Low Carb Fish Tacos with Jalapeno-Lime Slaw

By Laura Mack
May 20, 2016

Low Carb Fish Tacos with Jalapeno-Lime Slaw — Mexican-seasoned tilapia fillets pan-seared until golden, tucked into lettuce leaves, and topped with a tangy, crunchy cabbage slaw. Enjoy these fish tacos as is, or spice them up with your favorite toppings, such as avocado, sour cream, salsa, and cilantro or green onions. Who doesn’t love a 20-minute meal that’s great for a weeknight or casual entertaining?!

These Low Carb Fish Tacos are so loaded with flavor and color that it’s hard to believe they’re super quick and easy. The Jalapeno-Lime Slaw is a great addition to the fish tacos, but it’s a bonafide side dish on its own. It’s perfect with any Mexican-inspired meal, or even alongside my low carb Oven-Barbecued Baby Back Ribs. It makes a terrific potluck dish as well.

The slaw comes together in 15 minutes, less if you use packaged coleslaw mix. The fish fillets take just 5 minutes to cook. Add a few minutes to gather your favorite toppings, and it’s fiesta time! The slaw can be made a day ahead; it becomes a little limp, but still crunchy, and more flavorful as it marinates.

One of my husband’s favorite condiments is pickled sliced jalapenos. Dale particularly likes Mezzetta brand “tamed” jalapeno peppers, and our kitchen is never without them. I don’t care for too much spice, so these peppers are just right for me. I use a couple of tablespoons of minced peppers in the slaw, plus a tablespoon of the brine. If you like it spicier, you could use regular pickled jalapenos. If extra mild is your preference, you could substitute canned diced mild green chiles and add an extra tablespoon of lime juice in lieu of the jalapeno brine.

The fresh lime flavor is truly the star of the slaw. I use the zest of one lime, as well as the juice. It adds an extra flavor dimension that I simply love.

For the fish fillets, any flaky white fish will do. I usually choose tilapia or cod. To season the fish fillets, I use my Mexican Seasoning Blend. It’s always on hand, and I like the depth of flavor it adds. Chili powder, ground cumin, salt, and pepper make a quick substitute for the blend.

One of the best parts of any kind of taco is the toppings. Of course, the Jalapeno-Lime Slaw rocks. I don’t usually stop there, however. Some of my favorites include avocado slices (or guacamole), salsa, sour cream, green onions, and extra lime. If you like cilantro, it would be a great addition here as well. The fish tacos with slaw are only 3 net carbs per serving, so you’ll probably have room in your carb budget for extra toppings.

These Low Carb Fish Tacos with Jalapeno-Lime Slaw, plus tasty toppings, are a filling meal on their own, but you could add a side dish of my yummy Mexi-Cauli Rice if you’d like. If you have non-low-carbers at your table, you might also serve soft corn tortillas and refried beans. It’s fun to set up the toppings taco bar style and let everyone make their own.

You don’t have to wait until Taco Tuesday — these fish tacos are great any day of the week!

Low Carb Fish Tacos with Jalapeno-Lime Slaw

Author: Laura Mack
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time:  15 mins
Cook time:  5 mins
Total time:  20 mins
Serves: 4

Print the Recipe

Mexican-seasoned tilapia fillets pan-seared until golden, tucked into lettuce leaves and topped with a tangy, crunchy cabbage slaw. Enjoy these fish tacos as is, or spice them up with your favorite toppings, such as avocado, sour cream, salsa, and cilantro or green onions. You'll need only half the slaw for the tacos; the rest will make a great side dish for the next day's lunch or dinner.


Jalapeno-Lime Slaw

3 ounces / ⅓ cup mayonnaise

zest and juice of 1 small lime (about 1 tablespoon juice)

1 ounce / 2 tablespoons mild pickled jalapenos, minced, more or less to taste

1 tablespoon mild pickled jalapeno brine (can substitute lime juice or white vinegar)

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 pound / 4 cups shredded cabbage (can substitute coleslaw mix)

½ medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

2 stalks green onion, sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, optional

salt and ground black pepper, to taste


1 pound tilapia fillets (or other white, flaky fish such as cod)

1 tablespoon Mexican Seasoning Blend*

2 tablespoons avocado oil

8 large lettuce leaves

Suggested garnishes: lime wedges, avocado, sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro

*For the seasoning blend, you may substitute 1½ tsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp fine sea salt, and ¼ tsp ground black pepper (mixed together).


  1. Place mayonnaise, lime zest and juice, minced jalapenos, jalapeno brine, cumin, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Add cabbage, bell peppers, green onions, and chopped cilantro, if using. Toss to combine and adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to a day ahead. The longer it marinates, the limper and more flavorful it will get.
  2. Pat tilapia fillets with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Don't skip this step or your fish will steam and you won't get that lovely golden sear. Sprinkle both sides of each fillet with Mexican Seasoning Blend (it contains salt and pepper, so no additional seasoning should be necessary).
  3. Heat oil in 12" skillet over high heat until shimmering. Gently lower fillets (skin side up) into the hot oil mixture. Leave undisturbed for 2 minutes. Carefully turn fillets with thin spatula and cook until fish just flakes in the middle, about 1-2 additional minutes. This is based on thin fillets; cooking time will increase with thicker fillets.
  4. Remove fish from pan and divide among lettuce leaves. Using half of the slaw, top the fillets, along with your choice of optional garnishes. The remaining slaw can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.


Nutritional info*:

  • Per Serving: 258 cal, 16.2 g total fat (56%), 5.4g total carbs, 2.2 g fiber, 3.3 g net carbs, and 24 g protein.
  • Fish only: 164 cal, 3 g total fat (56%), 0 g total carbs, 0 g fiber, 0 g net carbs, and 22.6 g protein.
  • Slaw only (1/8): 84 cal, 7.2 g total fat (77%), 4.7 g total carbs, 1.8 g fiber, 2.9 g net carbs, and 0.9 g protein.

*I use Living Cookbook 2015, along with package information and data from www.nutritiondata.self.com, to calculate the nutritional information for my recipes. Thus, I can make no guarantees as to the accuracy.

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