High Calorie Vegan Food: Hype or Helpful?

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Are you trying to eat plant based but struggle to keep weight on?

Is getting enough calories an uphill battle especially since you’re avoiding meat?

Which plant based foods are highest in calories anyway and are they good for you? 

In this article, we let you in on some high calorie vegan food secrets.

For a healthy weight gain, find out which ones are best for you and how you can easily add them to your meals. 

Also, learn how to make them using our delicious high calorie vegan food recipes.

Come along, let’s make vegan food fun again!

This post may contain affiliate links so we can keep providing high-quality content at no cost to you.

What Is High Calorie Food?

High-calorie foods, or calorie dense foods have a high number of calories per gram.

Traditionally, they include fatty meats, high fat dairy products like whole milk, fast food, sugary drinks, and desserts.

Strategies to increase calorie intake include things such as adding full fat dairy products to pasta.

However, high calorie food can be high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and other chemicals that aren’t good for you. 

Who Needs High Calorie Foods?

High-calorie foods are meant for people who need to increase their daily calorie intake.

Typically, athletes, those who struggle with weight loss, or people undergoing cancer treatment use a weight gain diet.

And, if you want high protein low calorie foods vegan style, make substitutions for leaner foods so you can follow along.

Is High Calorie Health Food Better?

High calorie health food are healthy, calorie-dense foods such as nuts, avocado, and quinoa.

Eating a healthy calorie dense plant based diet can provide extra calories and ensure you get enough grams of protein.

Thus, high-calorie healthy eating can support your needs, take care of your health, and result in a healthy weight gain. 

What Is a Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet is based on eating foods that aren’t sourced from animals and how strict you are is up to you.

Examples of vegan foods include fruit, soybeans, whole grain bread, seeds, beans, dairy products, and meat alternatives.  

Thus, it’s different from a plant based vegetarian diet that may include eggs, fish, or even lean chicken.

Who Needs High-Calorie Vegan Food?

Plant based foods are lean in nature, and it can be difficult to get enough calories and gain weight on a vegan diet.

Thus, knowing how to transform a plant-based meal into a high-calorie dish can make all the difference.

Calorie dense vegan foods are meant for people who eat plant-based and fight weight loss.

So, for those looking for low calorie high protein vegan foods to lose weight, swap the heavier foods for leaner.

But, if you’re in for gaining weight the healthy way, the following suggestions might be for you.

Best High Calorie Vegan Foods

The best high calorie vegan food is the one you eat routinely.

Meaning, start with a high-calorie boost, then eat a variety of foods every 3-4 hours, ending with a night-time snack.

That way you can get the most nutrition and an adequate calorie intake.

Next, choose from the high calorie vegan food lists below and combine them to your taste.

High Calorie Vegan Food You Should Avoid

As with most other diets, certain high-calorie vegan foods are better left alone.

The aptly named vegan junk food has been shown to lack essential amino acids and iron.

Examples include mass-produced pastry-type to-go foods that are high in fillers, salt, and artificial additives.

Generally, they’re also more inflammatory, and lower in nutrients and fiber.

High Calorie Vegan Food List

Plant-based foods are the masters of heart disease, stroke, and cancer prevention. 

They’re anti-inflammatory, support the immune system, and promote bone and gut health.

And, they help control weight and blood sugars and help repair and build muscle.

The tables below list nutritious high-calorie fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk and meat alternatives, nuts, seeds, and fats.

Overall, the highest calorie vegan foods are buckwheat groats, the Naked Vegan Weight Gainer, couscous, muesli, and granola.

To combine them into meal plans:


Fruits are strong health promoter and vital in any plant-based diet.

And that’s because they’re packed with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds.

Dried fruit is more calorie dense than fresh fruit, because of the high sugar content.

And, figs and dates are the most calorie dense dried fruits (Table 1).

Pro Tip!

It’s best to balance the sugar out with fiber and protein if you’re eating more than ¼ cup serving of dried fruit.

Also, it’s best to mix it up and add low-calorie dense foods to get the most health benefits.

Meaning, also eat fruits like berries, oranges, and peaches.

Table 1. High-Calorie Fruits.

Figs½ cup dried371 kcal
Dates5 each333 kcal
Apricots1 cup dried313 kcal
Coconut Meat½ cup dried264 kcal
Raisins½ cup239 kcal
Passion Fruit1 cup229 kcal
Mango½ cup dried225 kcal
Pomegranate1 fruit208 kcal
Bananas1 cup mashed200 kcal
100% Grape Juice1 cup152 kcal
Pears1 large131 kcal
Apples1 large116 kcal
Prunes6 prunes115 kcal
Grapes1 cup104 kcal


Vegetables come in all shapes and sizes, and, yes, high-calorie vegetables for weight gain do exist (Table 2).

