Serves: 6-8Total time: 15 min prep / 1 hour to cook[ratings]

We’ve been out camping almost every weekend lately, and this past weekend was no exception. We taught a campfire cooking class to a small group of new friends and made this now famous Albondigas Soup.

Food is usually tricky on our weekend trips. Different friends show up at different times throughout the weekend, so most expect to just cook for themselves. We have food all over the place, all the time. We still end up sharing a lot of it, so we finally thought to change the process last week. Everyone was responsible for one complete meal. Each meal was easy, and everyone only had to be responsible for one meal’s worth of prep and cleanup. And it was BYO plates and sporks. I was in charge of a camping dinner, which I was able to prepare almost completely at home, and just reheat in a dutch oven over the campfire. On a cold night under the stars, there’s nothing better than a hearty soup like this albondigas.

This soup is hearty, but ends with a burst of zippy freshness from lime and cilantro. Spicy chipotle keeps your belly warm long after your bowl has been inhaled. Crispy chips and melty meatballs help complete a truly perfect balance of flavor and texture. I really love this soup.

You can make this soup at camp, but I recommend preparing it at home sometime during the week, and finishing it off in a dutch oven the night you arrive. We like to make open-faced quesadillas to go with the soup. Go ahead and fry them cheese-side down. My method: lay the cheese in the pan first, then top it with a tortilla. Flip once the cheese is crispy. These aren’t as pretty as you’ll want them to be, but they are extremely tasty, and act as a sort of handheld crouton. This is a great recipe to share, so plan an adventure with your friends soon!

Dirty Gourmet is three women—Aimee Trudeau, Emily Nielson, and Mai-Yan Kwan—who came together after a bike tour across Canada. They put together a big variety of camp meals, many of which can be found in their cookbook of the same name, with lots of different cultural and taste influences.


2 tablespoons olive oil 2 potatoes, chopped 1 zucchini, chopped 1 bell pepper, chopped 1 white onion, diced 1 can diced tomatoes 1 cup rice, uncooked 2-3 chipotles in adobo sauce, minced 4-5 extra spoonfuls of adobo sauce from the can 1 teaspoon taco seasoning 1 package Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs, or your favorite meatball recipe salt and pepper, to taste 6 cups water 2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon 1 bunch cilantro, minced limes, quartered


1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. 2. Add zucchini, potatoes, bell pepper, and tomatoes. Add chipotles in adobo and saute, about 5 more minutes. 3. Add taco seasoning, salt and pepper, and cook about 30 more seconds. 4. Add water, bouillon, and rice, and bring to a boil. 5. Once boiling, turn down to simmer, and let cook until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. 6. Add meatballs and cook through about 15 minutes. *Our meatballs were pre-cooked and vegetarian, so we saved them aside until reheating the soup at camp.

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