Carrots are a member of the parsley family. The carrot has made up a part of the human diet for over 2000 years. Carrots are used as a healthful snack or used in salads, soups, or cooked and served as a vegetable. The carrot is 1/3 of the aromatic trilogy called a mirepoix. This is a mixture that is sauteed and used to flavor stews, soups, and dishes such as Osso Bucco.
If you don't have carrots or perhaps don't like them, then there are several excellent substitutions, depending on how you will be using them.
For Soups, Stews, Braises, per 1 cup chopped carrots called for use:
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You're more likely to find these at your local farmer's market than you local grocer. They are sometimes available at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market.