Published by Lindsey Treffry.

Plant BuiltDonovan Jenkins

For most weightlifters, fall and winter are the best times to bulk up or put on some extra pounds. Bodybuilders follow this routine to ensure that by the time spring and summer come around, they’ll be able to drop any fat acquired during the cold months and show off their lean bodies. This means that bulkers enjoy more calories and more meals in fall and winter. Here are some high-calorie vegan food sources that are sure to help you put on some muscle mass.


Jordan, of Instagram’s @conscious_muscle, is a plant-based personal trainer with more than 1,500 followers. He says that beans of any kind are always a good choice for bulking up. “I like to mash them—that way I can eat an abundance at once.” He adds that beans are “loaded with fiber, good carbs, and protein” and that black lentils are one of the “best sources” for these essentials.

Adzuki Beans

Nutty Snacks

Nuts have a great mix of protein and carbohydrates, plus lots of calories for building lean muscle. Try throwing together a mix of pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and a few semisweet chocolate chips.

If there’s no time to make a mix, you can always have a spoonful—or ladle full!—of peanut butter.

Protein Shakes

Jordan says that a shake is his go-to beverage for building mass and recommends “a shake with about 40 grams of vegan protein with a couple tablespoons of chia seeds or finely ground flaxseed with a half cup of oats.”

Green Smoothie

When adding weight, Matt Frazier of the website No Meat Athlete increased his intake of protein and fat by consuming protein powder, almond butter, and flax and coconut oil. The following are the ingredients for Frazier’s high-protein shake recipe, which is about 1,000 calories:

  • 12 oz. raw homemade almond milk
  • 2–3 Tbsp. raw homemade almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. flax seed oil
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 scoops soy-free veggie protein powder (about 22 grams of protein)
  • 1 tsp. maca powder
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. wheat grass powder

Other Options recommends oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice, farina, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, zucchini, onion, fruit, olive oil, safflower oil, almond oil, and flaxseed oil for bulking up. High-fat soy or almond milk can help supplement meals, also. And as a writer for the site notes, “By eating more often you will have a constant supply of fuel throughout the day which is a constant supply of nutrients to your muscles to help them grow.”

The Way of The Vegan Meathead: Eating for Strength is a also a great resource for those interested in #VeganGains. Competitive powerlifter Daniel Austin lays out eating plans and a daily eating schedule to maintain a fueled fat-burning body. Use the code PETA at checkout, and 15% of the sales will go towards supporting the work we do for animals.

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