Essential Reading:

The Complete Meat Cookbook – Bruce Aidells

Complete Book of Pork – Bruce Aidells

When eating for mass gain I've found the success of a recipe depends mainly on 1) how easy it is to eat mass quantities, 2) how easy it is to make mass quantities, and 3) how well it lasts in the fridge.

Example of a recipe that is bad for mass gain:  

Lamb and spinach curry.  I made it and it tasted great, but the spices were so strong I had to tap out at around 800 calories worth and I stayed full for a long time afterwards.

Example of a recipe that is good for mass gain:

Pulled pork shoulder.  With some determination I can put down 2000 calories in one sitting.  Add milk and that’s 3000+ calories for one meal.

Here's a list of all of my favorite mass gain paleo recipes and the typical quantities I make.  I make lots of other recipes as well, but these are the heavy hitters and they’re all easily changed up with different spices so they don’t get too boring.

Meat Loaf

        •        6 lbs of ground meat (any combo of beef/lamb/pork)

        •        6 eggs (or thereabouts)

        •        1 head of cabbage chopped finely

        •        mushrooms, red bell peppers (for sweetness), any other veggies

        •        Salt, pepper, 2-3 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce, herbs of choice, I usually use thyme

-- Cook veggies for ~10-15 min, mix with rest of ingredients, toss in oven.  It'll fill two 9x13 dishes and is great for leftovers.

Spaghetti Squash

        •        6 lbs of ground meat (I like to mix beef with italian sausage)

        •        2 large spaghetti squash or 3 smaller ones

        •        2 jars of pasta sauce (I use bertolli since it has olive oil)

        •        1 can of tomato paste

        •        1-2 cans of tomato sauce

        •        1-2 cans of diced tomatoes (or fresh if in season)

        •        onions, garlic, celery, bell peppers, any other veggies

        •        A couple Tbsp of oregano, basil, rosemary, bay leaf, or your favorite mix of Italian seasoning

-- Start cooking the squash in oven, brown the meat and drain, saute all the veggies in olive oil, mix the meat back in, then add all the sauce with the meat mix.  When the spaghetti squash is done, combine with the meat sauce.

Pulled Pork Shoulder Stew

        •        Biggest dutch oven or pot you own

        •        As many pork shoulders as you can fit in said pot (I fit a 13 lb picnic roast in my dutch oven)

        •        Onions, rutabagas, apples, any other veggies

        •        BBQ dry rub (I make my own, I'll list it below)

        •        Chicken broth (or water, or some mix of both)

        •        Any extra herbs you feel like adding

-- make shallow cross-hatch slits all over pork shoulder with knife, cover shoulder with BBQ dry rub and let sit if you have time, sear all sides of the pork shoulder for 2-4 minutes per side (until well browned, don't touch it while doing this), add in all the veggies/fruit that will fit in pot along with broth, cover with lid, and cook for a long time.  Around 6 hours or so.  Shred the pork then add it back into the mix.


        •        2 Tbsp paprika, preferably Hungarian

        •        2 Tbsp chili powder

        •        2 tsp cayenne pepper

        •        2 Tbsp garlic powder

        •        2 Tbsp brown sugar (I left that out)

        •        1 Tbsp ground cumin

        •        1 Tbsp ground coriander

        •        1 Tbsp Colman's dry mustard

        •        2 tsp dry sage

        •        2 tsp dried oregano

        •        3 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper

        •        1/3 cup kosher salt (I used a lot less than that, but don't remember the exact amount)

-- Just mix it all together then store it.

Tuna Salad

        •        6 cans of tuna (I like the kind packed in olive oil)

        •        24 eggs

        •        celery, black olive, dill pickles (or dill pickle relish if you can find it), any other veggies

        •        2 cups olive oil, lemon, vinegar, dry mustard, salt (for mayo)

-- First start boiling the eggs.  When cooking that many eggs I find it works best if you heat the water up to ~180 degrees (use meat thermometer), then turn off the heat and cover.  You want the yolks to hit 170 but not go over or they turn green and smelly.  

-- Start making the mayonnaise.  I use Alton Brown’s recipe but with no sugar and I double it.  Link is below.

-- Dice veggies, Peel eggs, open cans of tuna, then mix all the solid ingredients, add in the mayo and mix

Mayo recipe:

Mayo video:

Steak with Red Wine Sauce

-- This doesn’t store as well, but it tastes so good I’ve eaten over 3 lbs of meat in one sitting on a number of occasions

        •        Several lbs of steak of your choice.  Rib steaks taste the best I think, but I buy what’s on sale

        •        Onion

        •        Bottle of red wine

        •        Butter

        •        Salt, pepper, 1-2 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme

-- Finely dice the onions and thyme.  Salt and pepper steaks then press the thyme into both sides of meat.  Put stove to medium-high heat, add 1-2 Tbsp of butter.  When butter is melted, add meat and sear 3-4 minutes per side until well browned (resist urge to disturb the meat!), when cooked to your liking, remove meat and set aside.  Repeat with second batch of meat if you couldn’t fit it all in the pan.  Toss the onions into the pan with the meat juice and sauté for 3-4 minutes.  Add in about 1/3 or 1/2 cup of wine (I always eyeball it and always add too much), and scrape up any brown bits from pan.  Cook until the wine has reduced by half.  Add in another 2-4 Tbsp of butter to the sauce.  Pour sauce over meat.