Just like fruit, they’re the masters of health promotion because of their nutrient content.

Beans, sweet potatoes, and avocado have the most calories.

While lower-calorie veggies like leafy greens and mushrooms also need to be part of your meal plan.

Table 2. High Calorie Vegetables.

Soybeans1 cup roasted418 kcal
Chickpeas1 cup canned240 kcal
Lentils1 cup cooked230 kcal
Kidney Beans1 cup cooked225 kcal
Navy Beans1 cup canned220 kcal
Black Beans1 cup canned200 kcal
Sweet Potatoes1 cup mashed249 kcal
Acorn Squash1 cup cubed115 kcal
Pumpkin1 cup canned83 kcal
Butternut Squash1 cup cubed82 kcal
Avocado1 med fresh240 kcal
Artichoke Hearts1 cup89 kcal
Quinoa1 cup222 kcal
Plantains1 cup215 kcal
Russet Potatoes1 med164 kcal
Yams1 cup cubed155 kcal
Corn1 cup143 kcal
Green Peas1 cup135 kcal
Parsnips1 cup sliced110 kcal
Broccoli1 stalk, 11-in98 kcal

Whole Grains

Whole grains are exceptional cancer fighters that are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds.

They can be eaten cooked or uncooked and pair well with fruit, berries, and yogurt, as well as vegetables and beans (Table 3). 

Again, remember to also mix in lower-calorie grains such as barley, whole grain bread, and purple and wild rice

Table 3. High-Calorie Whole Grains.

Buckwheat Groats1 cup640 kcal
Whole Wheat Pearl Couscous1 cup600 kcal
Bob’s Old Mill Muesli1 cup560 kcal
Granola1 cup520 kcal
Amaranth1 cup502 kcal
Bagel1 bagel346 kcal
Rolled Oats1 cup uncooked280 kcal
Teff1 cup255 kcal
Brown Rice1 cup248 kcal
Whole Wheat Pasta1 cup225 kcal
Grains are cooked unless otherwise noted.

Milk and Meat Alternatives

Milk and meat are traditionally eaten in most diets because of their protein and calcium content.

Thus, for normalcy, we included some healthy brand high-calorie alternatives (Tables 4-5).

The brands represent a trusted source of minimally processed highly nutritious food.

To eat them, fry tofu in a pan in some vegan butter, add mozzarella to a tomato and basil salad, and make chili from the crumble.

Furthermore, vegan foods can be low in essential amino acids, making it hard to get enough vegan protein and grow muscle.

For that reason, we added a high-calorie vegan protein powder and bars selection (Table 6).

Table 4. Milk and Meat Alternatives.

So Delicious PB Brownie Ice Cream1 cup495 kcal
Nasoya Super Firm Organic Tofu6 oz260 kcal
Miyoko’s Organic Cashew Mozzarella4 oz240 kcal
Kite Hill Greek-style yogurt1 cup210 kcal
Dream Organic rice milk1 cup120 kcal

Table 5. Prepared Foods.

Field Roast Frankfurters2 links380 kcal
Field Roast Plant-Based Roast1/8 roast340 kcal
Franklin Farms 5-Grain Tempeh2/3 block340 kcal
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Crumble1 cup260 kcal
Field Roast Mushroom Deli Slices6 slices240 kcal

Table 6. Protein Supplements.

Naked Protein Powder Weight Gainer2 scoops615 kcal
Kate Farms Standard 1.4 Shake*1 shake455 kcal
OWYN Complete Nutrition Shakes1 carton250 kcal
NuGo Organic Vegan Protein Bars1 bar200 kcal
*Plant-based, not vegan.

Nuts, Seeds & Fats

Nuts, seeds, and extra virgin olive oil are calorie dense foods high in healthy monounsaturated fats.

The healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients, make them superb heart disease and cancer fighters.

To eat them:

  • Snack straight from the source
  • Put on top of salads
  • Spread nut butters such as peanut butter on toast or vegetables
  • Add 2 tbsp of flax and chia seeds to cereal for 200 calories and a gut boost

As with all other foods, always try to vary your intake (Table 7).

Although nut butter is common, seed butters such as sunflower or pumpkin may be harder to find.

