Begin by cooking the quinoa. It is easiest to do this a few hours before you plan to make the salad, so that the quinoa can cool. Do this the night before or morning of to save you prep time later!
Measure out the dry quinoa and add it to a fine mesh strainer. Rinse under cold water for about 1 minute. This will clean the quinoa and remove some of the bitterness from its outer coating.
Add the rinsed quinoa to a small saucepan with the water. The key here is to not listen to the package instructions. For perfect, non-mushy quinoa, you want a 1:2 dry quinoa to water ratio. Add the water to the saucepan and then turn the heat up to a boil. Do not cover the quinoa. Lid off while on the heat.
Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer, uncovered, until the water is absorbed. This will take about 12-15 minutes.
When there is no more water in the pan, turn the heat off, remove the pan from heat, and then place the lid on to cover and steam for about 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and you'll see how light and fluffy this quinoa is. No mushy quinoa here! Set aside to cool completely, and if you're making the quinoa the night before, cover in an airtight container (once cooled) and place it in the fridge.