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15 Surprisingly High-Calorie Vegetables for Weight Gain

By Claudiu Pop

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.

Vegetables with the most calories

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):

  1. Chile peppers (dried): 281-345 calories
  2. Carrots (dehydrated): 341 calories
  3. Chives (dried): 311 calories
  4. Asian mushrooms (dried): 284-296 calories
  5. Spirulina (dried): 290 calories
Top 5 vegetables with the most calorie for weight gain.

Surprisingly high-calorie vegetables list

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.

1. Chile peppers (dried): 281-345 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 nutrition facts

High-calorie vegetables - Pasilla peppers.

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.

  • Calories: 345 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 12 g of proteins, 51 g of carbs, and 16 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 209% vitamin B6, 54% iron, 32% magnesium, 10% vitamin C, and 9% calcium
  • How to eat? Feel free to eat pasilla peppers raw or roasted, but they are generally used to make spicy sauces, such as salsa.

Hot chile peppers (sun-dried) nutrition facts

Weight gain vegetables - Sun-dried hot chile peppers.

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.

  • Calories: 324 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 11 g of proteins, 70 g of carbs, and 6 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 53% potassium, 41% manganese, 34% iron, 22% magnesium, 16% phosphorus, 11% copper, 7% zinc, and 5% selenium
  • How to eat? Since they may be too spicy to eat them raw, you can use dried hot chile peppers in soups, chili dishes, stews, or sauces.

Ancho peppers nutrition facts

High-calorie vegetables - Ancho peppers.

Even though Ancho peppers contain mainly carbs, they also carry fair amounts of protein and fat.

  • Calories: 281 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 12 g of proteins, 51 g of carbs, and 8 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 175% vitamin B6, 60% iron, 28% magnesium, and 6% calcium
  • How to eat? Ancho peppers are traditionally used in making sauces since they offer a more delicious flavor in this form than if you were to eat them raw.

2. Carrots (dried): 341 calories

Weight gain vegetables - Dried carrots.

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.

 

Dried carrots nutrition facts

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.

  • Calories: 341 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 8 g of proteins, 80 g of carbs, and 1 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 1369% vitamin A, 135% vitamin K, 52% vitamin B6, 73% potassium, 56% manganese, 36% thiamin, 35% phosphorus, 33% niacin, 29% magnesium, 27% vitamin E, 25% riboflavin, 24% vitamin C, 22% iron, 21% calcium, 18% copper, 15% pantothenic acid, 14% folate, 12% selenium, 11% sodium, and 10% zinc
  • How to eat? Besides using dried carrots in soups and stews, you can also add them in salads, omelets, home-cooked bread, or just put them in a bowl and begin to snack on them like you would with some potato chips.

3. Chives (dried): 311 calories

High-calorie vegetables - Dried chives.

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).

Dried chives nutrition facts

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.

  • Calories: 311 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 21 g of proteins, 64 g of carbs, and 4 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 1350% vitamin A, 1100% vitamin C, 110% iron, and 80% calcium
  • How to eat? Dried chives go well with cheese, eggs, potatoes, and salads while being a tasty ingredient for sauces and soups.

4. Asian mushrooms (dried): 284-296 calories

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 nutrition facts

Weight gain vegetables - Dried shiitake mushrooms

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.

  • Calories: 296 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 10 g of proteins, 75 g of carbs, and 1 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 10% iron, 6% vitamin C
  • How to eat? You can consume dried shiitake mushrooms raw, but you could find that their flavor is too strong. So, it’s a good idea to soak the mushrooms in water before eating them. However, grilling is also a widely used method for cooking shiitake mushrooms.

Cloud ears fungi (dried) nutrition facts

High-calorie dried cloud ears fungi

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.

  • Calories: 284 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 9 g of proteins, 73 g of carbs, and 1 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 98% manganese, 62% selenium, 50% riboflavin, 33% iron, 31% niacin, 22% potassium, 21% magnesium, 18% phosphorus, 16% calcium,10% folate, 6% vitamin B6, 9% zinc, 9% copper, and 5% pantothenic acid
  • How to eat? Since you should cook dried cloud ears fungi before eating them, you can fry the mushrooms and use them as a garnish or add them to a soup.

