My wife has recently decided not to eat meat, so we have been substituting black beans for ground beef in some of our favorite dishes. This has worked fine so far, but I am not sure about making this substitution in cheeseburger pie. The recipe calls for browned beef with sauteed pepper and onions, tomato sauce, breadcrumbs, and some spices to be baked in a pie shell with a cheese topping. Simple and delicious.
So far, we have simply done a pound-for-pound replacement of ground beef with beans. But I worry that mashed beans (as we have done in the past for meatball substitutes) will yield a pie that is too dry and dense while un-mashed beans will not be cohesive enough to be served as a pie (like a pie shell filled with bean salad). Should I mash some beans while leaving others whole? Any other suggestions for a vegetarian cheeseburger pie?