No Mayo Southwest Coleslaw

Southwest Coleslaw with Passion Fruit Dressing is not your grandmother’s coleslaw… This no mayo slaw features thin-sliced Fresno or jalapeño pepper, cilantro, and scallions tossed with a zesty passion fruit dressing. Enjoy on its own as a side dish, on Tostones with Shrimp, Avocado, and Passion Fruit Slaw, or use this southwest coleslaw for tacos!

A round white ceramic bowl with Southwest Coleslaw on a light background with an aqua and white napkin and salad servers.

Coleslaw has lost its way. Relegated to a side dish, it is an afterthought and frequently forgotten until the very last moment of picnic, barbecue or beach blanket prep.


👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Coleslaw

Coleslaw has a history dating back centuries, although I would submit it isn’t a stellar history. Given that a required ingredient in traditional coleslaw recipes is mayonnaise, and mayonnaise originated in the 18th century, coleslaw has made an appearance on our tables for over 250 years.

My memories of coleslaw are completely underwhelming – the tub of grocery store vinegar and mayonnaise laden glop that is either too sweet or completely lacking flavor. Don’t even get me started on the texture… In all likelihood, someone picked it up on the way to the church potluck. LOL.

Let me ask you a question: Do you love it or tolerate it? Do you ever wish the restaurant offered a (completely) different side?

Coleslaw doesn’t have to be dripping and soggy from sitting in too much dressing, and it doesn’t benefit from age. That bowl of fresh veggies need to be dressed at the very last moment! If you’re taking it to a potluck, take the dressing in a separate container, and toss just prior to serving.

🥬What Makes a Good Coleslaw?

REALLY. FRESH. PRODUCE. And a variety of flavors and textures. Cabbage on its own doesn’t have a lot of flavor, but when fresh, it does have great texture. Adding shredded carrots, radicchio, chiffonade of fresh herbs, chopped scallions, etc. add much-needed flavor and texture to a bowl of coleslaw.

Next, consider the dressing. Exercise restraint is my #1 suggestion here. A lightly dressed coleslaw will stay fresh longer, and maintain its texture longer as well.

Coleslaw is a perfect vehicle for a unique and flavorful dressing like my Passion Fruit Dressing. It requires only a few pantry staples – good vinegar, olive oil mayonnaise, frozen passion fruit pulp, and agave nectar or other sweetener. It’s light on calories, and is so versatile!

Ingredients for Healthy Mexican Coleslaw with Passion Fruit Dressing: napa cabbage, cilantro, scallions, Fresno peppers, limes, shredded carrots, and Passion Fruit Dressing on a white cutting board with a knife. A quick and easy vegetarian salad!

Passion Fruit Dressing

  • frozen passion fruit pulp
  • lime juice
  • white vinegar (white wine or champagne)
  • agave nectar
  • olive oil mayonnaise
  • sea salt and pepper

Slaw Recipe

  • shredded napa cabbage
  • shredded carrots 
  • scallions
  • Fresno chiles
  • cilantro
  • Toasted pepitas and cilantro to garnish
All of the vegetables for my southwest coleslaw - cabbage, carrots, cilantro, scallions, cilantro, and Fresno chiles prepped and ready to be tossed with the Passion Fruit Dressing in a red bowl!

Make the Passion Fruit Dressing first. Simply combine all ingredients in a blender, and purée until smooth. Yes, doubling this recipe works, and you can look forward to using half of it another day. Yay! It’ll keep in the fridge for a few days…

Next, you’ll want to prep all the veggies. As I mention below, I am not opposed to using either pre-shredded carrots or cabbage when time is an issue. If you’ll be using this as a stand alone side, broccoli slaw is another great option!

Lastly, toss the slaw ingredients with the Passion Fruit Dressing, then garnish with optional toasted pepitas, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges!

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. This helps to offset the costs of maintaining my blog and creating awesome content! 😊

  • Pre-shredded cabbage and pre-shredded carrots are great time savers!
  • Fresno chiles are seasonal, and sometimes hard to find. Their slightly sweet heat is perfect. Substitute a red bell pepper, and add the heat with a dash of hot sauce in the dressing, or use a jalapeño or serrano.
  • If you’re using this dish as a side, broccoli slaw is another nice option. It’s a little sturdier than napa cabbage, and I wouldn’t necessarily use it in tacos. I do think it would be delicious as a side. The brand at my local HEB includes carrots, simplifying the process even further.

🍷 Pairing Suggestions

This Southwest Coleslaw pairs well with just about any dish that you might use plain ole slaw with – brisket, roasted chicken, pork chops, and anything on the grill. We love it on fish tacos too!

The idea for this coleslaw “with a twist” when I was working on my Tostones with Shrimp, Avocado, and Passion Fruit Slaw last month. I dressed just the shredded napa cabbage, some chopped cilantro and scallions to add a little crunchy texture and tropical flavor to the tostones. It accomplished what I set out to do, and the hubs and I decided it would make a really good stand-alone side dish!

The ultimate menu featuring recipes from Beyond Mere Sustenance (IMHO 😉) would include:

Note: When I make both of the Instant Pot recipes, I typically make a large batch and freeze for future use.

Including this healthy coleslaw in a taco is another excellent way to use it. Wrap some of that delicious Instant Pot Mexican Pulled Pork and the coleslaw in soft corn tortillas, and garnish with fresh cilantro, crumbled cotija, and a squeeze of lime. Delicioso!

A bowl of healthy no mayo coleslaw with  garnished with pepitas and lime wedges in a round white bowl with white salad servers and a print napkin.

We’re in the “dog days of summer,” and light dishes that don’t heat the kitchen up are not just appealing, they’re necessary! Healthy Mexican Coleslaw with Passion Fruit Dressing is so quick, easy, gluten free, vegan, and versatile! What are you waiting for?

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes.

Southwest Coleslaw with Passion Fruit Dressing

Southwest Coleslaw with Passion Fruit Dressing is not your grandmother's coleslaw… This one features napa cabbage, shredded carrots, thin-sliced Fresno pepper, cilantro, and scallions in a zesty passion fruit dressing. Enjoy on its own as a side dish or as a unique taco topping!
5 from 1 vote

Click to rate!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Salads
Cuisine Mexican/Southwest
Servings 4 servings
Calories 66 kcal


Passion Fruit Dressing

  • ¼ cup frozen passion fruit pulp
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoons white vinegar - white wine or champagne
  • 1 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt - or to taste

Slaw Recipe

  • 4 cups shredded napa cabbage - see notes
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 3 scallions - chopped
  • 1-2 Fresno chiles - sliced thin or minced
  • ½ to 1 cup cilantro - chopped
  • Toasted pepitas and chopped cilantro to garnish


  • Make the dressing – Add all dressing ingredients to a blender. Pulse until smooth. Don’t forget to check seasoning!
  • Prep the ingredients – As I mentioned, I am not opposed to using either pre-shredded carrots or cabbage when time is an issue. If you’ll be using this as a stand alone side, broccoli slaw is another great option! Don’t forget to toast pepitas and chop cilantro for garnish!
  • Make the salad – Add all slaw ingredients to a large salad bowl or container. Toss with dressing (sparingly). If taking the coleslaw to a picnic. Take the dressing in a separate container and toss just before serving to preserve the texture.


We prefer milder napa cabbage to regular cabbage, but the choice is yours.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 66kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 324mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions:

Share this post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I’m seeing a lot of recipes with passion fruit, something I’ve never worked with. Lot of inspiration on this visit to your cocina. I make a lot of coleslaws during the summer and fall. This one looks like a great one to try. And I especially love your use of Napa cabbage. Thanks!