notes from the mexican kitchen
Mexican Weekend/

Picnic-Perfect Napa Cabbage Salad Tacos

Mexican_lightblueLogo_POST_170x177-copyTypically, I like to populate our Mexican Weekend feature with recipes requiring just a little extra effort, like, say, grill-roasted ancho pork shoulder, seared scallops in tomatillo-olive sauce or red chile short rib soup.

But we’re throwing that formula out the window this weekend.

This weekend, it’s all about simplicity.

We’ll find it in this unexpected, wonderfully delicious Napa cabbage salad.

It starts with thinly sliced cabbage and chicken (a good rotisserie bird does the job), then veers into a creamy, tangy territory with the addition of mayonnaise and briny jalapeños, carrots and onions in escabeche.

Think of it like the best chicken salad you’ve ever had, with the added bonus of making it into tacos.

I envision this dish as the perfect addition to a picnic or lazy weekend gathering, but I’m curious to know: where will you serve it?



  • 1/2 medium head Napa cabbage (12 to 14 ounces)
  • 2 cups coarsley shredded, boned, skinned rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked chicken
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 12-ounce can pickled whole jalapeños en escabeche
  • 3 to 4tablespoons loosely packed fresh cilantro
  • Salt
  • 16 corn tortillas


Thinly slice the cabbage (you can do this with a knife, food processor or mandolin) and place in a large mixing bowl.  Add chicken and mayonnaise.  Remove 3 to 4 jalapeňos from the can, slice into rings, and add to bowl.  Remove the onions and carrots from the can and chop into ¼ inch pieces (you'll have about 1/4 cup). Add to cabbage mixture along with 3 tablespoons of the canning liquid. Add the cilantro, stir everything together, taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon.

Wrap tortillas in damp paper towel and place in an unsealed ziplock bag.  Microwave at 100% for 1 minute, then let sit 1 minute before serving.

Immediately spoon about 1/3 cup of the cabbage mixture into warm tortillas and serve.

Cook's notes: This dish can also be made with Brussels sprouts. Here's the recipe for that version. 



  1. Worth a try for a quick meal! The Mexican-flavored chicken salad makes a simple and scrumptious taco filling, especially when the tortillas are warm. I’d opt for Brussels instead of napa cabbage, as the cabbage quickly lost its crunch.

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