Even though vegetables may be the last food group you think of when trying to gain weight, know that there are many surprisingly high-calorie vegetables available on the market that will help you bulk up.
Besides, consuming calorie-dense veggies will also make you have a healthier eating pattern by increasing your daily intake of vitamins and minerals. After all, the American Heart Association recommends 5 daily servings of vegetables for a diet of 2000 calories per day.
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To find the vegetables that have the most calories and the greatest impact on your weight gain efforts, we analyzed over 270 common vegetables from USDA’s database.
Here are the top 5 vegetables with the highest number of calories per 100 g (3.5 oz):
Vegetables are generally known for their low-calorie contents, so that is why it's surprising for many people to find out there are many vegetables that can help them gain weight by being pretty high calorie-wise.
Also, because, generally, vegetables contain small amounts of fatty acids, most calorie-dense veggies are high-calorie low-fat foods. So, vegetables are one of your best allies if you're on a low-fat diet.
Typically, the vegetables that make you gain weight are beans, such as pinto beans, starchy vegetables, like yams, and the dried forms of some other veggies, like chile peppers and carrots.
Below you can find a list of 15 high-calorie vegetables ordered by their total calories.
Dried chile peppers are unusually high-calorie compared to other vegetables.
The vegetable with the most calories is the pasilla pepper, a type of dried chile pepper that has 345 calories per 100 g (3.5 oz).
Other examples of high-calorie chile peppers are the sun-dried hot chile peppers, which have 324 calories per 100 g (3.5 oz), and the dried ancho peppers, which are packed with 281 calories per 100 g (3.5 oz).
Pasilla peppers are rich in carbs and have plenty of fats while carrying a decent amount of protein as well.
In terms of micronutrients, they are packed with vitamin B6, iron, and magnesium while featuring some vitamin C and calcium as well.
Most of the calories in dried hot chile peppers come in form of carbs, but these peppers also feature decent amounts of protein and fats. Also, they have a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Even though Ancho peppers contain mainly carbs, they also carry fair amounts of protein and fat.
If you are trying to gain weight, you may want to snack on dehydrated carrots instead of their usual form.
Dehydrated carrots have 8 times more calories than simple carrots, this fact making them a surprisingly high-calorie vegetable that will help you gain weight.
Dehydrated carrots are one of the high-calorie vegetables on this list due to their carb-filled content. Also, dried carrots are chockful of vitamins and minerals.
However, keep in mind that eating too many carrots can trigger carotenemia, a condition that manifests through orange-tinted skin caused by the high amount of beta-carotene absorbed by your body.
Chives are similar to green onions, but, when dried, they transform into a high-calorie vegetable that will definitely help you gain weight. After all, dried chives have over 300 calories per 100 g (3.5 oz).
Although most of the calories in dried chives come from their high-carb content, they are also a good source of protein.
Moreover, 100 g (3.5 oz) of dried chives will overload you with vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron while almost satisfying your daily calcium needs.
Some of the dried varieties of Asian mushrooms, such as shiitake mushrooms or cloud ears fungi, are surprisingly high-calorie vegetables, both containing almost 300 calories per 100 g (3.5 oz).
Dried shiitake mushrooms are rich in carbs and have decent amounts of protein as well.
However, in terms of micronutrients, shiitake mushrooms don’t carry as many vitamins and minerals as other high-calorie vegetables on this list.
As it’s the case with shiitake mushrooms, dried cloud ears fungi are loaded with carbs while carrying fair amounts of protein as well. Micronutrient-wise, dried cloud ears are rich in plenty of minerals and vitamins.
Spirulina photo credits: William Ismael (license: Creative Commons).
Dried spirulina is a dehydrated seaweed that makes for a high-calorie vegetable due to its rich nutritional content.
Most of the calories in dried spirulina come from its proteins, but it also carries plenty of carbs and a few grams of fats as well.
Besides, dried spirulina is a treasure of iron while offering good amounts of potassium, and some calcium too.
Dried parsley is a high-calorie vegetable with almost 300 calories per 100 g (3.5 oz) that is mostly used as a condiment.
Most of the calories in dried parsley are owed to its high protein and carb content. In addition, dried parsley is a treasure of vitamin C, iron, and calcium while sporting a decent amount of vitamin A.
While simple tomatoes are considered a low-calorie vegetable, sun-dried tomatoes are high-calorie vegetables that have 14 times more calories.
To sun-dry tomatoes, all you need to do is to cut tomatoes in half and leave them under the sun with a pinch of salt on them.
