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Quick and easy pickled cabbage for tacos and wraps

Quick and easy pickled cabbage, with jalapeño pepper and cilantro, kicks up your fish or chicken tacos.

The summer of 2016 might go down as the hottest summer on record, but in my kitchen, it will be known forever as The Summer of Pickles. If I laid all of the dill pickles I've made end-to-end, they'd probably reach all the way down the block! Alas, I can't do that, because I've eaten every one of them. 

This summer I've been making quick pickles from carrots and green beans, too. And today it's cabbage -- actually store-bought cole slaw mix -- given a quick pickling in a vinegar brine, then tossed with jalapeño pepper and cilantro, perfect for topping fish, shrimp, or chicken tacos. The cabbage stays crunchy and tart if eaten on the day it's made, but leave it overnight in the refrigerator and it mellows into a salad you can mix with a can of tuna for a light and healthy lunch.

Wraps and tacos love this pickled cabbage (and it's great in tuna salad, too).

Quick and easy pickled cabbage for tacos and wraps {vegan, gluten-free}

From the pantry, you'll need: white vinegar, granulated sugar, kosher salt, jalapeño pepper, cilantro

Makes 3 cups.


14 oz bag of cole slaw mix (or 14 oz thinly shredded green or red cabbage)
1/2 small red bell pepper, diced
2/3 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 to 1-1/2 tsp minced jalapeño pepper
1 Tbsp minced scallion
2 Tbsp roughly chopped cilantro


Rinse and drain the cole slaw mix, and add to a large mixing bowl. Toss in the bell pepper. Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, bring the vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil. Swirl the pan a few times to dissolve the sugar, and pour the hot liquid over the cabbage mix. Stir a few times.

Add the jalapeño, scallion and cilantro to the bowl, and toss again. 

Let the bowl sit on the counter for 1 hour, stirring frequently, until cool. Use a fine-mesh sieve to drain any liquid from the bowl that hasn't been absorbed by the cabbage.

Transfer the cabbage to a container, and refrigerate.

Serve cold, on top of chicken or fish tacos.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More cabbage slaws:
Smoky spicy cole slaw, from The Perfect Pantry
Quick and easy Asian pickled cole slaw, from The Perfect Pantry
Tahini cabbage slaw, from Naturally Ella
Red cabbage slaw with tangy carrot ginger dressing, from Nom Nom Paleo

Quick and easy pickled cabbage, with jalapeño peppers and cilantro, is the topping you'll want for your fish tacos and wraps. #vegan #glutenfree

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


This recipe sounds quick and easy. Most of the time we are adding Korean Panch'an (spelled in English; Banchan) to our meals or Japanese Tsukemono which is vegetable side dishes that are mostly pickled or spiced up like Kimchi). In Hawaii instead of jalapeño pepper we would add Hawaiian red Birds Eye peppers which are up in class with African Birds Eye peppers. I will have to try this recipe! BTW; Hawaii has never in history recorded temperatures higher than 95 F degrees due to constant cooling trade winds blowing east to west. Our summer is March to October and winter is November to April as we only have two seasons making it easy on wardrobes because winter nights do not go below 60 F degrees.

Ken, be careful adding those very hot peppers, as you don't want to overpower the other flavors in this dish!

It does sound delicious! I would love this cabbage on fish tacos.

Kalyn, this is perfect for fish tacos!

This one's on my to-do list, but a series of links led me to your po'boy recipe, which I worked into a remoulade coleslaw -- good!

Susan, that sounds like fun! This slaw is definitely spicier.

Amazing Dropped a few chilli flakes in, Instead of the pepper, taste sensation, Big Thanx TTP

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