Quick Citrusy Cabbage Slaw (Mayo-Free)

Jump to Recipe
Bowl of our Quick Citrusy Cabbage Slaw recipe

If you tried our Beet Relish recipe, you’d know our fondness for the flavors in this Latin-inspired Roasted Plantain Black Bean Bowl, which is 100% inspired by the vegan bowl at Teote in Portland, Oregon. 

Picture this: a bowl of fluffy rice, smoky black beans, citrusy beet relish, guacamole, fried plantains (have mercy), crunchy cabbage slaw, and an arepa on the side. If that’s not heaven in a bowl, I don’t know what is.

Well, the last missing element of this glorious bowl was the cabbage slaw. And by reverse engineering the flavors, I think I got it down.

Friends, say hello to the slaw of your dreams. It’s crunchy, fresh, and light, comes together in 15 minutes, is mayo-free (hip hip!), and is incredibly versatile. Put it on our plantain black bean bowl, Buddha bowls, “pulled pork” sandwich, tacos, salads, and more!

Sea salt, olive oil, lime, red onion, cabbage, carrot, spices, and maple syrup

How to Cut Cabbage for Slaw

Depending on the equipment you have available, there are two options for chopping the cabbage.

Either way, you’ll first remove any wilted outer leaves. Then use a large, sharp knife to slice the cabbage in half through the core. Cut each half again so there are four chunks of cabbage. Next, slice off the white core.

  1. If using a knife, place the flat edge of the cabbage on the cutting board. Use your non-dominant hand to stabilize the cabbage while thinly slicing the it using your dominant hand.
  2. For more thinly sliced cabbage, you can use a mandolin (we didn’t find it necessary). Adjust blade to desired thickness (based on personal preference). Secure cabbage with the safety guard and slide along the blade to shred. For added safety, you can wear cut-resistant, food grade kitchen gloves.

Once the cabbage is chopped, you’ll massage it to help it soften. The thinner the cabbage is chopped, the less massaging is needed for tender slaw.

Bowl of chopped vegetables, lime zest, and spices

Perhaps my favorite part about this salad — aside from how quick and easy it is to prepare — are the FLAVORS.

Lime juice and zest add brightness and acidity, cumin powder adds smokiness, maple syrup a touch of sweetness, garlic powder a hint of garlic, and salt rounds everything out.

The result is a refreshingly delicious, smoky, tangy slaw that’s perfect for adding to just about any dish!

Massaging cabbage for tender Cabbage Slaw

We hope you LOVE this cabbage slaw! It’s:

Quick & easy
& Versatile!

Using a spoon to stir a bowl of Quick Citrusy Cabbage Slaw

More Cabbage Slaw Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Bowl of roasted plantains, beet relish, cabbage slaw, hot sauce, arepa, guacamole, beans, and rice

Quick Citrusy Cabbage Slaw (Mayo-Free)

A quick, light, refreshing cabbage slaw that’s mayo-free! Thinly sliced cabbage is tossed with carrots, onion, smoky cumin and garlic, and lime juice and zest. Ready in 15 minutes!
Author Minimalist Baker
Vintage spoon in a bowl of mayo-free Citrusy Cabbage Slaw
4.80 from 15 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 (~1-cup servings)
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Latin-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-4 Days


  • 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 4 cups shredded / thinly sliced red cabbage (or sub other type of cabbage // we measured slightly heaped cups)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped / shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red or white onion
  • 1 ½ Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil (if oil-free, omit)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

FOR SERVING optional

  • Freshly chopped cilantro


  • Start by washing, drying, and zesting your lime with a microplane grater. One lime should yield about 1/2-1 tsp zest. Set aside.
  • To a large mixing bowl add finely shredded or sliced cabbage, chopped or shredded carrots, diced onion, lime juice, lime zest, ground cumin, garlic powder, olive oil (if oil-free, omit), maple syrup, and salt.
  • Use clean hands to massage for ~2 minutes (this is the best way to ensure the cabbage starts to soften and the flavors meld).
  • Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more lime juice for acidity, lime zest for bright citrus flavor, maple syrup for sweetness, salt to taste, garlic powder for garlic flavor, or cumin for smokiness. Optionally, garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.
  • Serve immediately, or cover and store in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days (not freezer friendly). This is the perfect addition to salads, sandwiches, and bowl meals, or to enjoy as a simple snack or salad on its own!



*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
*Inspired by the vegan bowl at Teote in Portland, OR.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 cup Calories: 63 Carbohydrates: 12.6 g Protein: 1.8 g Fat: 1.4 g Saturated Fat: 0.2 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.22 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.87 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 332 mg Potassium: 335 mg Fiber: 2.9 g Sugar: 6.5 g Vitamin A: 4445 IU Vitamin C: 55.47 mg Calcium: 58.07 mg Iron: 1.02 mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @minimalistbaker on Instagram and hashtag it #minimalistbaker so we can see all the deliciousness!

If you love this recipe...

Get Our Fan Favorites eBook Here!

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment & Rating!

Have a question? Use ctrl+f or ⌘+f on your computer or the "find on page" function on your phone browser to search existing comments! Need help? Check out this tutorial!

