Make the dressing by whisking the garlic, salt, pepper, honey or maple syrup, mustard, and vinegar together in a small bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly until smooth.
Add the kale to a large bowl. Pour 4 tablespoons of the dressing over the kale. Using clean hands, massage the dressing into the kale with a squeezing/kneading motion. Message the kale for 2-3 minutes, until it is bright green and tender.
Add the cooked rice, apple, cranberries, and dried hazelnuts, then half the remaining dressing, tossing to combine. Taste and continue adding dressing until the desired flavor is reached (I like to use all the dressing, but if you like a milder flavor, use less).
When ready to serve, add the hazelnuts and toss again. Season with additional salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Best when served at room temperature.