15 High Calorie Vegetables for Fast Weight Gain

Gaining weight requires that consistently consume more calories than your body needs.

You can do this by centering your meals and snacks around high-calorie foods like nuts and nut butters, grains, whole-fat dairy products, and oils.

But that doesn’t mean you should skip the vegetables, many of which are low in calories, since they’re a significant source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Therefore, you may wonder which vegetables are the most calorie-dense so you that you can get the beneficial nutrients that they provide will also achieving your weight gain goals.

This article lists the top 15 high calorie vegetables for weight gain and provides tips on how you can enjoy them.

high calorie vegetables for weight gian

1. Avocado

While technically a fruit, avocados are commonly classified as a vegetable.

They are the most calorie-rich vegetable on this list, providing calories primarily from healthy monounsaturated fats.

Avocados are excellent sources of potassium and vitamins C, E, K, and several B vitamins.

One medium-sized avocado (150 grams) provides (1):

  • Calories: 240
  • Fat: 22 grams
  • Carbs: 13 grams
  • Fiber: 10 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams

Avocados are great by themselves but there are countless ways to add them to your diet in other ways.

Ways to enjoy an avocado for weight gain:

  • in smoothies
  • spread over toast
  • in scrambled eggs

2. Russet potatoes

Many people don’t view russet or white potatoes as healthy since they’re commonly used to make french fries and potato chips.

Contrary to this belief, russet potatoes are very nutritious and a relatively inexpensive food for weight gain.

They are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and several B vitamins.

One medium-sized (230-gram) russet potato provides (1):

  • Calories: 217
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 49 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams

Like avocados, russet potatoes are versatile and easy to incorporate in your diet.

Ways to enjoy a russet potato for weight gain:

  • boil, mash them, and add butter
  • dice, drizzle with olive oil, and roast them
  • cut wedges and air fry them in olive oil

3. Sweet potatoes

Like russet potatoes, sweet potatoes are a starchy root vegetable.

Although sweet potatoes are often touted as being healthier than white potatoes, they are comparable in their calorie, protein, and carb content.

Where they differ, however, is their content of potassium and vitamin A.

Russet potatoes provide more potassium, whereas sweet potatoes are very high in vitamin A.

One medium-sized (235-gram) sweet potato provides (1):

  • Calories: 212
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 48 grams
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams

You can enjoy a sweet potatoes in the same ways that you can a russet potato.

Ways to enjoy a russet potato for weight gain:

  • boil, mash them, add butter, and sprinkle with brown sugar
  • dice, drizzle with olive oil, and roast them
  • cut wedges and air fry them in olive oil

4. Soybeans

Soybeans are a member of the pea or legume family.

Like avocados, they are rich in fat, making them a great source of calories.

Soybeans are also packed with high-quality protein and are a good source of iron, magnesium, and various B vitamins.

What’s more, soybeans are the most protein-packed vegetable on this list.

Although soy is commonly believed to lower testosterone and increase estrogen levels in men or increase breast cancer risk in women, there’s no strong or consistent evidence to support these claims (2, 3).

One half-cup (93 grams) of cooked soybeans provides (1):

  • Calories: 202
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Protein: 16 grams

You can buy canned or dry soybeans. Many foods are also made from soybeans, including tofu, tempeh, and edamame.

Ways to enjoy soybeans for weight gain:

  • add to soups and casseroles
  • eat them right out of the can or heated
  • sprinkle canned soybeans with salt and roast them

5. Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a good high calorie, low fat food.

They provide a decent source of protein, and are a good source of zinc, copper, vitamin B6, and folate.

One 1/2 cup (90 grams) of cooked chickpeas provides (1):

  • Calories: 131
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Carbs: 20 grams
  • Fiber: 7 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams

You can incorporate chickpeas in your diet in similar ways that you can soybeans.

Ways to enjoy chickpeas for weight gain:

  • add to soups and stews
  • make homemade hummus
  • drizzle with olive oil and roast them

6. Lentils

Lentils, sometimes called pulses, are another type of legume that are great for weight gain.

They are often categorized by their color, which can range from yellow and red to brown or black.

Of the various types, brown lentils are the most common variety.

Lentils are a good source of iron and several B vitamins.

One 1/2 cup (99 grams) serving of cooked lentils provides (1):

  • Calories: 113
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 20 grams
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams

Unlike many other legumes, lentils don’t require soaking and can be cooked in less than 30 minutes.

Cooking reduces the antinutrients found lentils which can affect the absorption of other nutrients.

Canned lentils are a convenient alternative to purchasing them dry and cooking.

Ways to enjoy lentils for weight gain:

  • add them to soups and chili
  • add to burritos or burrito bowls
  • drizzle with olive oil and roast

7. Parsnips

Parsnips are root vegetables closely related to carrots and parsley.

They are cream-colored and carrot-shaped, and have a sweet, but nutty taste.

Parsnips are a good source of copper, folate, and vitamin C.

One 1/2 cup (80 grams) of cooked parsnips provides (1):

  • Calories: 74
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 13 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram

Small parsnips don’t need peeling, just some scrubbing, but you may want to peel larger ones.

Cut away the core if it’s very fibrous.

Ways to enjoy parsnip for weight gain:

  • add to soups and stews
  • drizzle with olive oil and honey and roast
  • slice and combine with apple slices and walnuts

8. Corn

Although technically a grain, corn is commonly classified as a starchy vegetable.

Corn is a good source of a few vitamins but a great source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

These antioxidants accumulate in the retina of your eyes and protect them from damage (4).

One 1/2 cup (83 grams) of cooked corn provides (1):

  • Calories: 71
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 15 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams

You can buy corn in the can, frozen, or my favorite during the summertime, on the cob.