My Rating:

  1. Sabrina says

    From someone who’s not big on cabbage or cumin, this recipe is delicious! I didn’t have lime zest, so I used lemon and it was so good. I really loved how the flavours were so balanced and I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

  2. Bern says

    This is a delicious salad. I made it as it is written and wished I added more lime zest and juice. Next time I make it (and there will be a next time) I will increase the lime juice and cut back the cumin from 1/2 tsp to 1/4 tsp (my teenage daughter’s recommendation).

  3. Karen says

    I stopped searching other recipe sites and go straight to yours! Everything I’ve prepared from your site has been over-the-top delicious. This simple recipe is no exception! I’m in Ohio and winter has decided to return. So instead of my usual run to the store, I did a clean-out-the-fridge meal. I found a bag of broccoli slaw that I needed to use. I substituted the broccoli slaw for cabbage and doubled the lime juice and lime zest. . .WOW! This was the perfect addition to a bowl of roasted sweet potatoes and red peppers, black beans, Mexican corn, and diced mango.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, we’re so glad you enjoy our recipes, Karen! That bowl sounds amazing! Thank you so much for sharing! xo

  4. Cassidy says

    Super quick and cheap. I used Penzeys Southwest seasoning instead of the various seasonings recommended. We will be putting this on our veggie tacos tonight and topping salads with it. I even had a little bowl for a snack right after I made it. Would also be great for a potluck considering how easy and budget friendly it is.

  5. Kristen says

    Yum! This is a beautiful salad—be sure to double if you’re feeding a group because it shrinks a lot. I didn’t have any red or white onions, so I used the white ends of some green onions and it’s still delicious.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yum! Thanks so much for the great review and for sharing your modifications, Kristen!

  6. Heather says

    We loved this salad! Beautiful colour and the flavours are bright. We used it for fish tacos – yum. The only thing I would change next time is to substitute honey for the maple syrup as I’m non-vegan and only really like maple syrup on my pancakes :)

  7. Samantha says

    This was very quick to assemble and the flavors were great alongside the Black Bean Plantain bowls that the MB team has created. Highly recommend getting in there with your hands as the instructions specify to massage the ingredients and seasonings. Can’t wait to have leftovers tonight!

  8. Ali says

    Hello! I wanna try this recipe, but i really don’t like raw onions at all and I’m very sensitive to the flavor, is the taste of it too strong? should I omit it all together? or would something milder like green onions or even chives work as well?
    Love the blog!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ali! Green onions or chives would be nice here! Or you can omit if you want to. Let us know how it goes!

  9. CMT says

    Surprisingly delicious! And, super fast and easy because I used preshredded green and red cabbage and carrots (Whole Foods organic coleslaw mix). Otherwise, made exactly as recipe states. Forgot to serve with cilantro (even though had some on hand) and we all loved it! Thank you for a quick, delicious and healthy recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Julia, sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it! Is it possible your spices weren’t fresh? If you want more sweetness, you could add a fruit like mango. Hope that helps!

  10. Nate Thompson says

    I had limited ingredients on hand so I used part of a red beat for color, used a turnip instead of carrots, and regular cabbage. I added a bit too much cumin by accident and had to use lemon juice instead of lime. I also used honey instead of maple syrup. But it turned out really well! I also added toasted sunflower seeds for protein. Thanks for the inspiration. Nice to see a salad option that doesn’t require mayo.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ooo – sounds delish! Thanks for the great review and for sharing your modifications, Nate!

  11. Sabine says

    Loved this! Had to use lemon instead of lime and added some rice vinegar for an extra punch. I served it with miso halibut, brown rice, and seaweed wraps.

  12. AJ says

    Thank you for such a useful recipe! Do you think I could use kale instead of cabbage? I can’t find any recipes for kale salad without tahini, nuts or oil.

  13. Tari says

    Delicious. Made last night for your Black Bean Plantain Bowl. Used part red and part green cabbage. I did skip the massaging step and it was still very good. Thanks for linking it to the bowl recipe.

  14. Jane says

    This recipe was fresh and delicious – and it was made with ingredients I already had on hand. I can’t wait to try it in combination with some of the other recipes suggested for a tasty salad bowl.

  15. VICKY says

    Ok this was surprisingly good! I made it right before dinner and it was good. But next day it was next level! Much more juicy and all flavors blended perfectly. So I recommend making it ahead of time for some special occasion. Im glad a made a big batch, I can eat so much of this!

  16. Kayla says

    Yum!! I made this with dinner tonight and it was wonderful! I used green cabbage because it’s what I had, still delicious! Tomorrow I plan to use this in some shrimp tacos.
    Thank you!

  17. JoAnne says

    Thank you for offering your precious time to share this recipe. I had all the ingredients and made this for lunch. In addition to the listed ingredients I added walnuts, pumpkin seeds, orange pieces and dried cranberries.

    Oh my goodness, it was so delicious.

    Keep creating and God Bless you for sharing.

  18. nina from so cal says

    Sounds refreshing. Want to try it. Want to add pepitas to it.
    Thank you for your hard work to give others your recipes and help us all to live a little bit (actually massively more) healthier !