5. Spirulina (dried): 290 calories

High-calorie vegetables - dried spirulina.

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.

Dried spirulina nutrition facts

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.

6. Parsley (dried): 271 calories

Weight gain vegetables - dried parsley.

Dried parsley is a high-calorie vegetable with almost 300 calories per 100 g (3.5 oz) that is mostly used as a condiment.

Dried parsley nutrition facts

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.

  • Calories: 271 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 31 g of proteins, 42 g of carbs, and 5 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 200% vitamin C, 122% iron, 88% calcium, and 38% vitamin A
  • How to eat? Use dried parsley in soups, stews, and garnishes to improve their flavor.

7. Tomatoes (sun-dried): 258 calories

Weight gain vegetables - Sun-dried tomatoes

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 nutrition facts

Sun-dried tomatoes are rich in carbs but also offer a fair quantity of protein.

  • Calories: 258 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 14 g of proteins, 56 g of carbs, and 3 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 73% potassium, 51% iron, and 8% calcium
  • How to eat? You can eat sun-dried tomatoes as a snack throughout the day along with a slice of bread. Otherwise, you can add the tomatoes to salads or turn them into a sauce, combining them with any kind of pasta.

8. Chickpeas (boiled): 164 calories

High-calorie vegetables - Boiled chickpeas.

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.

Boiled chickpeas nutrition facts

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.

  • Calories: 164 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 9 g of proteins, 27 g of carbs, and 3 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 26% iron and 6% calcium
  • How to eat? You can put the boiled chickpeas in a bowl in eat them like a snack, add them as a garnish, combine with some high-calorie dried peppers, and so much more. Chickpeas are a versatile vegetable.

9. Cassava: 160 calories

Cassava vegetable and its calories.

Also known as manioc or yuca, cassava is a starchy high-calorie vegetable with South-American origins that can help you gain weight.

Cassava nutrition facts

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.

  • Calories: 160 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 1 g of proteins and 38 g of carbs
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 34% vitamin C, 5% vitamin B6, and 5% magnesium
  • How to eat? You can use cassava to make tapioca, eat cassava raw, grate it over salads or other dishes, or turn it into flour and make patisserie products, like homemade bread.

10. Garlic: 149 calories

High-calorie vegetables - Garlic.

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.

Garlic nutrition facts

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.

  • Calories: 149 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 6 g of proteins, 33 g of carbs, and 1 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 52% vitamin C, 14% calcium, and 9% iron
  • How to eat? You can eat garlic raw, make a tasty dressing out of it, or add it in soups, sauces, and stews.

11. Beans (boiled): 123-143 calories

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):

  • Pinto beans: 143 calories
  • Navy beans: 140 calories
  • Cranberry beans: 136 calories
  • Black beans: 132 calories
  • Kidney beans: 127 calories
  • Lima beans: 123 calories

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 (boiled) nutrition facts

High-calorie vegetables - Boiled pinto beans.

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 (boiled) nutrition facts

Weight gain vegetables - Boiled navy beans.

Navy beans photo credits: Jessica Spengler (license: Creative Commons).

  • Calories: 140 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 8 g of proteins, 26 g of carbs, and 1 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 13% iron, 13% magnesium, 6% calcium, and 5% vitamin B6

Cranberry beans (boiled) nutrition facts

High-calorie vegetables - Boiled cranberry beans

Black beans (boiled) nutrition facts

Weight gain vegetables - Boiled black beans
  • Calories: 132 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 9 g of proteins, 24 g of carbs, and 1 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 37% folate, 22% manganese, 17% magnesium, 16% thiamin, 14% phosphorus, 12% iron, 10% potassium, 10% copper, and 7% zinc

Kidney beans (boiled) nutrition facts

High-calorie vegetables - Boiled kidney beans
  • Calories: 127 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 9 g of proteins, 23 g of carbs, and 1 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 12% iron and 9% potassium

Lima beans (boiled) nutrition facts

Boiled lima beans and their calories.
  • Calories: 115 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 8 g of proteins and 21 g of carbs
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 26% manganese, 21% folate, 15% potassium, 13% iron, 12% copper, 11% magnesium, 11% phosphorus, 11% thiamin, 8% vitamin B6, 6% zinc, and 6% selenium

12. Yautia (cooked): 142 calories

Yautia nutrition facts

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.

