Next time you find yourself in a dinner rut, or you\u2019re simply in need of a little culinary inspiration, look to your pantry instead of opening the fridge. That\u2019s right, your pantry, where some of the kitchen\u2019s most useful and flexible ingredients live, just waiting for their moment to shine. Those cabinets are home to ingredient-swap heroes, flavor builders, and last-minute meal components. To find out which pantry ingredients you need to stock up on, we turned to the pros. Ahead, top chefs reveal the items they always have in their pantries, including products like Red Gold\u2019s ChefsBest Excellence Award Winning tomato products . Here are their favorites. Diced Tomatoes Canned diced tomatoes are game-changers in a pinch, says Minneapolis chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell . \u201cKeeping cans of these on hand means I am ready to throw them in a sauce or soup with a minute\u2019s notice,\u201d she says. \u201cI go for the plain tomatoes, because they are the most versatile, which matches the global style of my cooking.\u201d A can of this staple, like sustainably produced Petite Diced Tomatoes from Red Gold , provides a delicious backbone to myriad dishes. Soups and stews are richer in flavor, braises benefit from the addition of tangy canned diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce is more delicious than ever. Canned Salmon Looking for lunch or dinner on the fly? Look no further than tins of canned fish, says Erica Wides , a New York City chef, cooking teacher, and food media host. \u201cWe always have canned salmon in our house,\u201d she says. \u201cWe eat salmon salad for lunch at least once a week.\u201d Canned salmon is an economical choice for fish lovers, says Wides. She loves its versatility, and the fact that it has a lower carbon footprint than fresh fish that was transported on ice. Sea Salt \u201cFine-grain sea salt is one of my kitchen workhorses,\u201d says Julia Skinner, chef and founder of the Atlanta-based food history and fermentation company Root . \u201cI like the subtlety of sea salt, and feel like I have more control over the final flavor than I do with most other salts.\u201d Sea salt can take the place of Kosher salt, but it can also be used as a finishing salt for those dishes that need a little last-minute wow. Fried Shallots Add some crunch to dinner with fried shallots, says chef Tiffany Ran, owner-operator of Ba Ba Lio Taiwanese Pop-Up in Seattle. \u201cYou can fry them on your own and keep them in a jar,\u201d she says, though you can also purchase them at local Asian markets. No matter what you\u2019re cooking, fried shallots add a toasty, buttery flavor to braises and soups and are a great all-around crunchy topping. \u201cI use every little bit of the bag,\u201d Ran says, adding that the broken bits at the bottom are perfect on \u201canything from popcorn to leftover pizza.\u201d Tomato Paste For a powerhouse pantry addition, look no further than thick, concentrated tomato flavor, like Red Gold Tomato Paste , which is sustainably farmed, comes in the perfect size, and is loaded with key nutrients. \u201cTomato paste is, hands down, my favorite tomato product,\u201d says Clare Langan, professionally-trained chef and editorial director at recipe site Feedfeed. \u201cI always have a can handy for adding a bit of rich tomato flavor to pots of white beans, red wine-braised short ribs and in conjunction with other tomato products where I want a deeper flavor, such as Bolognese sauce or chili.\u201d Sesame Seeds These flavor-rich seeds, which come in both black and white, are ideal for boosting flavor on your favorite vegetable dish, says Joshua Lanning, executive chef for Sankoty Lakes resort in Illinois. \u201cSesame seeds are invaluable when you want to jazz up some veggies or to place at the dinner table in a bowl for self-service.\u201d Add crunch to risotto balls, a bit of interest to saut\u00e9ed broccoli rabe, and even a little nuttiness to your favorite pasta dish with these all-purpose seeds. Dried Mushrooms Add dried mushrooms to your pantry for a little bit of that sixth flavor: umami. \u201cThe intense mushroominess of dried mushrooms can make water into something much more interesting with just a steep,\u201d says Asbell. \u201cAdding them to soups, sauces, grains, and stir-fry sauces gives them subtle meatiness and complexity.\u201d Weeknight mushroom risotto? Dried mushrooms are the lucky charm. Canned Beans Chef Wides always keeps black beans and chickpeas in her pantry. \u201cI love the ease of canned beans,\u201d she says. Unlike dried beans, which must be soaked overnight and then cooked, canned beans are ready in an instant. \u201cI can make a quick meal of canned black beans, canned diced tomatoes, and a chopped onion and eat it cold as a salad, or heat it up and call it soup,\u201d she says. Chickpeas make regular appearances in her salads, bean soups, vegetable soups, homemade hummus, and minestrone. Anchovies Another culinary powerhouse you definitely need in your pantry? Anchovies, says Lanning. \u201cThey're hands-down the secret weapon of many delicious and time-tested culinary delights.\u201d (Use them in Caesar and Green Goddess dressings, puttanesca sauce, and more.) A little anchovy can do a lot in terms of flavor-boosting, Lanning says. \u201cWhen used correctly, most folks wouldn\u2019t even know anchovies were used. Instead, they will smile from ear to ear while eating a savory dish with depth and character.\u201d Soy Sauce Soy sauce is a multi-purpose ingredient that home cooks shouldn\u2019t live without, says Ran. \u201cI usually keep at least four to five different bottles in my pantry at any given time.\u201d She adds soy sauce to everything from sauces to braises to blanched vegetables. \u201cThe best thing about soy sauce is that it supports simplicity,\u201d she says. Tomato Sauce Not to be confused with jarred pasta sauce, plain tomato sauce makes a great building block for any number of dishes, says Langan. \u201cTypically, canned tomato sauce is made with super smooth, lightly cooked tomatoes. My favorite way to use it? Pizza! I opt for canned tomato sauce rather than prepared pizza or pasta sauce for my homemade pizzas." Red Gold's pure tomato sauce is made with vine-ripened tomatoes grown on family farms. Olives and Capers Briny goodness lives in these salty, meaty pantry must-haves, says Asbell. \u201cJuicy bursts of tangy, vegetal flavors, olives and capers are an incredibly easy way to make a boring pasta or salad way more interesting.\u201d Buy them preserved in salt, oil, or brine for the staple that\u2019s right for you.