Add lentils and water to a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat. Then reduce heat to medium/medium-low, or until a mild simmer is achieved.
Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until most liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender and not mushy, or 'al dente.' (Mine only took about 18 minutes.)
Strain to remove any remaining water, then return lentils to saucepan off heat. Season with salt and pepper, maple syrup, lemon juice, and olive oil. Stir to coat. Sample and adjust seasonings as needed. You want them to be flavorful on their own, and not bland, so don't be shy.
While lentils are cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil and shallots and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Then add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more, or until just lightly golden brown. Remove from heat but leave in skillet.
To prepare sauce, add hummus, tahini, dill, maple syrup, and lemon juice to a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Then thin with hot water until slightly thick but pourable (see photo). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Add cooked, seasoned lentils to the skillet with the garlic and shallot. Add sauce and stir to combine.
Serve immediately, garnished with fresh parsley or dill, pita chips or crackers, or vegetables (optional). Best when fresh, though leftovers keep stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
While this makes a great appetizer or snack dip, it would also be delicious over a baked sweet potato or salad for more of a meal.
*To make your own pita chips, slice 2-3 pieces of pita into triangles and brush or spray both sides with grapeseed or coconut oil. Lightly season with sea salt and garlic powder and toss. Then arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast on each side for 3-5 minutes in a 400 degree F (204 C) oven (or until golden brown and firm to the touch). This can be done while the lentils are cooking to save time! *For more tips on cooking lentils, see this helpful article from The Kitchn. *This recipe is inspired by both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ingredients and flavors. You can learn more about the origins of hummus and tahini by following the links. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without any additional toppings or sides.