Want to bulk up and are looking for the best vegan foods for weight gain? With these 15 high-calorie picks, you will be satiated and nourished in no time.
Are you concerned that you cannot get enough calories on a plant-based diet? Well, if you mainly eat vegetables, that might be true.
But there are actually quite a few foods that are great for weight gain on a vegan diet and meeting your nutritional needs at the same time.
We recently shared our favorite tasty and healthy high-calorie vegan meals but wanted to provide you with a clear list of foods to eat if you have a fast metabolism or are very athletic.
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We’d love to help you make a vegan diet work for you, so enjoy the following list of energy-dense and (mostly) nutritious foods which can be added to your usual meals to bump up their calorie content.
Best Vegan Food for Weight Gain
If you’ve experienced unwanted weight loss on a vegan diet or have a small appetite, it’s important to understand which foods you need to focus on to maintain a healthy weight!
Be sure to add as many of the following as you can to your daily diet.
Nuts & Seeds
Tasty, crunchy and packed with nutrients: nuts and seeds are healthy vegan weight gain foods that you can add to so many dishes!
Start with a handful of walnuts or almonds in your oatmeal, top your salads with roasted pumpkin seeds and snack on trail mix or make coconut almond bliss balls.
If you want to, focus on nuts and seeds with higher omega-3 content, such as flax, chia or walnuts. Flaxseeds can be used in baking to replace eggs, added to smoothies or overnight oats!
Nut & Seed Butter
Who doesn’t love peanut butter? Nut and seed butters are tasty and versatile calorie-dense vegan foods that you can use in so many ways! Drizzle them over your oats or vegan bowls, make sauces or tasty garlic salad dressings.
Nut butters can be used to make bliss balls without a food processor, mixed into smoothies or simply as a dip for fruits and veggies.
Peanut butter is higher in protein and tahini (sesame butter) is higher in calcium and iron if you’re worried about any of these nutrients in particular.
From dates to figs, raisins, apricots or prunes — we love dried fruit! Similar to nuts and seeds, you can use them to top your oatmeal, smoothie bowls or salad.
Dried fruit offers extra vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but it is higher in sugars so don’t neglect dental hygiene after enjoying this high-calorie treat!
Avocados are like nature’s butter! Smooth, creamy, delicious and mild in flavor, you can spread them on your toast or use them for anything from sweet treats to green smoothies.
One avocado offers over 300 calories and lots of unsaturated fat as well as a range of micronutrients.
We love to top our veggie bowls with them, make avocado pesto or top our sandwiches and burgers with some smashed avocado!
If you enjoy Mediterranean food, load up on those olives! They offer up to 140 calories per 100 grams and are high in monounsaturated (health-promoting) fat.
Olives are also a good source of vitamin E, iron and calcium but you do need to watch out for high amounts of sodium when enjoying them!
Beans & Lentils
Legumes aren’t just one of the healthiest food groups out there, they are also packed with protein, fiber and a decent amount of calories.
One cup of cooked lentils provides 230 calories and one cup of cooked chickpeas offers around 270 calories.
Now, if you take your blender and puree chickpeas with tahini and olive oil into hummus, you can achieve a whopping 410 calories per cup.
Even if you’re not (yet) keen on beans and lentils, we’ve been sharing lots of delicious ways to enjoy these healthy foods on our blog and we’re positive you’ll love the recipes!
Protein-packed and low in carbs, tofu is one of the most versatile and high-calorie vegan foods! If you just shuddered at the thought of eating tofu, let us assure you that there are many delicious ways to enjoy this healthy food.
One cup comes to around 190 calories and 20 grams of plant-strong protein — plus, tofu is a great source of calcium and iron.
Other common ways to enjoy tofu on a high-calorie vegan diet include scrambled tofu, orange “chicken”, tofu nuggets or simply blended into smoothies.
