I was experimenting with a pasta topper when I found that equal parts of walnuts (earthy), almonds (sweet), and cashews (sweet) made a great combination flavor. On their own, the mixture is quite dry though.
The first time around for this particular recipe, I added an equal amount of pine nuts. What they basically add is oil, and an equal amount was far too much oil.
If you can't do nuts, substitute sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. I'll post a recipe using those another time that will have a different slant on this.
I'm not certain at this point if the spices play that big of a role just yet. The thyme, basil, and oregano below are optional. The onion is required for it's moisture content as well as flavor. If you prefer a spicier flavor, try a hotter onion.
Equipment Needed: 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, 1 teaspoon, food processor or Vita-Mix with the dry container, large mixing bowl, large spoon, small spoon, candy molds, cookie sheet (frying this as ground meat or burgers is also an option - more on that at the end)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 small red onion
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
Blend in the Vita-Mix or food processor, and refrigerate for ~4 hours.
Grind the following in the food processor or Vita-Mix. Coarse ground is fine. You might notice a few pieces of nuts that don't get ground and that's okay.
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup walnuts
1 cup cashews
1 cup almonds or almond meal
Place ground nuts in the mixing bowl. Add the refrigerated mixture. Mix well with the large spoon or whatever works best for you.
Turn on the oven to 350 degrees to pre-heat while finishing. Spread thin layer of olive oil inside rectangular candy molds. Using the small spoon, fill the molds and tamp down. Fills ~40 molds.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Now this part can be tricky and is optional: Flip the molds onto a cookie sheet and remove the molds. When flipping, some of the molds may empty prematurely. This can cause the sliders to not land on the cookie sheets, or to only stay there momentarily before they slide off the side. If you choose to leave them in the molds, that's fine.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Baking in candy molds creates a finger food that can be dipped in a sauce or covered in your favorite condiment. The longer they bake, the more dry they'll get. The candy molds can be plain, or you can get the ones that are particular shapes like flowers, stars, dinosaurs, etc. (Thanks for that idea, Jane!)
If you decide not to bake this and instead make ground 'meat', it's a sticky recipe and will mold to whatever shape you like. I used olive oil in a cast iron pan to fry this as a ground pasta topping. I haven't tried to cook it as a burger yet. That's the next experiment.