15 Best High Calorie Vegan Foods
What are the best high calorie vegan foods? There are so many to choose from, but this article dives into some of our favorites. These foods are jam packed with calories to help you gain weight as a vegan.
Vegan Weight Gain Diet
At The Geriatric Dietitian we talk a lot about high calorie foods to promote weight gain. Many of the foods or recipes we cover include dairy – especially our High Calorie Shakes e-Cookbook. While these foods are great high calorie options, not everyone eats animal products.
I wanted to make sure adequate information is provided for a vegan weight gain diet. This way, no one who needs to gain weight is left out when it comes to high calorie food recommendations.
Why Would You Need to Gain Weight as a Vegan?
But in a nutshell, stopping unintended weight loss and promoting healthy weight gain is important for maintaining health and independence.
The way to gain weight as a vegan is to eat more calories. Foods high in fat have the most calories per volume of food. Many of our top high calorie vegan foods are high in heart healthy fats!
15 Best High Calorie Vegan Foods
Here are our top picks for high calorie vegan foods! Please read the nutrition facts label for the foods you are consuming, as the individual calorie count may vary by product. These high calorie vegan foods are listed in no particular order.
|Food||Serving Size||Calories Per Serving|
|Walnuts, chopped||¼ cup||191 calories|
|Peanut butter||2 Tbsp||188 calories|
|Avocado||1 cup||240 calories|
|Dried plums||½ cup||209 calories|
|Coconut cream||½ cup||240 calories|
|Vegetable oil spread||2 Tbsp||164 calories|
|Soy milk||1 cup||131 calories|
|Olive oil||2 Tbsp||238 calories|
|Rice, white, cooked||1 cup||206 calories|
|Quinoa, cooked||1 cup||222 calories|
|Potato, baked||1 medium||163 calories|
|Flax seed, ground||¼ cup||148 calories|
|Agave||¼ cup||240 calories|
|Dates||½ cup||207 calories|
|Pumpkin Seeds||½ cup||142 calories|
Walnuts are a great high calorie food! Not only are they jam packed with calories, but they are a great source of heart healthy omega-3 fats. Walnuts can be eaten as a snack, or added to other foods such as oatmeal, salads, or any dish really! Walnuts provide approximately 191 calories in ¼ cup serving.
If you have an allergy to walnuts, you can swap walnuts with any other type of nuts. Nuts are all generally high in calories. For those with difficulty swallowing, nuts can be ground into a powder and incorporated into other dishes.
Peanut butter is a staple in many households. It can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, toast, ice-cream, shakes, fruit, or even just eaten with a spoon! Peanut butter provides approximately 188 calories in a 2 Tbsp serving. There are 16 Tbsp in a cup… so you can do the math if you provide more!
If you are allergic to peanuts, swap peanut butter for any other type of nut butter. Almond butter or cashew butter are some classic favorites. Seed butters like sunflower seed butter can also be used as a substitute.
Avocados are an excellent source of calories and heart healthy monounsaturated fats. They are versatile in their use and can be added to any dish or incorporated into smoothies. Or you can simply cut them in half and eat them with a spoon! Topping with spices or herbs can add a fun touch to a plain avocado.
Avocados provide approximately 240 calories in a 1 cup serving.
Dried plums (also referred to as prunes) provide approximately 209 calories per ½ cup serving and are an excellent source of fiber.
If you do not like prunes, you can swap out any other dried fruit option. The key feature of dried fruit is that when the water is gone, you are getting more of the fruit per volume. It would take you a long time to eat several pieces of fruit, but a few pieces of dried fruit can be eaten pretty quickly!
Coconut cream is a canned coconut variety that provides approximately 240 calories per ½ cup serving. While coconut is high in calories, coconut cream can be a little easier to incorporate coconut into other foods.
Coconut cream can be added to oatmeal, soups, entrees, smoothies, and even desserts. Any version of coconut can be added to pack in some extra calories to a high calorie vegan meal.
Vegetable Oil Spreads
Vegetable oil spreads are made from plant-based oils like soy, peanut, corn, safflower seed, etc. They are meant to replace butter and/or solid margarine. A classic example of a vegetable oil spread is Smart Balance. Smart Balance provides approximately 164 calories in a 2 Tbsp serving.
When purchasing vegetable oil spreads, make sure to avoid products that use the word “light.” This means less calories and we want the most calories we can get!
High calorie drinks are a great option to add more calories to the diet. There are many types of plant-based milk alternatives. They vary in calorie count significantly between types of milks. Soy milk and oat milk are some of the highest calorie plant-based milk options.
Soy milk provides approximately 131 calories per 1 cup serving. This is compared to 37 calories per cup of unsweetened almond milk. Always be sure to read the nutrition facts label for calorie content.
Plant based oils are a great way to add extra calories into the diet. A classic favorite is olive oil due to its high heart healthy fat content. Olive oil provides approximately 238 calories per 2 Tbsp serving.
