The Secret Ingredient (Chipotle) Part 1: Red Hot Chipotle Slaw

RECIPE: Chipotle Slaw
Chipotle Slaw

Chipotle Slaw Tacos

I am having an addiction problem with this slaw. I just can’t get enough.

I’m already a sucker for any kind of Tex-Mex or California slaw. The stuff that’s piled on fish tacos. But this one is smoky, and super spicy. Chipotle peppers, this month’s secret ingredient (I don’t think I’ve EVER been so excited for a secret ingredient), are smoked jalapeños. The way I usually find them, and use them, is packed in a can with adobo, a sauce made from tomatoes, onion, vinegar, paprika, and garlic. The chiles and the sauce are both smoky, deep, rust red, and intensely flavorful. They have that zing from the vinegar in the adobo, the smokiness of the pepper, the richness of paprika and tomato. It’s one-stop shopping.

For this recipe, I took the inspiration of fish taco slaw, and turned up every dial. Starting with purple cabbage, I added fresh cilantro and scallions for freshness and crunch. Lime juice for a tart shot. And most importantly, both fresh jalapeños, and the chipotles with their adobo. The mixture of smoked and fresh chilies make this slaw complexly spicy, and the adobo just makes the whole thing taste south of the border. I serve this slaw instead of cole slaw, piled onto a fish sandwich, or by itself, in warm corn tortillas, as fresh, vegetarian tacos. Delicious.

Excerpted from my weekly column The Secret Ingredient at Serious Eats.  Click HERE for this post.

Chipotle Slaw
serves 6 to 8


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 4 chipotle peppers, finely diced

  • 2 teaspoons adobo, from the chipotle can

  • Pinch of sugar

  • Kosher salt to taste

  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

  • 1 red cabbage, finely shredded

  • 6 thin scallions, finely sliced on the diagonal

  • 2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeño (about 1)

  • 6 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro


In a very large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, chipotle peppers, adobo, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the cabbage, scallions, jalapeño, and cilantro, and toss to combine. Either serve right away, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Recipes, Salad, Series, Sides, Soup & Salad, The Secret Ingredient, Vegetables

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