Cooked yautia nutrition facts

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.

  • Calories: 141 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 2 g of proteins, 28 g of carbs, and 3 g of fat
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 21% potassium, 9% magnesium, 7% phosphorus
  • How to eat? You may cook yautias in a variety of ways, including boiling and tossing them into a salad, frying, or baking them.

13. Soybean sprouts: 122 calories

Weight gain vegetables - Soybean sprouts

Popular in the Asian cuisine, soybean sprouts are a high-calorie vegetable that can help you gain weight.

Soybean sprouts nutrition facts

Soybean sprouts carry proteins, carbs, and fats along with a wide range of minerals and vitamins.

  • Calories: 122 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 13 g of proteins, 10 g of carbs, and 7 g of fats
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 43% folate, 35% manganese, 26% vitamin C, 23% thiamin, 21% copper, 18% magnesium, 16% phosphorus, 14% potassium, 12% iron, 9% pantothenic acid, 9% vitamin B6, 8% zinc, 7% riboflavin, 7% calcium and 6% niacin
  • How to eat? You should only eat raw soybean sprouts only if they are labeled “ready to eat” because the sprouts may carry bacteria, according to the UK’s National Health Service. However, you can always boil the soybeans and eat them as a snack, or add them to salads or soups.

14. Yams (boiled): 116 calories

High-calorie vegetables - Boiled yams

Boiled yams are starchy high-calorie vegetables that make for a more caloric alternative to the classic potatoes.

Yams (boiled) nutrition facts

Boiled yams are mainly carbs and have increased levels of vitamin C.

  • Calories: 116 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 1 g of proteins and 28 g of carbs
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 20% vitamin C
  • How to eat? Since cooked yams are a great and more caloric alternative to potatoes, you can eat them as you would consume potatoes. Put yams along with some meat, mash them to make a puree, or add some other high-calorie vegetables into the mix and make a veggie salad.

15. Lentils (boiled): 114 calories

High-calorie vegetables - Boiled lentils

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.

Boiled lentils nutrition facts

The increased level of calories in boiled lentils is given by their carb and protein content. Also, lentils are a small treasure of iron.

  • Calories: 114 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Macronutrients: 9 g of proteins and 20 g of carbs
  • Micronutrients (% daily value): 19% iron
  • How to eat? You can consume boiled lentils like they are, add them to a soup, or use them as garnish.

Other useful vegetables for weight gain

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:

  1. Wasabi root: 109 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  2. Sweet corn (boiled): 97 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  3. Baked potatoes: 93 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  4. Green peas (boiled): 84 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)
  5. Ginger root: 80 calories / 100 g (3.5 oz)

A study published in the PLOS Medicine journal showed that people who eat starchy vegetables, like corn, potatoes, and peas, tend to gain weight.

High-calorie vegetable smoothies

High-calorie vegetable smoothie

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.

High-calorie vegetable shakes

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:

  • Oat Peanut Butter Shake - 1101 calories;
  • Nutty Goji Shake - 979 calories;
  • Blueberry Protein Shake - 973 calories;
  • Vegan Avocado Protein Shake - 910 calories;
  • Egg Oat Peanut Butter Shake - 734 calories.

Learn how to mix these shakes by following the recipes in our article about high-calorie shakes for weight gain.

Conclusion: high-calorie vegetables

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.

Written by Claudiu Pop
Claudiu Pop is the founder of Unfold Today and an awarded journalist with expertise in numerous fields such as health, nutrition, fitness, mental health, productivity, healthy habits, and other domains related to personal growth. He has a BA in Journalism from Babeș-Bolyai University and was trained by professionals coming from the most authoritative news organizations, like CNN, The New York Times, and Reuters. Claudiu's work, published in various national and international outlets has been read by over 1 million people before he was even 21 years old.
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