Breakfast Casserole/crustless quiche

        •        12 eggs

        •        2 cups heavy cream

        •        2 lbs bacon or 2 lbs sausage (breakfast is good, so is Italian)

        •        1-2 cups cheese (can leave out if you want)

        •        1 lb frozen spinach

        •        1-2 Onion

        •        Salt, pepper, cayenne if you like it

-- Cook the bacon or sausage.  If it’s bacon, dice it afterwards, if it’s sausage break it up to pieces before you cook it.  Sauté the onions.  After a few minutes, add the spinach and cook til thawed.  Add in the meat and mix around til it’s evenly distributed.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs well and add in the heavy cream, salt, pepper, and cayenne and mix.  Place the meat mixture in a 9x13 dish, then pour the egg mixture over the top.  Cover the whole thing in cheese.  Cook at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Chicken in Garlic and Onions

        •        Chicken.  10 thighs per 9x13 dish or one chicken cut up.  

        •        10 cloves of garlic, peeled but not chopped

        •        3 medium onions

        •        Several sprigs of parsley, sage, and thyme, salt & pepper

        •        ½ cup of olive oil

-- Season chicken with salt and pepper, and cover with 2 Tbsp of olive oil.  Peel onions and split in quarters.  Over high heat in pan or skillet, sear both sides of the chicken for 2-3 minutes until browned.  I have to do it in batches.  Place chicken in 9x13 dish (or use the skillet if it is big enough) and add the onions, garlic, herbs, and cover with the ½ cup of olive oil.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours.

Coconut Milk Apple Pudding

        •        2 cans coconut milk (the kind with 700 calories/can, not the watery kind)

        •        6 apples (I hear other fruits are good too)

        •        3-5 tsp of cinnamon, or 3-5 tsp apple pie spice (3 tsp cinnamon, 1.5 tsp nutmeg, 0.75 tsp allspice, 0.75 tsp cardamom).  I haven’t tried pumpkin pie spice but I plan to.

        •        4-5 Tbsp Coconut oil (or butter)

-- Cut apples into quarters and remove seeds.  Heat the coconut milk to a boil, add the spices and stir, add the oil/butter, add the apples, and then simmer until the apples are soft stirring from time to time (20 minutes?).  Put the whole mix in a blender and blend it up.  My blender just barely fits this amount of food.  Place in containers and put in fridge.  When it’s cooled it’ll have the consistency of pudding.

Grilled Meat and BBQ

-- No specific instructions here.  Cover meat in dry rub or marinade, put on top of fire.  Eat as much as possible.  Here’s the specific cuts I can eat the most of and are high in calories:

        •        Tri-tip

        •        Brisket

        •        Pork Shoulder

        •        Chicken.  I prefer dark meat.

        •        Steaks of any kind

        •        Burgers (not the best leftover though)


        •        Too many to list all the options.  Beef, pork, lamb are all good and they make for good leftovers.  If you want to get fancy with the leftovers you can slice them thin and wrap around veggies with mayo (make your own) or other sauce added in.  Or just shove it all in your face and eat the veggies afterwards like I do.


        •        Head of lettuce

        •        2 avocados

        •        Any other veggies you like

        •        Chopped up leftover meat.  Beef/pork/chicken are good.  Bacon is good too.

        •        Lots of olive oil

        •        Salt, pepper, vinegar, other dressing stuff you like

--  Chop up the head of lettuce and other veggies, place in serving bowl (you’re not serving anyone but yourself btw).  Place as much meat in the bowl as you can while still being able to call it a salad.  Add the avocados on top of that.  Pour as much olive oil over the top as you think you can eat.  Just keep adding more each time you make a salad until you reach that point where it’s just too much olive oil.  I swear sometimes I put a whole cup in.  Add vinegar or other salad dressing stuff.  Spend the next hour chewing.

Backup Plans

-- Since it’s hard to be on top of food 100% of the time, here’s what I do when I haven’t properly planned.  If you’re really trying to gain weight, I’d rather cheat heavily on paleo than miss a meal.  I stay away from gluten though.

        •        Buy nuts in bulk.  Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pecans, macadamia nuts, etc

        •        Mix nuts with dried fruit and chocolate and coconut.  Dried apricots are so freakin good.  Adding some salted nuts to the mix makes it easy to eat lots

        •        Jerky.  It’s too expensive for me to buy and I can eat it faster than I can make it, but it’s good stuff.

        •        Sausages.  Chico Meat locker makes some damn good ones.  Store bought are ok too but they’re nowhere near as good.

        •        Hard boiled eggs.  I’d make these more often but I hate peeling them.  They are convenient though.

        •        Ice cream.  If you overdo it you’ll get a gut, but it does its job when the time is right.

        •        Costco roasted chickens.  

        •        Peanut butter.  I know it’s not paleo, but it’s so many calories and so easy.  Can do sunflower seed butter or almond butter for the better choice, but they’re harder for me to eat.

        •        In-n-out or other burger places (nobby’s) that will replace the bun with lettuce

        •        Sandwich places that will turn a sandwich into a salad, or really anywhere that has meat based salads

        •        Mexican food.  Stay away from flour tortillas.  Stick with tacos and other similar items.

        •        BBQ places and say no to the bread.  Watch out for breaded stuff and teriyaki has soy sauce which has gluten.