Ways to enjoy corn for weight gain:

  • add to soups or taco salads
  • eat it on the cob smothered in butter
  • make or buy creamed corn

9. Green peas

Green peas, or garden peas are another type of legume (and you thought lentils were going to be the last legume on this list).

Green peas provide fewer calories per serving than soybeans or chickpeas, but they offer a good amount of protein, iron, zinc, and several B vitamins.

The outer pod of garden peas is typically discarded but you can eat the pod from other varieties including snow peas and snap peas.

One 1/2 cup (80 grams) of cooked green peas provides (1):

  • Calories: 68
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 12 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams

Ways to enjoy green peas for weight gain:

  • enjoy alone or as a side dish with butter
  • add to soups, stews, and stir fries
  • drizzle with olive oil and roast

10. Jerusalem artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes look like a ginger root, with brown skin and an irregular, knobby shape.

Like parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes have a sweet, nutty flavor.

They are a good source if copper, iron, potassium, and several B vitamins.

One 1/2 cup (75 grams) of Jerusalem artichokes provides (1):

  • Calories: 55
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 13 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Protein: 2 grams

You don’t need to peel Jerusalem artichokes, just scrub them well to remove any dirt.

Ways to enjoy Jerusalem artichokes for weight gain:

  • slice, drizzle with olive oil, and roast them
  • boil and mash them with butter
  • saute in a pan with butter and garlic

11. Butternut squash

Butternut squash is another winter squash with a nutrient profile similar to acorn squash.

They have a bulbous, pear-shaped body that is dark beige.

It’s loaded with vitamins A and C and is a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and several B vitamins.

One 1/2 cup (120 grams) of mashed butternut squash provides (1):

  • Calories: 47
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 12 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams

You can incorporate butternut squash into your diet in ways similar to acorn squash.

Ways to enjoy a butternut squash for weight gain:

  • cube and roast with olive oil and salt
  • chunk into soups and chilli
  • add to pasta dishes

12. Acorn squash

Acorn squash is a winter squash that belongs to the same family as pumpkins, butternut squash, and zucchini.

It has an acorn-like shape and its rigid skin varies in color from dark green to white.

Acorn squash is a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and several B vitamins.

One 1/2 cup (120 grams) of mashed acorn squash provides (1):

  • Calories: 42
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 11 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram

A common way to prepare acorn squash is to cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, and then bake the halves.

When cooked, the flesh or skin is sweet and easily pierced with a fork.

Ways to enjoy acorn squash for weight gain:

  • add baked cubs to soups
  • stuff cooked halves with quinoa, dried fruit, and parmesan cheese
  • scrape out the cooked flesh and mash with olive oil and butter

13. Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most widely cultivated mushroom in the world.

They offer a savory and meaty taste when cooked.

Shiitake mushrooms are rich in zinc and several B vitamins.

They are also one of the few foods that provide a fair amount of vitamin D.

One 1/2 cup (73 grams) cooked shiitake mushrooms provides (1):

  • Calories: 41
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 19 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram

You can eat shiitake mushrooms raw or, for more flavor, cooked.

Ways to enjoy shiitake mushrooms for weight gain:

  • add to scrambled eggs
  • add to spaghetti
  • top on pizza

14. Beets

Beets are known for their early flavors and aroma.

While its the root that is commonly eaten, you can also eat beet leaves.

Beets provide small amounts of many vitamins and minerals but they’re especially rich in inorganic nitrates, which the body converts into nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide is a potent vasodilator, meaning it relaxes the inner muscles of the blood vessels, causing them to widen and increase circulation.

Several studies have shown that eating nitrate-rich vegetables like beetroot can lower high blood pressure and enhance exercise performance (5, 6).

One 1/2 cup (85 grams) of cooked beets provides (1):

  • Calories: 37
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 2 gram
  • Protein: 1 gram

Ways to enjoy a beets for weight gain:

  • add to high-calorie smoothies
  • cube and saute with butter and olive oil
  • slice, roast and top them with feta cheese

15. Jicama

Jicama — pronounced hick-ah-mah — is a root vegetable.

It shares may texture similarities as a raw white potato but tends to be more sweeter and juicier.

It’s an excellent source of vitamin C but otherwise contains small amounts of various vitamins and minerals.

One 1/2 cup cup (65 grams) of cooked jicama provides (1):

  • Calories: 25
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams

After removing the skin, you can eat jicama raw or cooked.

Ways to enjoy jicama for weight gain:

  • add it to chilli and stir fry
  • dice, drizzle with olive oil, and roast
  • cut wedges and air fry them in olive oil

A look at the best high calorie vegetables for weight gain

Here’s a quick look at how these high-calorie vegetables compare:

FoodServing SizeCaloriesProtein
Avocado1 medium-sized (150 grams)2403
Russet potato1 medium-sized (230 grams)2144
Sweet potato1 medium-sized (235 grams)2125
Soybeans1/2 cup (93 grams)20216
Chickpeas1/2 cup (90 grams)1317
Lentils1/2 cup (99 grams)1139
Parsnips1/2 cup (80 grams)741
Corn1/2 cup (83 grams)713
Green peas1/2 cup (80 grams)685
Jerusalem artichokes1/2 cup (75 grams)552
Butternut squash1/2 cup (120 grams)472
Acorn squash1/2 cup (120 grams)421
Shiitake mushrooms1/2 cup (73 grams)411
Beets1/2 cup (85 grams)371
Jicama1/2 cup (65 grams)250

The bottom line

Although vegetables aren’t commonly thought of a food you can eat to gain weight, there are several that provide a good number of calories alone or when prepared a certain way.

Beyond their calorie content, vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial plant compounds that keep you healthy.

Try implementing one or more of these high-calorie vegetables into your diet.

If you need high-calorie meal ideas, check out this 7-day weight gain meal plan.

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