Let’s move on to some healthy complex carbs! One of the best vegan foods for weight gain is oats. Not only are they naturally gluten-free and high in fiber, one cup offers 300 calories and keeps you nicely satiated.
Cook your oatmeal using soy milk or even coconut milk for some extra calories, add maple syrup or brown sugar, and top it with peanut or almond butter! Chopped nuts and dried fruit also make for great high-calorie toppings on your morning oats.
Load up on bread on a high-calorie vegan diet! Sure, there are differences when it comes to how healthy any specific type of bread is, but if you keep the added sugars and salt low and focus on whole grain bread with added seeds, you cannot go wrong.
Find our favorite vegan sandwiches here!
No matter if you prefer traditional pasta, whole grain, gluten-free or pasta made from legumes — they are all higher calorie food choices and super delicious.
Be sure to choose egg-free pasta or noodles and drown them in cashew cheese sauce to make vegan mac and cheese or enjoy some pesto pasta, pasta salad or baked pasta dishes. You can find all of our vegan pasta recipes here.
Serve your pasta alongside cooked veggies for some added color and essential nutrients but don’t let them take up too much room in your stomach if you want to gain weight!
Rice & Quinoa
Both of these gluten-free grains are satiating but have quite a different nutritional profile. While white rice is lower in fiber and protein, quinoa has more dietary fat and is high in protein!
We like to cook both of them at least once a week and serve with some veggies in a stir fry or a vegan bowl. If you’re dealing with poor appetite or early satiety, load up on these grains!
Feel free to choose from our favorite vegan quinoa recipes to get inspired.
Canned coconut milk packs 550 calories in one cup and consists of around 87% fat — most of which is saturated, so you probably shouldn’t overdo it.
Some of our favorite raw cakes are made with coconut milk which results in super creamy treats!
Oil & Spreads
Oils are known for their highest calorie content of all foods! Because they are pretty much 100% fat and don’t offer any fiber, just one tablespoon adds 120 calories to your meal.
While some oils should not be used for cooking and some are higher in saturated fats than others (check out this fantastic guide for more details on oils), you can make salad dressings or sauté your veggies with olive oil, make heavier sauces or use oil for baking muffins and more.
Similarly, vegan butter or plant-based spreads based on oil and legumes, are also high in calories and make for a quick and tasty meal or snack when combined with some crusty bread!
Syrup & Juice
Simple sugars found in agave, rice or maple syrup aren’t the healthiest foods but they provide around 240 calories per ¼ cup serving and can be used in combination with more nutritious foods to bump up your energy intake.
The same goes for plain white or brown sugar, by the way! Use it in your tea, top your oatmeal, bake some snack bars or add to savory sauces.
We decided to put fruit juice in the same category because of its lack of fiber and high amount of simple sugars. You can use it for sauces or baking, add to your smoothies or straight up drink it, which would be the most common way to consume juice.
Vegan Meat & Cheese
A lot of different foods can fall under this category, so let us explain. There are certain vegan meat substitutes that are lower in calories like mushrooms or jackfruit, but there are also those made from pea protein, seitan or textured vegetable protein.
Especially store-bought substitutes can be high in calories because of their added fat and sometimes also their breading. Try a few different brands to find your favorite go-to alternatives!
The same goes for cheese. While we do have a low-fat vegan cheese sauce on the blog, you can make your own vegan cheese with lots of nuts or go for store-bought brands which use coconut oil or vegetable oil.
Store-bought varieties are typically higher in calories and there are many delicious choices out there! Find some ideas in this awesome article on food52.
Tasty High-Calorie Vegan Recipes
Looking for more delicious high-calorie vegan recipes? Choose from our popular collections below and enjoy the food.
- 22+ Vegan Ice Cream Recipes
- 30+ High-Protein Vegan Snacks
- 22+ Recipes with Hummus
- 25 Plant-Based Smoothies
We hope you enjoyed this vegan food list! Share with us in the comments below how you achieved to gain weight and don’t forget to Pin this article here.