Crispy Mayo Free Pineapple Slaw (for Tacos or BBQ)

Up close shot of pineapple slaw with jalapeno, red onion and cilantro on white spoon spatula with bowl of slaw in background on wooden counter
Posted On: April 1, 2023
Last updated: October 13th, 2023

This flavorful slaw is so good on seafood or even jackfruit tacos! Even if you don’t eat vegan, it’s a fresh, delicious change from just shredded lettuce for elevated tacos. You will not miss the cream in this mayo-free pineapple slaw once you taste the crispy cabbage with the sweet pineapple and a touch of heat in your tacos or sandwich.

Up close shot of full ceramic bowl of pineapple slaw with jalapeno, red onion and cilantro with white spoon inside slaw

What’s the difference between Slaw & Coleslaw?

There really isn’t much difference, but if you must be picky, coleslaw usually refers to the creamy cabbage shredded salad you know from BBQ’s and diners with some variations, but the main ingredient is the cabbage.  The word “cole” in coleslaw is apparently derived from “cole crops” of cabbage and “koolsla” is Dutch for “cabbage salad.” Americans adapted coleslaw from an original cabbage salad made in the Netherlands.

A “slaw” can be a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables shredded in place of the green cabbage; i.e. carrot slaw, broccoli slaw, and such.

Up close shot of slaw on fish tacos with avocado on corn tortillas and plue plate
Fish Tacos with Pineapple Slaw

How to make Pineapple Slaw

You can make this delicious slaw in just a few simple steps. If you want to make it even easier, you can use coleslaw mix from the salad department of your store, but I prefer to shred my own cabbage. I can’t guarantee the crispiness of the store-bought.

4 photos in collage showing steps to make pineapple slaw

The Key to Making Slaw stay Crispy

The first thing you need to do to ensure it stays crispy is to salt and drain the cabbage. Add the shredded cabbage to a colander, sprinkle with a tablespoon of kosher salt, mix it up with your hands so it well distributed and let drain over the sink for 1 hour, then rinse it off and proceed making your slaw.

Chop & Prep Dressing

While your cabbage is draining, go ahead and prep your dressing, red onion, cilantro and jalapeno.

Dress & Refrigerate

Once the cabbage is done being prepped, go ahead and add it to a medium bowl, along with the remaining ingredients with dressing, mix it up and either enjoy it immediately or refrigerate till ready to serve.

Mayo Free Pineapple slaw on Pulled pork sandwiches
Pulled Pork Sandwich with No Mayo Pineapple Slaw

How else can I serve Pineapple Slaw?

Besides this slaw being spectacular on Vegetarian or Vegan Tacos, it’s a match made in heaven for Fish Tacos. Also, if you’re a meat-eater, this is a great slaw for pork or chicken, tacos or sandwiches. We also enjoy it on pulled pork sandwiches for an extra little sweet crunch. If you’re not picky about eating a traditional coleslaw with a creamy dressing, you can absolutely enjoy this as a side dish. If you want a savory tropical twist on your next hot dog, try this slaw on it! It’ll be a delicious twist to standard summer cookout hot dogs.

Mayo Free Pineapple Slaw Ingredients on wooden tray: pineapple tidbits, red and green cabbage, red onion, jalapeno, green onion, cilantro, pineapple juice, lime juice, salt, pepper, agave syrup

