Salty, smokey bacon is one of those ingredients that makes pretty much anything taste better; its meaty, savory flavor even adds a great balance to desserts. It’s obviously the best way to start your morning, and everyone loves a good bacon-themed gift, but unfortunately the stuff has a reputation for being heavy or suited only for comfort food dishes. But bacon is actually wonderful when paired with vegetables and other healthy ingredients, and a little bit goes a long way toward adding flavor to your meals — as exemplified by these 15 recipes, which are perfect for dinner all summer long.

1. Garlicky Skillet Corn With Bacon: When summer corn is at its best, you should make it the star of your meal. Sweet corn and salty bacon are a flavor combo that’s always a hit. (via Just a Taste)

2. Crab Boil Potato Salad: Combine two of your favorite summer foods — crab boil and potato salad — in this recipe. Smokey bacon cuts through the creaminess, adding a meaty flavor that’s irresistible. (via Noshing With the Nolands)

3. Arugula Tomato Bacon Pizza: Hot pizza isn’t just for winter. You can top it with peppery arugula and sweet tomatoes, along with our favorite pork product, for a meal worthy of even the warmest summer nights. (via Nourish and Fete)

4. Sheet Pan Barbecue Bacon Chicken Fajitas: Fajitas are always a crowd-pleaser, and even more so when bacon is added to mix. Cook them on a sheet pan for easy cleanup. (via Mommy’s Home Cooking)

5. BLT Coleslaw: Crunchy coleslaw is usually served as a side to your meal, but add bacon and some cherry tomatoes and it becomes a fun summer entree. (via Kiwi & Carrot)

6. Spring Parmesan Pasta With Bacon: You don’t need much to flavor a pasta dish filled with fresh, in-season produce. Just a hint of smokey bacon and nutty Parmesan are enough to make the flavors really sing. (via Two Lucky Spoons)

7. Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad: Turn your favorite pizza into a pasta salad that’s perfect for summer. It’s great on its own or as a side — try stuffing it into bell peppers for a fun meal. (via Dinner Then Dessert)

8. Scallops With Bacon and Zoodles: Seared scallops are quick to cook up, but make any meal seem special. Pair them with bacon and zucchini noodles for a dinner to remember. (via Kim’s Cravings)

9. BLT Potato Salad With Honey Mustard Vinaigrette: Turn your favorite sandwich into a hearty, satisfying potato salad. A tangy honey mustard vinaigrette balances out the savory flavors in this dish. (via Spices in My DNA)

10. Garlic Green Beans With Bacon and Feta: Sautéed crispy bacon bits make pretty much any vegetable better. Joined by salty feta, they’ll make these green beans the star of your dinner. (via Savory Teeth)

11. Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad: The key to responsible bacon consumption is pairing it with plenty of veggies to even out your nutritional intake. Here, a bed of greens and other vegetables is topped with some more indulgent ingredients for a well-balanced meal. (via Bless This Mess Please)

12. Bacon and Asparagus Spaghetti: Pasta gets a summery makeover in this recipe. Classic tomato sauce and spaghetti are invigorated by the inclusion of asparagus, bacon, and plenty of fresh basil. (via Macheesmo)

13. Grilled Peach Salad With Blue Cheese and Bacon: The flavor of sweet summer peaches is concentrated on the grill, where they caramelize. Their intense flavor makes them perfect for pairing with other strong ingredients in this salad. (via The Every Kitchen)

14. Pesto Zoodles With Peas and Bacon: Peas, pesto, and bacon are always a winning combo. Mix them with zucchini noodles for a light and flavorful alternative to pasta. (via Foraged Dish)

15. Poached Egg BLT Salad: Add a poached egg to this salad for a super-satisfying meal. The yolk breaks open, acting as an indulgent dressing. (via ChilliJonCarne Cooks)

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