Sun-dried tomatoes are rich in carbs but also offer a fair quantity of protein.
Although they have under 200 calories, chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, can still be considered a high-calorie vegetable since they have much more calories than other vegetables that don’t even reach the 50-calorie mark.
The main reason why boiled chickpeas have an increased number of calories is the good number of carbs and protein found in them. Mineral-wise, boiled chickpeas offer iron and calcium.
Also known as manioc or yuca, cassava is a starchy high-calorie vegetable with South-American origins that can help you gain weight.
Having almost no fat and proteins, most of Cassava's calories come from the carbs in its composition. However, cassava has a good amount of vitamin C and carries small quantities of vitamin B6 and magnesium.
Being a popular high-calorie vegetable that contains almost 150 calories per 100 g (3.5 oz), garlic has been linked to multiple potential therapeutic effects, such as fighting cardiovascular diseases, tumors, and microbes.
Most of garlic’s calories are owed to the solid quantity of carbs in it. In addition, garlic has some proteins and is rich in vitamin C.
Boiled beans are high-calorie vegetables that will help you gain weight with their solid carb content and fair quantity of proteins. Also, boiled beans are good sources of fiber.
Here are the different types of boiled high-calorie beans and their calories per 100 g (3.5 oz):
How to eat? Boiled beans are generally eaten as a side dish or as a primary ingredient in a soup or stew. However, that doesn’t stop you to fill a bowl and snacking on this calorie-dense vegetable. Also, you will find that beans go well in classic Mexican dishes, such as burritos or chili.
Pinto beans are also a budget-friendly vegetable since they are the most affordable veggie on our list of cheap high-calorie foods for weight gain.
Navy beans photo credits: Jessica Spengler (license: Creative Commons).
Yautia is a starchy specialty root that earned its place among this list of high-calorie vegetables since its cooked version reaches almost 150 calories per 100 g (3.5 oz).
Also, since cooked vegetables are classified as easy to digest foods, cooked yautia is great for upset stomachs.
Learn everything about yautias, from their health benefits and nutritional values to recipes and places where you can find them, in our comprehensive yautia guide.
The majority of the calories in Yautia come from its carbs. In terms of micronutrients, this calorie-dense vegetable holds a variety of minerals and vitamins.
Popular in the Asian cuisine, soybean sprouts are a high-calorie vegetable that can help you gain weight.
Soybean sprouts carry proteins, carbs, and fats along with a wide range of minerals and vitamins.
Boiled yams are starchy high-calorie vegetables that make for a more caloric alternative to the classic potatoes.
Boiled yams are mainly carbs and have increased levels of vitamin C.
Lentils are lens-shaped high-calorie vegetables that need to be cooked to be safely consumed. Other than that, they are very energizing since they are packed with carbs and proteins.
The increased level of calories in boiled lentils is given by their carb and protein content. Also, lentils are a small treasure of iron.
Although they don’t have so many calories as the high-calorie vegetables already listed, there are some staple veggies that can help you gain weight due to their versatility in the kitchen.
Here are other vegetables that may help you gain weight, and their calories:
A study published in the PLOS Medicine journal showed that people who eat starchy vegetables, like corn, potatoes, and peas, tend to gain weight.
One of the most efficient ways to consume high-calorie vegetables is by adding them into calorie-dense smoothies. At the end of the day, vegetables are one of the staple ingredients for smoothies.
Beans, spirulina, and mushrooms are some examples of high-calorie vegetables you can put into the blender.
If you want to learn how to make a weight gain smoothie and get ideas for calorie-dense ingredients, visit our comprehensive article about high-calorie smoothies.
Some high-calorie vegetables, like spirulina, make for protein-packed ingredients while other vegetables, like spinach, bring a welcomed boost of vitamins and minerals in weight gain shakes.
Here are 5 high-calorie shakes that are made with vegetables:
Learn how to mix these shakes by following the recipes in our article about high-calorie shakes for weight gain.
If you have so far believed that you can’t gain weight with vegetables, you now have a full list of high-calorie veggies that will help you increase your daily calorie and vitamin intake.
So, whether you want to start by spicing up your diet with some dried chile peppers and garlic, or snacking on a bowl of boiled beans with some sun-dried tomatoes on the side, you are on the right way to put on some healthy weight.
Now, did you know that besides veggies there are also fruits that can help you gain weight even easier? Find them in our list of high-calorie fruits for weight gain.
Also, don't forget that there are plenty of other healthy high-calorie foods that can help you increase your body mass.