Lentils tend to get lost and forgotten in the dark corners of my pantry for months, sometimes even years. The whole family of tiny legumes, whether red, green, yellow, or black, offers so many possibilities to create an exciting lunch. The nuttiness and glowing shades of red lentils, for example, pair beautifully with harissa, tahini sauce, and candy-sweet sautéed onions.
For the lentils, in a medium saucepan, bring the lentils and broth to a boil then lower the heat and simmer, adding more water if necessary, for 8 minutes or until tender (or follow the package instructions). There should be almost no cooking liquid left when the lentils are done. Add the olive oil and harissa, stir, and season to taste with salt, finely ground pepper, and additional harissa.
For the topping, in a medium, heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 12 minutes or until golden brown and soft. Add the sugar, stir, and caramelize the onions for 1 minute.
For the tahini sauce, heat the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until the garlic is golden. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool for 2 minutes. Add the tahini and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice and whisk until combined then season to taste with salt, finely ground pepper, and additional lemon juice.
Divide the lentils among bowls and drizzle with the tahini sauce and a little harissa. Sprinkle with coarsely ground pepper and parsley and serve.