This Southwestern Coleslaw offers a delicious and healthy departure from traditional coleslaw, infusing Tex-Mex flavors into a super refreshing side dish.
With crunchy cabbage, summer corn and a little heat from jalapeño peppers, it’s that perfect sweet and savory bite.
And the avocado-based dressing is so creamy without having any mayo or dairy products.
Summer barbecue season is coming, and there’s going to be a lot of potato salad and pasta salad in our future. Arm yourself with this great side dish that’s also wickedly healthy and you’ll be good to go.
Serve it at home, bring it with you to parties, and feel really good about what you’re putting in your body.
What you’ll need to make Southwestern Coleslaw
Nine simple ingredients is all you’ll need to make this creamy coleslaw recipe. And that includes the dressing! Here’s the full rundown:
- green cabbage
- red cabbage (some call it purple cabbage)
- jalapeño peppers
- fresh lemon juice
- extra virgin olive oil
How to make Southwestern Coleslaw
There are only 2 steps to making this slaw recipe: the veggies and the dressing.
Make the slaw
I am a masochist, so I shred my own cabbage by hand when I’m making this coleslaw. I slice it thinly with a very sharp knife, and then cut the longer shreds in half.
You can save a lot of prep time by using the grater attachment on a food processor. Even easier, buy a pre-cut bag of coleslaw mix. Then, all that’s left to do is dice the jalapeños and scallions.
Make the dressing
Making the avocado dressing takes literally seconds. Throw everything into a food processor (or a powerful blender, if you have one) and process until smooth.
Now, just pour the dressing over the slaw ingredients and fold everything together. Done and done!
What to serve with Southwestern Coleslaw
This Southwest Coleslaw is a versatile side dish that pairs well with a variety of main courses. Its fresh and vibrant flavors make a great complement for your favorite Mexican, Tex-Mex and barbecue dishes. Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy this healthy slaw:
- Serve it in a large salad bowl alongside grilled chicken or steak fajitas
- Top your fish tacos with this slaw, or serve it on the side
- Pile it onto barbecued pulled pork or pulled chicken sandwiches
- Scoop it up with homemade tortilla chips
- Use it as a topping on a flavorful Tex-Mex bowl
Variations and Modifications for Southwestern Coleslaw
This recipe is intended to be minimalist and clean-tasting. If you want to amp up the Southwestern flavors and vary the textures, here are some fun ideas:
- Stir in a diced red bell pepper, black beans or chopped fresh cilantro
- Add some different flavors to the dressing with a teaspoon of cumin and/or chili powder
- Swap out the lemon juice for fresh lime juice
- For a spicy coleslaw, add sprinkle of crushed red pepper to raise the heat
How long does coleslaw last?
Coleslaw can last for several days if properly stored in the refrigerator. Typically, coleslaw can maintain its quality for up to three to five days when stored in an airtight container.
Be sure to start with the freshest ingredients possible to maximize the life of your slaw.
Is coleslaw gluten free?
In most cases, coleslaw is gluten free. Always make sure to read the labels if you’re buying premade coleslaw at the grocery store.
This Southwest Coleslaw recipe is not only gluten free but it’s also dairy free and vegan. It’s also low carb and rich in healthy fats from the avocado and extra virgin olive oil. So go ahead and grab that second helping!
Can you make this Southwest Coleslaw ahead of time?
Coleslaw is one of those side dishes that actually tastes better after it sits for a while. If you make this Southwestern Coleslaw ahead of time and give it a few hours in the fridge, the dressing will naturally soften the cabbage without taking away its crunch. Also, the flavors of the dressing will have a chance to harmonize.
So this slaw is a great make-ahead option for backyard barbecues and potlucks.
When you make this Southwestern Coleslaw recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a rating or leave a comment below. Enjoy!
For more healthy side dish recipes, try these:
- Easy and Delicious Mexican Rice Recipe (Gluten Free)
- Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad with Ginger & Garlic
- Easy Black Bean & Corn Salad
Healthy Southwestern Coleslaw Recipe (No Mayo)
- The Slaw
- 1/2 head shredded green cabbage (8-9 cups coleslaw mix)
- 1/2 head shredded red cabbage (6-7 cups)
- 3 cups corn kernels
- 1/3 cup jalapeño peppers seeded and diced
- 1 cup scallions (green onions) diced
- The Dressing
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- Toss cabbage, corn, jalapeno peppers and scallions together in a large bowl.
- Puree all dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pour dressing over slaw and mix to combine.
- Store in an airtight container overnight or for several hours before serving.