And, when it comes to oils, the best ones are extra virgin olive oil and expeller-pressed canola oil (Table 8).

In a nutshell, their oils are extracted without heat or chemicals, which retain flavor and nutrients.

Lastly, canned coconut milk and coconut oil are high in saturated fat.

So even though coconut is included and can be healthy, don’t use it every day.

Table 7. Nuts, Nut Butters, and Seeds.

Macadamia Nuts½ cup481 kcal
Hazelnuts½ cup whole424 kcal
Almonds½ cup whole414 kcal
Peanuts½ cup raw414 kcal
Sunflower Seeds½ cup409 kcal
Walnuts½ cup pieces393 kcal
Almond Butter4 tbsp385 kcal
Peanut Butter4 tbsp smooth385 kcal
Cashews½ cup379 kcal
Pecans½ cup chopped377 kcal
Pumpkin Seeds½ cup360 kcal
Pistachio Nuts 352 kcal

Table 8. Fats.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil3 tbsp360 kcal
Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil3 tbsp360 kcal
Coconut Milk or Oil3 tbsp360 kcal
Vegan Butter3 tbsp300 kcal
Tahini3 tbsp267 kcal

4000 Calorie Vegan Diet

4,000 calories per day would be considered extreme for most people and too much for the digestive organs to handle.

However, if you’re an endurance athlete or are losing weight with cancer treatments, you may need a weight gain diet.

Certainly, you may question the feasibility of vegan weight gain and using a vegetarian diet to gain weight and muscle.

Nevertheless, the components are there.

Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based protein powder provide carbohydrates and proteins.

They’re then used for fuel, to replenish your liver and muscle glycogen stores, and to build muscle.

Muscle and liver glycogen is the body’s way of storing carbohydrates for future needs.

Thus, eating enough carbohydrates is important to be able to keep those stores in prime condition.

So, for those who are looking for high-calorie vegan food, here’s a healthy example of a 4,500 calorie vegan diet.

You’ll also find a 3,000-calorie vegetarian meal plan attached further down this article.

Or, briefly, 4,000 calories might look something like this:





  • Whole Wheat Bagel with Peanut Butter
  • Dried Mango

High Calorie Vegan Food Recipes

Vegan recipes are a dime a dozen on the internet these days.

And you can easily get inspiration for vegan meal ideas and high calorie snacks online.

But when it comes to high calorie vegan recipes, what’s better than smoothies for weight gain?

Our simple smoothie recipes provide up to 1,000 calories per serving, so enjoy!

Heads up, not all are vegan recipes, so for those that aren’t, just substitute for the same vegan ingredient.

Next, we’ll highlight hummus from our extraordinary experience at the famous Cordon Bleu in London.

And since we love flavor, this adaption of the basic hummus recipe, with tahini and spices, is right down our aisle.  

For those excited about recipe rating recipe rating recipe rating…drop us a comment!

Answers About High Calorie Vegetarian Foods

Some of your high calorie vegan food Reddit questions surround being a vegetarian.

So, we’ll add some thoughts to that discussion.

Firstly, the vegan foods listed above are also appropriate for someone looking for high calorie vegetarian food.

Secondly, vegetarians who eat plant-based foods are generally less strict than vegans.

Thus, some may eat eggs, milk, whey protein, and fish, whereas others don’t.

So, as a vegetarian, you have more choices than a vegan making it easier to snack, eat out, and travel.

Lastly, being a vegan hasn’t been proven to be any healthier for you than being a vegetarian.

Therefore, based on your question of how to gain weight as a vegetarian woman or man:

  1. Use the plant based food lists above
  2. Add lower-calorie cancer-fighting foods
  3. Find high calorie vegetarian foods recipes
  4. Write out and prep your meals

To help you out, here’s our example of a vegetarian weight gain diet plan PDF.

Final Thoughts

High calorie vegan food is for people who need to increase their daily calorie intake.

Typically, athletes and those who are losing weight or are undergoing medical treatments use it.

High calorie health food includes foods such as nuts, avocado, and quinoa.

By varying your plant based diet, you can ensure you get enough calories, protein, and nutrients.

Thus, high-calorie healthy eating can support your needs, take care of your health, and result in healthy weight gain. 

And when it comes to it, a plant-based diet is easier to maintain and probably healthier than a vegan.


This high calories vegan foods article is for information only. It’s not nutrition or medical advice, or an individualized meal plan. See your healthcare provider for your specific situation. 

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