Mayo-Free Cilantro Lime Coleslaw

How to make the best mayonnaise-free coleslaw salad with a lime dressing, cilantro and a little spice from minced chili peppers. Jump to the Picnic Friendly Cilantro Lime Coleslaw Salad Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.

Mayo-Free Cilantro Lime Coleslaw Salad

How to Make the Tastiest Mayo-Free Coleslaw

Serve this coleslaw salad just as you would regular homemade coleslaw or enjoy it as a salad. We’re calling this a coleslaw salad because it really can be turned into an incredible and fresh salad! Think about spooning a bunch into a bowl then top with roasted shrimp, roasted vegetables or some garlic basil baked chicken breasts (this is my favorite).

This coleslaw salad is packed with flavor. We add lots of cilantro, lime, scallions, and a healthy amount of minced serrano (or jalapeño) pepper. The coleslaw tastes bright and fresh, and since there isn’t any mayonnaise or dairy added, it’s perfect for warmer weather and outdoor eating.

Mayo-Free Coleslaw

The trick to making the tastiest coleslaw is salt. We mix salt into the shredded cabbage and let it sit for about 30 minutes. In this time, the salt draws out excess moisture, which would have eventually diluted our dressing. By getting rid of that moisture, it also keeps the cabbage crunchy. We use the same trick to make our tangy cucumber salad recipe. It’s getting rave reviews.

You can use this method for any coleslaw recipe, but it’s particularly important in this one since we cannot hide behind mayonnaise or sour cream for flavor.

Salting cabbage for the best coleslaw.

After 30 minutes, we rinse the cabbage with cold water and spin it dry. From there, all you need to do is toss in some celery, cilantro, minced pepper, and the simple dressing.

Combining coleslaw ingredients

More Easy Cabbage Recipes

Mayo-Free Cilantro Lime Coleslaw

  • PREP

Salting the cabbage before adding the dressing keeps this coleslaw salad crunchy and brings out so much more flavor than without. The dressing is simple — lime, honey, and olive oil. Since this is 100% mayonnaise-free coleslaw, it’s picnic-friendly!

Makes approximately 10 servings

You Will Need

1 medium cabbage (about 2 pounds), outer leaves removed


4 celery stalks, thinly sliced

1/2 to 1 whole serrano or jalapeno pepper, finely minced, depending on desired heat level

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

1 lime

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon honey


    1Quarter the cabbage through the core, and then cut out the core. Cut each quarter crosswise in half and finely shred. Place the shredded cabbage in a colander (you will have 6 to 8 cups). Toss with 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt and set aside for about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

    2Rinse the salted and wilted cabbage thoroughly under cold running water. Then transfer to a salad spinner and spin dry (or squeeze and pat dry). Add the cabbage to a large bowl along with the celery, scallions, minced pepper and cilantro.

    3Make the dressing by whisking two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice with the honey and olive oil. Pour over the coleslaw salad and toss well. Taste for seasoning then adjust with more salt or fresh lime juice.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Use a salad spinner: If you have one, use the colander from a large salad spinner when salting the cabbage. This makes it easy to rinse and spin dry the cabbage after salting. Ours is from OXO.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 of 10 servings / Calories 80 / Protein 1 g / Carbohydrate 7 g / Dietary Fiber 3 g / Total Sugars 4 g / Total Fat 6 g / Saturated Fat 1 g / Cholesterol 0 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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11 comments… Leave a Review
  • Lisa October 31, 2022, 8:13 pm

    What an amazingly refreshing side dish!!! I made this today to go with baby back ribs and will definitely be making again! Hubby couldn’t stop raving about it either. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Heather Chaszar June 20, 2021, 10:29 am

    Thank you

  • Vera June 15, 2020, 1:05 pm

    I am a Slaw Snob and this was delicious and easy to make! It’s fresh, light and not weighed down with mayo. I had a small head of cabbage, so I adjusted the amount of the other ingredients to suit my tastes. It is key to allow the cabbage to be salted and drained before using – yes, it does keep it crunchy. I served it with some BBQ boneless short ribs. Would pair well with fish tacos or pulled pork tacos.

  • Pinkie Matshabane February 25, 2020, 8:21 pm

    Best site ever!!

  • Lori June 26, 2019, 6:31 pm

    Can I make this a day ahead of time or will it get too soggy?

    • Joanne June 27, 2019, 4:52 pm

      Hi Lori, Making this a day in advance should be fine.

  • june July 3, 2018, 10:39 am

    Thanks for the recipe that is mayo free. What can I substitute for cilantro? I do not like its taste.

    • Joanne October 24, 2018, 4:10 pm

      Parsley works, too. Or leave it out completely.

  • Cynthia October 1, 2017, 6:04 pm

    This was a hit! Really fresh & delicius! My Husband asked if I could make it again tomorrow.

  • Colleen July 13, 2017, 8:40 pm

    This looks fabulous and I am going to the market tomorrow for the cilantro. Always looking for an alternative to mayo during these hot days so this is def going into my rotation.

  • Jen @ My Healthy Homemade Life July 13, 2017, 6:20 pm

    This sounds delicious! I can’t wait to try it. I love that’s mayo free!


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