Do you share recipes in your family? I come from a pretty large family (I have three older siblings, and we are all married and have kids), and we’re all big fans of cooking and eating. And whenever we land on a delicious recipe, it normally ends up spreading through the family like wildfire. There are so many dishes in my recipe binder that come from my sisters’ and my Mama’s kitchens (and quite a few from my grandmother, who passed away a few years ago).

The sharing of family recipes is how I came into this Cuban Slaw recipe. It originally comes from the kitchen of my sister-in-law, who is a spectacular vegetarian cook (and has the most incredible cookbook collection I’ve ever seen). And she passed it along to my Mama, who told me it was an absolute must-try. Slaw recipes tend to be ho-hum, but there is something really incredible about this combination. It’s such a simple recipe, but the flavor is anything but simple.

Cuban Slaw

This slaw works as a side dish, but it really shines when you use it like a condiment. We ate it on top of chipotle-lime chicken thighs, and then the next night on top of burgers. I’d also imagine it would make one heck of a delicious filling for fish tacos (make some and then invite me over, k?). And the next time I make pulled barbecue, I’m going to whip up a batch of this slaw to go on top of the sandwiches.

Cuban Slaw

Of course, I couldn’t exactly follow the recipe from my sister-in-law’s kitchen. I’ve never met a recipe I could follow to a “T.” I did some tweaking to suit our tastes—adding a touch of sweetness to the dressing in the form of honey, and subbing out the white vinegar the recipe calls for with unfiltered apple cider vinegar (which is so delicious and so super-duper good for you). The original recipe also calls for 1-2 jalapeños, and I found that even one seeded jalapeño was a bit too spicy for our mild-loving taste buds. But that’s because we’re totally wimps when it comes to spiciness! I imagine for most folks, 1-2 peppers would be the perfect amount of kick.

I love that this recipe is both oil- and mayo-free. So often slaw is drowning in oily dressing, but this vinegar-based dressing is light and healthy—it really lets the flavor of the veggies shine through. And it keeps this side dish a light option for the late, crazy hot days of summer.

Cuban Slaw

You could definitely spend some time doctoring up this recipe more, but I recommend trying it straight-up first—you’ll be surprised by how intense and layered the flavors of this slaw are. Just make sure you don’t ignore the chilling time; it’s really important to get the flavors to meld!

I love simple recipes that don’t taste simple. Enjoy!

Cuban Slaw

Cuban Slaw

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes

This super healthy, bright and colorful Cuban Slaw is both oil- and mayo-free! But it's packed with layered, intense flavor.


  • 1 large head red cabbage, shredded
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, finely minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1/4 cup finely minced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup


  1. Toss together the cabbage, jalapeño, carrots and cilantro in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the salt, oregano, vinegar and maple syrup. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture, toss to coat.
  3. Chill for at least three hours before serving, preferably overnight.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 66Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1114mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 3g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. I had to leave a review when I saw this had a one star rating. I make this recipe on a VERY regular basis – it is a go to for a Cuban bowl and my husband and I both love it. Not sure how authentically Cuban it is (as one commenter noted), however it is an excellent recipe with bright, fresh flavor. Highly recommend with home cooked black beans, rice, avocado, fried plantains and Mojo sauce. 🙂

  2. Although the recipe sounds delicious, I am Cuban and have never eaten Jalapenos in any of our Cuban dishes. Somehow people think Cubans eat chili but we don’t. The spiciest ingredient is black pepper. You may want to call it Mexican Slaw. Being Cuban I see this misconception a lot.

  3. In your commentary you said honey but the recipe said maple syrup. Honey would be my preference, but was wondering if it was an intentional change

  4. Loving all the bright colours and fresh flavours of this slaw.. I definitely need to recreate the recipe!

  5. My little caribeña heart is going pitter patter over this. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thank you!

  6. How did you know I have a HUGE cabbage from the garden sitting on my counter waiting for this recipe?! Thanks!

  7. You can set feedly to open directly to the website when you click on the icon from your reader. It takes a little longer to load, but eliminates the need to hit more buttons. I only use this for blogs that are set up like this because of the load time.

  8. Hi BTHR – love love love your blog but I can no longer read full posts in Feedly 🙁

    I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not, but it case it’s not I wanted to let you know.

    I don’t hate clicking through, but I’ve become so accustomed to Feedly that it’s kind of annoying and then usually don’t end up reading the post at all. It just started with this or your last one, so maybe it’s something you can fix.