Preheat the oven to 400° F with a rack placed in the center of the oven.
In a large bowl, soak the sliced eggplant in salted water for about 20 minutes. It helps to put a bowl on top of the eggplant slices to keep them submerged under water.
Meanwhile, place the quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes. Cover and let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes more. The water should be full absorbed.
Stir in the garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, and adjust seasoning if necessary. Stir in the parmesan cheese and place in a shallow bowl.
Rinse the salted eggplant under cool running water and dry the slices wtih paper towels.
Dredge a slice of eggplant in flour, then dip into the egg, followed by the quinoa, patting the quinoa to help it adhere to the eggplant surface. Continue until all the eggplant is ready.
Pour enough marinara sauce to cover the bottom of a baking dish. Set remainder aside.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet, and test the oil by dropping it a few pieces of quinoa. When it browns and crisps, go ahead and begin frying the eggplant on both sides, working in batches. Place the crisp eggplant on the marinara sauce in the baking dish, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, then place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of each round.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with basil and additional parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Don't feel like frying? Here's how to prepare the eggplant either by baking or in the air fryer:HOW TO BAKE EGGPLANT:Add about 2 teaspoons olive oil to the quinoa mixture. Dredge the eggplant in flour, dip in the egg wash, and coat on both sides with the quinoa, using your fingers to help it adhere to the eggplant. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 425°F oven for about 20 minutes, or until the quinoa crust is golden. Proceed with remaining steps in the recipe.HOW TO AIR FRY EGGPLANT:Add about 2 teaspoons olive oil to the quinoa mixture. Dredge the eggplant in flour, dip in the egg wash, and coat on both sides with the quinoa, using your fingers to help it adhere to the eggplant. Place in the basket of the air fryer and cook in the preheated air fryer at 375°F for about 8-10 minutes, or until the quinoa crust is golden. Proceed with remaining steps in the recipe.Make ahead tips:
Use store-bought pre-cooked quinoa (Trader Joe's has frozen cooked quinoa) or leftover quinoa.
Prep the eggplant in advance - you can fry the eggplant and assemble the dish the day before baking.