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  • Writer's pictureMai

Winter Orange Caprese Salad with Basil Oil

It’s a slightly sunny day in Chicago. A sunny day is desperately needed in the long winter months. Those who live in the Midwest know exactly what I mean. I made this winter citrus caprese salad, alternating layers of creamy mozzarella with all the beautiful oranges of the season, fresh basil if you find it, and a drizzle of basil oil.

Times are challenging and tough for so many. We are struggling to stay optimistic given the state of the pandemic, the economy, and the brutally cold winter. My father has been in the hospital due to covid complications for two months now. Despite my father’s situation, the distance between us, and covid restrictions, I have been finding myself exercising simple coping mechanisms that allow me to deal with my emotions in a more proactive way. I realized that the real difference between being optimistic and pessimistic isn’t in how we see situations that occur to us and around us. It is in how we cope with these events.

So, today, I saw the pile of winter oranges that are sitting on my counter as an opportunity. They are as beautiful as summer tomatoes in this caprese salad. The sun is shining bright, slightly melting the freezing snow outside. And when I opened the door, I heard the birds even chirping. They are either complaining about the cold or are just simply happy to be free. I am finally able to FaceTime my father (since he’s out of the ICU into a regular hospital room) to watch him eat Rukab ice cream in his hospital bed. Then, I watched him slowly fall asleep because eating a whole cone of ice cream is exhausting.

I am choosing to see signs of hope as opportunities despite this situation. My Dad is eating ice cream again, so this makes for a heck of a an awesome day.


Winter orange caprese salad with basil oil

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes


  • 3 to 4 various oranges (blood orange, Cara Cara etc) whatever you can find. sliced into thin slices about 1/4-inch thick

  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves

  • Flaky sea salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tbls basil olive oil or regular extra virgin olive oil. Or even 2 tbls of pesto is perfect here.


  • Arrange by alternating oranges and fresh mozzarella on a platter.

  • Scatter the basil leaves over the oranges and mozzarella.

  • Sprinkle with flaky salt and black pepper.

  • Drizzle with the basil olive oil over the oranges, mozzarella, and basil. Serve immediately.

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