantro: This one is a big one for a lot of people. Replace the cilantro with the same amount of freshly chopped parsley.

Lime Juice and Zest: Since you need lime zest, you might as well use the juice from the limes, too. If for some reason you decide not to use the zest, bottled lime juice works. It’s not going to have quite the same flavor, though. Use fresh limes if possible.

Mayo: We get a fair amount of questions about substitutes for mayonnaise in our dressings. We really, really like mayo for this cabbage slaw recipe because it’s tangy, creamy, and has the perfect consistency to hold up to the other ingredients. If you must swap it with something else, opt for Greek yogurt. It’s also fairly thick and has a tangy flavor. Sour cream alone isn’t a good option because it’s too thin.

Add Other Veggies: It never hurts to add some thinly sliced carrots, jalapeños, or bell peppers for extra flavor and color.

Dark bowl filled with slaw.

How to Store Leftovers

Refrigerator: Store leftover fish taco slaw in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Yes! To keep the cabbage slaw crisp, store the dressing and cabbage separately until serving.

It makes roughly 3 cups after the lime dressing is added. I typically use around ¼ to ½ cup on each fish taco, adjusting the amount based on the size of the tortillas.

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