Olive oil can be used when cooking vegetables or other foods in a frying pan. It can be added to sauces, noodle dishes, or even salads. Other vegetable oils can be substituted for olive oil including canola oil, corn oil, peanut oil, avocado oil, etc.
Rice is a great option to add up on calories. It can be served as a side dish or incorporated into an entrée. We even have a delicious rice dessert recipe included at the end of this article!
Rice provides approximately 206 calories per cup. White rice is lower in fiber than brown rice. But the benefit of this is you don’t get as full as fast… and poor appetite and early satiety (feeling full) can be a struggle with those trying to gain weight.
Quinoa provides approximately 222 calories per 1 cup serving. It has a little more dietary fat than most grains which gives it an extra punch of calories. And as far as grains go, it’s pretty high in protein! A one cup serving has around 4.4 grams of protein.
Quinoa can be added to salads, soups, as a side dish, or even as part of an entrée.
A medium potato provides approximately 163 calories. Potatoes can be served as a side dish or in soup or incorporated into an entrée. Whole, mashed, shredded, or diced… there are many ways to serve a potato.
Adding extra vegetable oil spreads to potatoes makes them higher in calories in extra tasty. Check out our high calorie vegan mashed potato recipe towards the end of this article!
Flax seed is high in heart health omega-3 fats. Ground flax seed provides 148 calories in a ¼ cup serving. Ground flax seed can be added to baked goods, hot cereals, soups, or even smoothies!
Flax seed is also a good source of fiber to aid in bowel health, blood sugar control, and heart health. This is a great add in to most any dish!
Sweets are high in calories and can add an extra boost of tastiness to a dish. Agave provides approximately 240 calories per ¼ cup serving. It can be added to hot tea to increase calories and fluid intake.
Agave can also be easily added to desserts, hot cereal, smoothies, or even in entrée dishes.
Dates are super sweet and delicious. In addition to being high in calories they have fiber, potassium, and iron. Dates provide approximately 207 calories per ½ cup serving. This is approximately 10 dates.
Dates can be eaten as a snack or diced and added into dishes such as oatmeal, smoothies, desserts, or entrees. Check out our high calorie vegan oatmeal recipe towards the end of this article!
Seeds, like nuts, are high in heart health fats. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds provide approximately 142 calories per ½ cup serving. They can be eaten as a snack, mixed in with entrees, topped on salads, or added to a hot cereal.
Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seed butter are other great alternatives to pumpkin seeds.
High Calorie Smoothies for Vegan Weight Gain
Another great option for high calorie vegan foods are weight gain smoothies! High calorie smoothies for weight gain can easily include plant-based options and be high in calories.
Check out our high calorie vegan Green Smoothie recipe below!
High Calorie Vegan Recipes
Hopefully some of the foods listed above inspired you for some great high calorie vegan meal ideas! If you need some more specific ideas, here are some fun high calorie vegan recipes:
High Calorie Vegan Mashed Potatoes
- 1 ½ medium potatoes, baked
- 3 Tbsp Smart Balance
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ Tbsp. chives, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to flavor
- Add all ingredients except chives to a medium bowl
- Mash with a potato masher or hand mixer until well mixed
- Top with chives and serve
Pro Tip: Top with mushroom gravy for even more calories!
Estimated Calories: 490 calories
High Calorie Vegan Oatmeal
- 1 cup cooked oatmeal
- 2 Tbsp soy milk
- 1 Tbsp Smart Balance
- ¼ cup dates, chopped
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
- 2 Tbsp agave
- Add cooked oatmeal to bowl
- Stir in soy milk and Smart Balance
- Top with dates and walnuts
- Drizzle with agave and serve
Estimated Calories: 608 calories
High Calorie Vegan Mango Coconut Sticky Rice
- 1 cup cooked white rice
- ½ cup coconut cream
- ½ mango, diced
- 1 Tbsp agave
- Add cooked rice and coconut cream to bowl, stir well
- Add rice mixture to a serving dish
- Top with diced mango
- Drizzle with agave
Estimated Calories: 610 calories
High Calorie Vegan Green Smoothie
- 1 medium avocado
- 1 cup pineapple
- ½ medium apple
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup apple juice
- Add all ingredients to blender.
- Blend until smooth.
Estimated Calories: 515
I hope that this article gives you some great ideas to get started for providing high calorie foods to those who follow a vegan diet. These foods are great for everyone in need of some extra calories. Be sure to eat three or more meals per day with high calories drinks and snacks served in between meals.
To learn more about how to gain weight, check out our Weight Gaining SECRETS e-book!
Wishing you all the best!
Calorie counts came from: FoodData Central. USDA website. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/. Accessed May 6, 2020.
(Feel free to use this infographic; please link back to this post and give credit to The Geriatric Dietitian!)