Mayo Free Pineapple Slaw Ingredients

  • Cabbage– Shredded Green Cabbage, red cabbage or mixed. I like to add a little red for color. You can use a bagged mix if you prefer.
  • Agave Syrup– I use agave, in this case, to keep the recipe vegan, but you can substitute it for honey if you prefer or you can add a little brown sugar to your lime and pineapple juices and then stir that in.
  • Pineapple– You can use fresh, juicy pineapple chunks if you like, just chop them up real small. I use canned pineapple tidbits for this, just for ease. Also, reserve just 1 tablespoon of the juice.
  • Jalapeno– I love a little heat added to this slightly sweet slaw, but make sure you discard the seeds unless you want it to have more spice.
  • Onion– Just like the purple cabbage, I use red onion for color. If you don’t have red onion, a thinly sliced sweet onion would be the best alternative.
  • Green Onion– If you don’t have green onion, it’s fine as long as you still have some red or sweet onion. Once again, I love it for added color, besides just flavor.
  • Cilantro– Freshly chopped cilantro leaves.
  • Lime Juice– If you don’t have lime juice, you can use lemon juice or a little apple cider vinegar. As long as you have a little acid added to the slaw.
  • Salt & Pepper– For the salt, I use coarse kosher salt to help drain the cabbage and I use fine ground sea salt and fine ground pepper for the slaw dressing.
Fish tacos with pineapple slaw on blue with lime wedge
Fish Tacos with No Mayo Pineapple Slaw

Some Great Additions

I personally like this recipe kept as a simple slaw, but if you’re wanting more, here are some suggestions:

  • Plain Yogurt– If you absolutely need a creamy coleslaw, but want to keep it healthy, add some whole milk Greek yogurt to the mix to cream it up.
  • Sesame Seeds– If you want to add a little subtle nutty taste, these are your guys. A little toasted would give it a nuttier taste too.
  • Macadamia Nuts– Since this slaw already has a Hawaiian coleslaw kind of vibe to it, these nuts, chopped up would give it a crunchy kick!
BBQ sandwich with pineapple slaw on black plate with red napkin and glass behind.

You might enjoy these Recipes as well!

Up close shot of full ceramic bowl of pineapple slaw with jalapeno, red onion and cilantro with white spoon inside slaw

Mayo Free Pineapple Slaw (Vegan-Great for Tacos)

This flavorful slaw is amazing on seafood, tacos or really anything needing a crunchy sweet fruity addition. Give it a try on your next pulled pork sandwiches to bring their flavor to the next level!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Salad, Side
Cuisine American
Servings 20
Calories 30 kcal


  • 1 1/2 lb. cabbage -green or mixed with red finely shredded (About 1/2 medium cabbage head total)
  • 1 Tbsp. Coarse Kosher Salt for Prepping Cabbage
  • 1 Tbsp. Agave syrup
  • 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits in juice drained (reserving 1 Tbsp juice)
  • 1 Jalapeno de-stemmed and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion sliced into very thin quarter rounds
  • 1/4 cup green onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. pineapple juice from pineapple can
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • Do this step if you have time & want really crispy slaw!  You can skip this step if you're short on time, but your slaw will be soggy after a while. 
    Place shredded cabbage in colander and add 1 Tbsp. of kosher salt, mix it up well, and allow to drain into the sink for 1 hr.  After that hour, rinse the cabbage so you don't have overly salty slaw.  
  • While the cabbage is draining you can prep the remaining ingredients; add reserved pineapple juice, lime juice, salt and pepper to small bowl and stir.  Chop and slice red onion, green onion, cilantro and jalapeno. 
  • Once the cabbage is done draining and rinsed, add all of the ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and stir well to fully combine.
  • Enjoy immediately or keep chilled in the refrigerator till ready to serve. 


Keep this slaw refrigerated and enjoy within 3-5 days. (If you followed Step #1, the salt & drain step, it will remain very crispy for these days)
Enjoy this slaw on tacos; vegan or seafood, pulled pork or by itself.  It's also great as a Vegan BBQ side or on pulled pork or chicken. 

Nutrition Disclaimer:

The nutritional information provided is only an estimate based on a third party nutritional plugin. Different online calculators may give different results depending on their own sources. The estimates may also change based on the ingredients you use. If you have dietary restrictions and need to accurately calculate the nutrition of this recipe, Whole Made Living recommends consulting a professional nutritionist.


Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 30kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 351mgPotassium: 104mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 82IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword BBQ, Cabbage, low carb, Salad, side dish, Slaw, tacos, Vegan, vegetarian
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