The Story of How Three Couches led to the Ultimate Vegan Avocado Potato Salad


You know your project hoarding has hit critical mass when you find yourself with three couches.

The year was 2009. A. and I had been living together for about 6 months and I was sick of looking at the hideous hand-me-down frat boy couch he contributed to our then-apartment.

The Couch that Started it All || Jade and Fern

Ok, it doesn’t look that bad in this photo, but trust me, it was everything the modern domestic loathes: overstuffed, threadbare, leaking down-feathers everywhere. Blech.

I was determined to acquire a new couch. Something pretty, comfy, and cheap. After religiously trolling our friend Craigslist, I found The One. It looked something like this:

The Green Couch of Destiny || Jade and Fern

image via Attainable Vintage

Except, it was in much worse condition. My tastes and enthusiasm for Big Projects were a lot different at the age of 24. The couch was free, the exuberance high, so into the apartment it was lugged.

“I thought you wanted a nicer couch,” A. complained.

“I’m going to reupholster it! And I’ll fix the broken legs too. Easy peasy!”

And that’s how we ended up with Two Couches.

Fast forward a few weeks later. Maybe months? I don’t know. This time period is a blur, but one thing is certain: reupholstery was not happening. I began to think more realistically, and decided we needed a new new couch. Back to Craigslist, where I quickly found The One:

The Red Settee of Opulence || Jade and Fern

image via Classic Direct

Thinking realistically was not something I really excelled at in my “first apartment” days. After $200 and a harrowing drive with a poorly bungee-corded trunk, the settee was ours.

And that’s how we I ended up with Three Couches.

It was at this point my good friend Laura from Germany came to visit us. The first thing she said when she walked in the front door? “Oh! … You have three couches.”

And that’s when I knew I had a problem.

Here’s the thing, though; when you have three couches distributed between your living and dining rooms, you can throw big parties. Plus, Laura is a wonderful chef, so really, it was kismet.

And that’s how I ended up with the recipe for The Ultimate Vegan Avocado Potato Salad.

The Ultimate Vegan Avocado Potato Salad || Jade and Fern

This is the salad that distracted our confused party guests from the plethora of couches. It’s nutty and creamy, with a bit of tang from the lemon and arugula. Perfect for those late-summer BBQs we are all too busy to attend.

The Ultimate Vegan Avocado Potato Salad || Jade and Fern

Underwhelmed by this pile of green goo? You got me, I was not able to photograph the salad in a very appetizing way. Food photography is hard. But trust me when I say, it is delicious. I’ve been making it at least once a year since 2009, and the bowl has been scraped clean every time.

After all this reading, it’s about time for the recipe!

Vegan Avocado Potato Salad:

Serves 6 as a side; great for potluck parties!

Time: 20 minutes active, + 2 hours inactive potato-cooling time

What You Need:

  • 2 lbs. yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 C. raw pine nuts (sub chopped raw almonds if you’re saving $)
  • 1/2 C. loosely packed arugula
  • 2 Tbs. parsley
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 3 Tbs. lemon juice (from about 1.5 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Step One – Peel and chop the potatoes into roughly 1-inch chunks. Boil until just tender when pierced with a fork (15-20 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water—the Germans call this “scaring the potatoes”—then set aside to cool completely.

Step Two – While the potatoes are cooking, toast the pine nuts until fragrant and lightly browned. The easiest way to do this is in a toaster oven set to 350ºF for 5 minutes (check them OFTEN so they don’t burn!). You can also toast the nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Once toasted, set aside to cool.

Step Three – When the potatoes and pine nuts have cooled, stir them together in a large bowl. Coarsely chop the arugula and parsley and toss them in. Pour in the olive oil and stir it all together, trying not to crush the potatoes.

Step Four – In a separate small bowl, dice the avocados and stir in the lemon juice. You want to avoid mashing the avocado, just stir the pieces around so they get coated in lemon juice. Add the mixture to the larger bowl.

Step Five – Season with the coriander, salt, and pepper, and stir the salad well. Enjoy!

*Note: As you might imagine, leftovers don’t keep super well because of those delicious avocados. Store them in an airtight container for no more than a day. But don’t worry, you won’t have leftovers, it’s that good!

*Another Note: You can prepare the potatoes a day ahead and keep in the fridge, then just assemble the salad shortly before serving. Easy, right?

*Ok, just one more Note: This potato salad is sooo easy to double or adjust in any way you please. Want a higher avocado-to-potato ratio? Do it. Need more green in your diet? Keep that arugula comin’, baby.

The Ultimate Vegan Avocado Potato Salad || Jade and Fern

As for the couches and the project hoarding?

Couch Three was sold to a Maine photographer for a profit. It now lives out its days as a prop in a thriving portrait studio.

Couch Two, sadly, could not be resuscitated from its piteous disrepair. After being deposited to the side of the road, it went to Couch Heaven and now gets to lounge in The Big Living Room in the Sky.

Couch One eventually returned to its former owner and our good friend, Sean. It just recently found a new temporary Forever Home with a bunch of Broke Students, as all overstuffed threadbare couches dream.

We now own a beautiful, modern, Real Grownup Couch, chosen by A. (of all people). We no longer have the room in our apartment for couch hoarding, but we do have a garage, which looks like this:

The Garage of an Incurable Project Hoarder || Jade and Fern

I clearly haven’t learned anything in the past 5 years.

Are you an incurable project hoarder too? What’s your favorite summer salad?

Thank you, Laura, for letting me share your fabulous avocado potato salad! Miss you!

Author: Marlene @ Idle Hands Awake

Maker, baker, cat momma, total nerd, perpetually covered in glitter/sawdust/paint. Blogging DIY and design for modern creatives.

13 comments on “The Story of How Three Couches led to the Ultimate Vegan Avocado Potato Salad”

  1. Hahaha! Love the couch saga tie in to the killer recipe! And I can totally see how you could fall in love with couch 2. I probably would have done the same…

  2. LOL, that is hilarious! I have two dressers and an assortment of large ornate frames from bulk trash pickup that I really need to either redo or get rid of…
    Avocado in potato salad sounds very good (avocado in anything really 😉

  3. Best blog post opening ever. I was on the edge of my seat. I have never seen a potato salad with avocado, which is amazing, because I love avocado. What a fun way to share a recipe- delicious AND entertaining!

  4. Oh, I haven’t accepted an item that I don’t know what I’m going to do with since…. I don’t know, yesterday?

    When your work involves upcycling discarded items and you are addicted to “free”–Yup, I know exactly what you are talking about!

    My sweetie helps, oddly enough, by not getting this at all! This keeps me from filling up the entire house!

  5. Oh how I miss the days of moving furniture in and out, and in and out, and in and out, and in and out…oh wait those days are far from over. Sigh. – A.

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