1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh colander to remove the bitter taste and drain well.
2. In a small pot, place quinoa and water — do not cover pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer and continue cooking until the quinoa absorbs all the water, approximately 13–15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover pot, and let quinoa steam for five minutes. Remove cover and fluff with a fork. (One cup of raw quinoa will yield three cups cooked.) Season with salt if you’re eating as is (not in a salad with a dressing).
3. Scrub cucumber, then cut in half lengthwise and seed it with a teaspoon. Cut each half in half so you have quarters and slice each quarter. Set aside.
4. Mix dressing ingredients together. Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl. Add cucumber pieces, avocado, dates, and onion. Pour dressing over all and mix together well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish with walnuts if desired.
It’s a good idea to mix the dressing into the quinoa while still warm. Once it cools off or is refrigerated, it won’t absorb the liquid as well. You can, however, make the quinoa in advance and freeze it without the dressing.